The Knight and the Warrior
Episode 4: One
By Long T. Tran
Disclaimer: All DC characters are owned by DC Comics. This fic is not intended to make any monetary value. This fic was created in pursuit of reader entertainment.
They finally returned to the present and Batman wasted no time in taking Wonder Woman to the infirmary. The clean hallways felt excruciatingly long and the medical facility sensed far. With an ailing Diana in his arms, Bruce carefully balanced between being speedy and being delicate. Bruce looked down at her and saw that she was still unconscious. The lights of the Watchtower's hallways illuminated the Amazon more clearly and her battered appearance only hastened the dark knight's pace. They finally reached the tower's medical ward, where the Martian Manhunter stood ready to receive his incapacitated teammate.
Bruce delicately placed the warrior princess on to the medical platform. As soon as Diana was on the table, bright holograms of various geometric shapes came to life and a green beam of light proceeded to scan the princess from head to toe-- J'onn focused his attention to a nearby monitor and analyzed the information as it filtered in. Batman stood close and watched silently as the scanner's beam made several passes over Wonder Woman.
"I am initiating healing protocols." J'onn announced as he fleetingly typed at the monitor's console.
The green scanning beam started to oscillate into numerous colors in response to the Martian's input commands. As the medical device worked within its design parameters, Batman struggled not to show any hint of emotion under his cowl. He waited patiently as J'onn did his best to heal their teammate.
After a period of excruciating waiting, Bruce could no longer resist the urge to find out what was going on.
"What's her condition?" Batman asked.
"Preliminary scans indicate that Diana has sustained heavy trauma throughout her body." J'onn stated as he poured through the information on the medical screens. "There are multiple bone fractures on her rib cage; there is some internal bleeding in her midsection, signs of a moderate concussion, and multiple lesions throughout her body. Her condition is critical."
"Is the machine working?"
"Yes, it is,." The green Martian answered patiently through the speakers. "The protocols have managed to stabilize her condition."
"So what happens now?" Batman further asked.
"At the moment, we can only observe her and keep tabs on any change in her condition. Thanks to her Amazon physiology, I can assure you that she will heal".
After the exchange, Bruce stood by Diana's side and gazed down at her serene form.
"J'onn..." Batman started.
"I would like to personally watch over her."
"I'm not sure if I should allow that…"
Batman pulled back his cowl and looked into the Martian's red eyes with a silent plea. For a brief second, Bruce opened up his mind to J'onn's telepathic abilities and shot a mental image to the Martian. The alien was somewhat stunned by the projection that was sent by Bruce. The green extraterrestrial stood silent and immediately wore a face of empathy. J'onn placed his hand on Bruce's shoulders.
"I completely understand now, Bruce. I will leave you two alone. I will check-in periodically to note any progress on her recovery."
"Thank you, J'onn."
"You're welcome." J'onn replied warmly, as he turned away and exited the room.
As soon as the room was cleared, Bruce locked the door. He walked back to Diana's bedside and took off one of his gloves and began to stroke warrior's face. He was surprised on how cold and clammy her skin felt when he touched her , deepening his despair over her condition. He felt helpless and frustrated that the only thing he could do for the time being was to stand by her side and watch over her.
For the next 48 hours, Batman kept his vigil and every 6 hours, J'onn would check on Diana's condition. Each update, her condition seemed to improve, thanks to her remarkable resilience and the advanced medical technology. Hours later, as the dark knight stood beside the fallen warrior, he sensed the approaching sound of footsteps. He felt a strong hand placed on his shoulder.
"What do you want?"
"You need rest." Superman stated firmly. "You haven't slept a moment since at least our return."
Batman didn't respond. He looked over to the red-caped hero with bloodshot eyes and an unshaved face. "I can't. It's the only thing I have to give her."
Superman pulled up two nearby chairs and signaled for Batman to sit down next to him. The dark knight resisted the temptation for a moment but the sensation of his aching legs screamed for relief. Bruce resigned himself and sat down slowly, scooting his chair against Diana's hospital bed.
"Bruce, tell me what happened back there." Superman's request came off sounding like a demand, "How did Diana end up like this?"
Superman waited patiently as he watched his teammate struggle for words. Batman looked over to Diana with a look of melancholy. This rare display of emotion was almost disconcerting to the Kryptonian, as he had grown accustomed to Batman being impassive.
Bruce cleared his throat. "She was tortured, Clark."
Superman felt a flash of anger but did his best to restrain himself. He shifted his position in his chair. The man of steel listened as Bruce continued.
"I heard everything. I witnessed her screams, her tortured cries…it was almost too much to bear. Seeing victims after a torture was one thing, but playing witness to the torment of someone close to you is something you could never prepare for. I had never thought that Diana would be in such an abhorrent position. It was's like…"
Bruce struggled as he tried to fit the words that matched his emotions.
"It was brutality unleashed on an object of beauty and perfection. It was pure agony to hear her screams and her pained cries. It felt even worse not being able to help her. I was too far away and the horse was excruciatingly slow. It felt like I…no-- we werebeing ripped to shreds."
"I wish I was there to stop it." Superman said guiltily.
"It wasn't right." Bruce stated glumly. "If there were any bright side to this…I would have to credit the new communicator we've developed. Even though, I heard every moment of her torture, I did my best to play anchor for Diana."
"How so?" The Kryptonian inquired.
"For every vile word uttered to her by her tormentor, I had her ignore him and focus on my voice. For every moment she felt alone, I kept her company through our radio connection. I didn't want her to slip away. So I kept encouraging her to stay strong. I told her I was going to be there for her. I would've done anything to trade places with her."
"I know Bruce. I'm sure she's grateful that you were there to support her," Superman assured the dark knight as he placed a hand on his shoulder. "No doubt she would've done the same for you."
The two heroes sat silently. The sounds of the medical monitors were the only sources of noise. Superman sat and watched Diana's silent form. She was wearing an oxygen mask and still comatose. Wonder Woman's vulnerable appearance made the man of steel's heart sank. Before he got any deeper in thought, Superman heard light snoring. He looked over to Batman's direction and saw that the Dark Knight had fallen asleep. Curiously, Clark also noticed that the detective held one of Diana's hands. Superman stood up and smiled at the site. Without much thought, Kent grabbed a nearby blanket and unfolded it. He lightly draped the fabric over the sleeping form of his teammate. The man of steel walked out of the infirmary and turned off the lights.
Bruce found himself in a world that was completely gray and foggy. He was wearing his bat suit but without the cowl over his face. Oddly, the setting was not forbidding or cold. There was an odd sense of calm. Then, a golden light started to penetrate through the haze of the gray mists. The glow was warm and Bruce immediately recognized a female figure dressed in ancient Greek garments. The lady had dark hair, attractive Mediterranean features, she also wore a crown, and she reminded Bruce of the actress Monica Belluci.
"Who are you?" Bruce inquired politely.
"I am Hera, Queen of Mount Olympia."
This is definitely dream. Bruce thought to himself.
"Is it true, that the Amazon champion has fallen ill?" The goddess asked.
"Yes." Bruce answered coldly. "She was tortured and poisoned."
"This is most unfortunate. It was basilisk venom, was it?"
Bruce nodded sadly. "Yes, it was. However, she was purged of the venom through the use of the lasso."
"I can only imagine the pain she must have endured. Unfortunately, she was not completely purged. Her mind is still held captive by the presence of the Basilisk. There are still traces of venom within her. Not of a physical sort but of a spiritual nature."
Bruce wore a look of concern. He immediately restrained his emotions reminding himself that this was a dream.
"This is no dream, mortal. I see it on your face that you hold some skepticism about my authenticity. It matters not. This is a matter of urgent attention. Whether you choose to believe me or not, it is entirely up to you."
"Alright then, Hera. I'll play along. Why did you want to talk to me?"
"I came here to aid my champion."
"Why now? I don't recall you ever aiding Diana in any of her past battles."
"That is true. However, she suffered heinously and her suffering was loud and clear to Olympus. The gods will not forsake their champion. We had to answer her prayers."
"You didn't answer my question." Bruce reiterated. "Why come to me? Why not aide her directly?"
"It is because we gods cannot directly interact with the physical world. It is also due to the fact that you exist on this mortal plane and you have the strongest link with her, thus a higher chance of success."
Bruce was stoic at this statement.
"Yes…" Hera said with full confidence. "Deny it or accept it. You do have a strong bond. All it takes is a strong will to break the bonds of the Basilisk. In Diana's case, her will power had already purged the brunt of the taint, but you must join her very essence in order to cleanse the remnants of the Basilisk."
"What would you have me do? I have no telepathic abilities."
"Listen to me well, Knight. There is hope and there is a clear path to aid your teammate. You must bring her to Themyscira. On that island, there is a temple that houses a special pool called the Tears of Gaea. Bathe her into those healing waters and the Basilisk's hold will be undone. I can only emphasize enough the importance that only you can take her into those waters."
"Why only me?" Bruce inquired.
"The Tears of Gaea will only allow warriors that share a strong connection into its waters. Otherwise, its healing properties would only deny."
"What proof will I have that all of this is for real and not a dream?"
Hera only smiled at this question. She simply reached under her garments and took out a golden stamp. The object was palm sized and rectangular. She grabbed Bruce's right hand and held the palm upwards. She planted the stamp onto Batman's palm. He felt the ink on the stamp had begun to wet his palm and saw that the color was green with a gold border.
"Heed my words, Knight. When you face the final remnant of the Basilisk, you must have faith in yourself and the bond that you share with Diana. You must accept."
Bruce snapped himself out of sleep and looked around. He was awake again. The dark knight was in full costume; cape, cowl, and everything. He immediately felt moisture in his right palm. Batman pulled off his right glove and looked at his palm. There were only two ancient Greek letters on his palm. The letters were stacked on top of each other vertically. He translated the letters as "I H."
"What does this mean?" Bruce muttered to himself.
He looked over to Diana's bed. The warrior princess was still unconscious but her body seemed to have healed. Bruce did a closer inspection and saw that all lesions, bruises, and cuts had completely disappeared. Then, J'onn walked in and did his routine on the medical monitors, checking Diana's condition.
"How long was I out?" Batman asked as he cleared his waking eyes and un-webbed his mind.
"You were asleep for twelve hours." The Martian answered.
"What!" Batman reacted startled. "So this is your second check up for the day?"
The green Martian only nodded.
"So what's her current condition?" Batman inquired.
"It is strange." J'onn commented. "Diana's body has recovered but there seems to be something within her that's keeping her from full recovery. I can barely sense her conscious mind. It's as if something is holding her psyche hostage."
"Were there any trace amounts of venom?"
"No. There were no foreign toxins found within the scans."
Bruce didn't react much to the Martian's prognosis. The hero just stood silent and kept his eyes fixed on the unconscious Amazon. J'onn took this as a signal to leave. As the green Martian exited the room, Bruce gazed down at his exposed palm and pondered the validity of the stamped letters. It was worth a moment's thought to try and figure out if the inked letters in his palm were of someone else's doing or his own. The detective considered rummaging through the security tapes to find the culprit of this mysterious manifestation.
The caped crusader sighed as he looked up from his stamped palm and over to Diana's serene face. Out of all the women Bruce had dated in his life, she was a beauty like no other. No makeup was needed to enhance her natural good looks and she carried a wisdom that reminded him of the important things in life. Her mission was even similar in nature to his.
Caressing her face, he remembered her outreach to him during the aftermath of the O'Hanlon ordeal and how the princess applied her Amazonian principles when pulling Bruce out from the abyss of his own conflicted mind. He compared these times to the quiet ones in Ancient China. Being stranded in that time period was a crisis, yet, somehow, being with Diana had a calming effect on Bruce. He was grateful that she was a part of the team and his desire for her was made even clearer during her captivity with Vandal Savage.
Shaking himself out of his deep thoughts, Bruce realized that, for once in his life, he needed to do something irrational. Anything to help Diana. He knew that he must take a leap of faith in order to save her.He pulled the cowl over his face and gloved his stamped hand. Reaching into his utility belt and brought out a notepad and pen. The masked avenger wrote a quick note and placed it on a headboard over Diana's head. The caped crusader quickly detached all of the diagnostic apparatus and oxygen mask from the princess and swiftly took her into his arms and walked out of the infirmary towards the docking bay. He didn't have much time and had to move quickly to avoid the others. As soon as he reached the docking bay, he immediately spotted a spare Javelin jet to use. He opened the entry hatch and walked in, delicately placing the Princess in the co-pilot's chair. The dark knight activated the Javelin and remotely opened up the bay doors.
"Where do you think you're going?" Superman's voice demanded over the jet's intercom.
"To Themyscira." Batman answered.
"You're taking Diana to the island in her current condition?"
"She's healed enough."
"Bruce, you're being irrational, bring her back to the infirmary so we can figure out what's wrong with her."
"I already know what's wrong with her." Batman replied as he dialed the controls and activated the jet's propulsion.
"Bruce, if you leave the Watchtower…"
"Superman, trust me on this. I have reason to believe that the key to Diana's full recovery is back in Themyscira."
"On what grounds?"
"I have sources…"
"That doesn't sound very convincing." Superman commented. "Even if there was a cure, what makes you think that the amazons would allow you to even set foot on their grounds?"
"You let me worry about that," Batman replied coldly, "If I run into any trouble, I'll call. Over and out."
The dark knight switched off the comm link and maneuvered the jet out of its dock. With a thunderous roar, the Javelin went off to space and headed towards Earth with its precious cargo.
Themyscira or a Sort of Homecoming
For the past two and a half millennia, there was always an Amazon sentry on the look out tower overseeing the ocean horizon. The sentry was blonde and wore an Amazonian armor which signified to others that she was a soldier and a captain. The cool ocean wind gently blew a refreshing saltwater scented mist across the female guard. She stood proud and regal in her unending commitment to the preservation of the Amazonian ways that was her sacred duty. The day seemed to be another typical one at the sentry until the captain spotted an approaching jet. The female soldier fiercely rang the alarm bell as soon as she recognized the vehicle to be from man's world and quickly made her way towards the landing area.
As the jet made its landing, a garrison of Amazon soldiers surrounded the craft with spears aimed at the jet's back entry way. As the engines of the jet started to wind down and the dust began to settle, the circle of female soldiers cautiously crept in closer with their weapons at ready. The door finally opens and Batman walked out with their champion in his arms. The sight of a male holding their best drew out a collective gasp from the garrison. The Amazon captain stepped forward with full authority.
"Why have you returned? What have you done to our champion?"
"I come here in peace." Batman responded with a hint of urgency. "Time is short. Please bring me to the temple that holds the Tears of Gaea."
The captain was clearly stunned by his acknowledgement of the temple. "You can't step foot into the temple you are a male. It would be sacrilege."
"I am a male but the Tears would still allow a kindred warrior to step through regardless of gender."
"You're being too presumptuous." The blonde captain sneered.
Without much argument, Batman struggled to free his right glove while he held Diana in his arms. He freed his right hand from his glove and held his palm towards the captain and showed his stamped letters from Hera. The captain and her garrison quickly recognized the letters and kneeled in reverence.
"Only men who carry the mark of Hera are allowed to step foot on this island and use the Tears of Gaea. You must have achieved a deed so great that would even garner the attention of the goddess herself. You may pass."
"Thank you." Batman responded graciously. "Where's the temple?"
"Up that road and on top of that the hill." The captain said as she pointed towards the road that led to a hill crowned with a white-domed temple.
Without a moment's hesitation, the Dark Knight carried off Diana, as he went towards the road. The Amazon captain waited until the hero left. Even in an Amazonian society, women can't wait to gossip.
"Did you see that?" An Amazonian brunette said. "The princess was wounded in battle."
"They're going to the Temple!" Another young female soldier exclaimed. "You know what the means? It means they're bonded."
"Quiet both of you!" The blonde captain commanded. "Can't you see Diana was unconscious? There must be something serious happening to her and it looks like none of the medicines in Patriarch's world had any effect. Why else would they be here? Besides, there is no way the Princess would fall for such a shadowy figure. Call the queen, now!"
"Yes, captain!" The garrison complied dutifully.
The Tears of Gaea
The sun was starting to set as Bruce finally reached the hilltop. The temple was white and capped with a dome ordained with various Greek gods of the golden age. The temple entrance itself was already opened and the Dark Knight carried Diana into the sacred building. The interior of the marble palace was straightforward, the floor layout was rectangular with a large pool encompassing the center of the temple. The pool was round and the domed ceiling had an opening that allowed sunlight for illumination. At the head of the pool, stood a marble statue of a female titan named Gaea. The tall statue had two golden chains attached to its arms. Bruce cautiously made his approach towards the round body of water. As he crept near the pool's edge, he immediately noticed that the water had a clear reflective quality. He felt as if there was something supernatural about the way the sun's light bounced off the shimmering surface.
Then Batman heard numerous footsteps gathering from outside. He gazed down at his arms, which cradled Diana's sleeping form. It was now or never. Before he could step towards the waters of the pool, the Amazons of Themyscira started file into the temple. The female soldiers were precise in their movements as they gathered around the Dark Knight and his Amazon teammate. This time they were not armed with spears they came in observance for the rare use of the Tears of Gaea. Then, the crowd parted to make way for the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. As soon as her presence was known, the queen immediately saw her unconscious daughter, Diana, in the arms of a man dressed in a bat suit.
"Don't try to stop me. I've been delayed enough." Batman stated to the crowd.
"What happened to my daughter?" The Amazon queen inquired.
"She fell during battle. The Justice League healed her but she's still unconscious."
"I know. Hera came to me in a vision shortly before your arrival."
"Then you must let me do this."
The queen approached the Knight, "Before you step into those waters, let me ask you this."
Batman waited silently as he shifted Diana's weight in his arms.
"Are you prepared to face what the Tears of Gaea will bring to surface?"
The dark knight nodded in reply.
"Are you willing to commit to the results of this action?"
"For Diana, for the world, and for myself." Bruce answered firmly.
Hippolyta stood silent and immediately gestured to two amazons to man the chains that were attached to the pool's statue of Gaea. She looked over to the Dark Knight and her eyes narrowed. "Step into the pool dark avenger and await my order to place her into the water. As soon as the tears are released, you must clear your mind."
Without further delay, Bruce stepped into the pool with Diana and waited. The princess's red boots were barely touching the pool and her black hair was draped from his arms. Then the amazons that were at the chains started to pull on the golden links. As the rustle of the chains echoed in the temple, bright water started to pour out of the statue's eyes. The water was so illuminated that the pool began to glow in the same quality. The spilling of the Tears of Gaea made the pool hum in a soft high-pitched tone. The temperature of the water began to feel warm and soothing to the dark knight. Bruce began to meditate to clear his mind.
"Now, are you prepared?"
"Place her into the water completely; except for her face."
The hero did as he directed and slowly placed Diana into the water. The bright liquid enveloped the princess and she was almost completely submerged. Without warning, the world around Bruce began to fade to black and Diana had disappeared from his arms. His batsuit disappeared and was replaced by ancient Greek battle garments. The garments were comprised of only a bronze chest plate, sandals, and a hoplite battle kilt. Next thing he knew, he stood in a world completely void of life. The skies were gray and cloudy and the ground was bare and broken. There was a noticeable lack of vegetation. Numerous dead trees were strewn across the barren landscape. He stood in front of a large cave. For some odd reason, he felt the necessity to explore the cave.
Batman entered the cave and saw a large serpentine beast with deathly yellow eyes staring right at him. The basilisk had a black scaly body and it coiled around a large man-sized crystal. There was a dark shadow in the middle of the giant black gemstone that Bruce immediately recognized as a dormant Diana.
"You can't have her." The basilisk hissed evilly. "Her mind and essence belongs to me."
"You'll have to get past me, human." The monster dared as it uncoiled itself from the crystal that held Diana.
Bruce realized that he had no weapon in hand to combat the beast and there was no immediate cover to stave off the basilisk's oncoming assault. Then the hero remembered Hera's words. "There are still traces of venom within her. Not of a physical sort but of a spiritual nature…When you face the final remnant of the Basilisk, you must have faith in yourself and the bond that you share with Diana."
As the giant serpent swiftly leapt at Bruce, he immediately grabbed a handful of dirt in his hands. There was something unquestionably evil about the way the beast moved, yet Batman realized that it was also stupid. The basilisk lunged, but the hero dodged out of the way and threw the course dirt into the eyes of the serpent. The serpent screamed in pain and swung its long body violently and blindly swatted at Bruce. The hero took great caution to avoid the monster's wrath and snuck past him, towards the crystal which contained Diana.
As the basilisk struggled to clear its eyes, Bruce quickly inspected the crystal for any flaws. The tactile surface of the crystal was surprisingly soft and almost gelatin-like. As soon as his fingers touched the facet of the gemstone, Diana's eyes opened. She looked surprised for a moment when she saw Bruce. The sight of the Princess's emerging consciousness was very encouraging to the dark knight. Bruce looked behind to check on the serpent. The giant beast was coming about and close to restoring its vision. He turned back and looked at Diana. Her eyes were fixed on Bruce but she was still frozen within the black gem. The hero could hear the hissing of the Basilisk and he knew full well that the creature was ready to strike.
With very little time to prepare for the serpent's next strike, the dark knight simply closed eyes and centered himself. He tried to think back to Hera's words but could only think of one thing: Faith. There was also one other element for success that was greatly hinted by Hera- faith and what else? He opened his eyes and looked into Diana's beautiful aquamarine eyes and he immediately knew what it was.
Before the basilisk was about to sick its fangs deep into Bruce's back, the hero struck his hands into the crystal like blades. The Basilisk's form recoiled in pain as the energy unleashed by the broken crystal freed Diana's captive mind. Without heed for his own safety, Bruce reached further into the black crystal with both hands. The basilisk recovered its senses and again tried to lunge towards Bruce.
Knowing full well that he did not have much time, Bruce grasped Wonder Woman's hands and pulled back. The warrior princess emerged quickly from the black material and into Bruce's open arms. The knight could feel the familiar warmth of the warrior's body pressed against his. Before the serpent could reach its prey, the aura of Diana's freed spirit radiated and vaporised the beast's entire being. The creature screamed and evaporated into thin air.
Diana leaned back in Bruce's arms as the desolate landscape that surrounded them melted away and was replaced with a pastoral lush backdrop. The clouded gray skies opened up like a curtain and their surroundings were illuminated by bright sunlight. Never in Bruce's life had he experienced such paradise. He never set eyes on a sky so blue, vegetation so lush and green, this was the closest to heaven on earth he'll ever experience. Bruce gazed down at Diana who was still in his embrace. The warrior princess looked at him and smiled. Without any hesitation Bruce slowly pulled in for a kiss. Diana closed her eyes and readied herself for his lips. Then, without warning, Bruce found himself back in the temple of Gaea.
Night had fallen by the time the knight had returned from the battle with the demons in Diana's mind. The temple was illuminated by the moonlight shining through the opening of the domed roof and the tears in the pool. The room was not as occupied as earlier, leaving only the queen and a handful of handmaidens to watch as Bruce came to his senses. The dark knight finally recovered from the cobwebs of his mind and checked on Diana. His eyes were fixed on her serene face. She was still suspended in the water. His heart sank; he was expecting her to be awake.
"Did you find what you were looking for?" Queen Hippolyta asked with a gentle tone.
Batman didn't know how to answer the question. "I'm not sure."
"Did you fully commit yourself when the moment arrived?"
Bruce nodded. "It's just…the result was…"
"Not what you expected?" The queen interjected with a smile.
Again Bruce nodded.
"Just give it a moment. The final stage is near."
Bruce and the amazons waited for only a minute when a pillar of the moon's full light shone through the dome's opening. As if on cue, the lunar beam made the already glowing pool radiated even more brightly. The waters surrounding Bruce and Diana started to dance. Beads of bright liquid started to ascend from the surface of the pool, making the room looked as if it was inhabited by numerous star-like fireflies. Then the glowing driblets began to orbit around Bruce and then even more so around Diana. Bruce could only describe what happened next as magic. The small orbits of tears descended back into the pool and started to churn the glowing waters with vigor and excitement. As the pool came alive, Bruce felt a hand reached up to him from the waters. He peered down and saw that Diana was wide awake. This moment gave the dark knight a sense of elation and relief. Diana rose from the luminescent pool and draped her arms around Bruce. The princess then looked over to her mother the queen.
"Welcome home, Diana,." Hippolyta greeted her daughter.
The princess gazed into Batman's white lenses and smiled softly. Then she turned to her mother. "Mother, will you please allow us some privacy."
"Of course daughter but don't do anything that will defile the grounds of the temple."
Diana was slightly embarrassed by the request she tried to hide the reaction with an awkward smile. "I won't."
Moments later, the room emptied and the two heroes were finally left alone. Batman took off his cowl and looked at Diana with his own eyes. They locked into each other's gazes and gently touched foreheads as they stood in the therapeutic waters of the pool. Bruce had his arms wrapped around Diana's back and Diana had her arms around the detective's neck.
"Welcome back, Diana." Bruce said sincerely.
"How long was I out?" Diana asked with concern in her voice.
"Three or four days, I'm not sure. I lost count."
"Where's the rest of the team?"
"Back at the watchtowerWatchtower."
Diana pulled away from Bruce somewhat stunned. "You came here alone?"
The hero nodded.
"I assume that Clark objected?"
Bruce nodded again but more proudly.
"Did the Amazon guards try to stop you?"
"Yes, but I got past them without too much trouble."
For a moment, Diana did not react; she just stood there and stared at Bruce silently.
"Bruce Wayne, you are incorrigible." Diana smiled, "You risked alienating the entire League and the wrath of Amazonian justice just to heal me?"
"Would it make you feel better if I asked for their permission first?" Bruce asked dryly, yet with a devilish grin.
"Was that a joke you just cracked?" Diana asked then started to laugh full-heartedly. Her reaction gave Bruce a good excuse to smile.
It felt good to have her back. She was vibrant again and full of life. This was the moment he wanted and fought for. When she finished laughing, the mood turned serious, as Diana stepped back into Bruce's arms, embraced his masculine body, and rested her head on his broad shoulders.
"Why did you go through all that trouble, Bruce?"
"What trouble? I did what any teammate would do."
Diana pulled back far enough to look sternly in the eyes of her rescuer. "Oh. Is that right?"
"The last thing I can recall was being back in Savage's palace yard. I remember how you left me in the courtyard to take on the citadel's entire garrison."
Bruce nodded. "Justice was served upon each and everyone of those thugs."
"You also went to great lengths to keep me from slipping during those horrid torture sessions with Savage. You were there with me all along. Whatever became of Savage?"
"I took care of him." Batman answered. "Just think of the perfect poetic justice. You won't be too far off."
"A few moments ago, I was held hostage. It was mentally tasking to keep that basilisk from overtaking my mind completely. For a while, I was trapped and isolated…then I felt your presence. You made it a lot easier for me to overcome the remaining influence of that damned venom. I couldn't have done it alone. We were one and we triumphed. And you know what? I felt a hidden side of you that I knew existed."
Bruce started to caress Diana's back shoulders. "Freeing your consciousness from the influence of that serpent was well worth it," he confessed. "I never thought that spending a moment in your mind could be so….soothing. I peered into your very being and it was immaculate and beautiful."
"Flattery won't get you anywhere…but thank you for the kind words."
"Looking back, this entire ordeal; from O'Hanlon to China to now, reminded me of something very important. Something that was fundamental. Something I almost forgot."
"What was that?" Diana inquired curiously.
"It reminded me of my humanity." Bruce confessed whole heartedly to the Amazon. "And only you had the ability to remind me of that."
Diana smiled and her eyes teared up. She hugged Bruce tighter, pressing hard against him. "I didn't realize that I could have that effect on you. You went through an entire personal odyssey for me. You bested Savage's men, defeated Vandal himself, protected me from the unknown, vanquished the basilisk, and finally opened up to me. You. My all. My love. My own… Odysseus."
Without another passing moment, the two heroes embraced each other hard and kissed each other passionately. Their lips met; backed by years of loneliness, tension, and hopes. Together, the two heroes stepped through the unknown realm of possibilities of a romantic relationship. Their hearts were now tied and bound. As Bruce brushed his lips against Diana's they tasted sweet and felt soft and full. He felt her body press hard against his as if her very being was melting into his. This was magic and the dark knight couldn't remember why he denied himself this sensation for so long.
After the kiss, they waded out of the pool and exited the temple. Batman was back in full costume and Diana managed to find more comfortable garments from her sister amazons. They held each other's hands and started to tour the paradise island under the bright gaze of the moon. As the heroes walked, they enjoyed every second together. For once in their lives, all was right in the world. The celestial stars twinkled above their heads and the rest of the world was oblivious to their newfound love and tenderness. As they reached Diana's personal home, they walked into the marble abode and found themselves in each other's warm embrace. For long spans of shared silence and , they both thought of the unknown. Then, their fears crept into their minds and each came to a tragic conclusion about their relationship. Diana pressed her body harder against Bruce.
"This romance isn't destined to last." Diana stated coldly.
"Yes, I know." Bruce said in agreement.
"We won't last a day out there."
"No…we won't." Bruce said almost sadly.
"We should make the best of this night…our first and last night together.
"Yes, we should. Before the world spins out of control again."
Diana led the dark knight into her bedroom. Their final evening together as a classic romantic couple was a final farewell to what could have been a normal relationship. Despite being romantically involved with each other for only less than a day, it was perfect enough for the both of them. For that short time together, there was no angst, no hesitations, no second thinking, it was all pure bliss and euphoria. Diana was content that they were together unabated. Bruce was happy in knowing that an evening with the most beautiful woman in the world will be his to forever cherish. She would forever hold a special place within his heart. Untainted and Unspoiled. They passionately kissed on her soft bed. Only the moon and the stars played witness to this lovely yet short interlude. Moments later, the two soul mates joined their mind, body and soul. The world was oblivious as the two, once again, became one.
Three months later, Clark and Diana sat in the Metropolis café having lunch together. Kent wore his business suit while Diana wore sunglasses, a blue top, and black slacks. They sat at the café window while they waited for their order to arrive.
"How are you feeling, Diana?"
"I feel fine. Never felt better."
"Is everything alright since your impromptu homecoming?"
"You mean with my mother? I guess you can say things are alright again. Considering I broke that sacred No Men Allowed law again. Luckily, it wasn't my fault."
"I wonder how Batman was able to circumvent Amazonian justice."
"He was prepared."
"When isn't he prepared?" Kent said rhetorically.
She smiled warmly. "That man never ceases to amaze me."
"Tell me about it." Clark commented. "Did I ever tell you how he threw me across a dance club knowing full well that I had superpowers? That was when we first met."
Diana nearly choked on her straw and laughed. "Did he really?"
Diana chuckled again. "For some reason, that doesn't surprise me."
A silent moment passed. Clark began to stir the straw in his milkshake, churning the cold sweet contents within his glass. Diana took notice of this.
"Is there something on your mind, Clark?"
"Uh, yeah…" The man of steel said somewhat clumsily, he adjusted his round glasses. "I hate to sound nosy but…umm, are you and Bruce romantically involved?"
Diana was taken aback. "What makes you say that?"
"Well… when you were first brought back from China. The way he was so protective over you was somewhat out of character for him. I've never seen him act like that around anybody. I mean, he went out of his way to bring you back from the brink. The man was determined to see you through your recovery. He also watched over you in the infirmary for long periods of time without any sleep. There was something extraordinary about that display of commitment. When you two returned from Themyscira, I was expecting you two to be well…together. It didn't turn out that way; you two went on as if nothing had ever happened. For the past three months, I watched for signs that might've indicated a relationship. Even J'onn didn't detect any of the usual tension between the two of you. Not like before, no more innuendoes, neither eye contact, nor flirtatious banter."
"Now, Clark." Diana commented. "I didn't realize you kept track of such things. I was expecting the other girls of the Justice League to do something like that.
"Yeah…well…" Kent stammered embarrassingly. "You two are senior members of the league; of course I would care about those things. You two are also my closest friends."
Diana sat silent and sipped her milkshake with a slight grin. It was nice to be around Clark outside of work. Then she took in a deep breath and held her teammate's hand and squeezed lightly yet firmly. "Clark, I won't lie to you." The warrior said with seriousness.
"Bruce and I are romantically involved."
Clark's eyes lifted and he was stunned. "You two sure are doing a very good job of hiding it."
"We are meticulous. I have to admit."
"How long are you going to keep this a secret?"
"For as long as it takes." Diana stated.
"Who else knows?"
"Only you, Alfred, and my mother; we'll probably let the rest of the Bat clan in on it…eventually."
"Will anybody else know?" Clark inquired.
"No and we'd like to keep it that way."
"Can I ask why?"
"There are many reasons. I have no secret identity to protect myself and those who are involved in my personal life. I am constantly hounded by the paparazzi. I have enemies and Bruce has enemies. They would all try to get at one of us to get the other."
"I understand completely. It's kind of like keeping your own secret identity, except in this case, a secret relationship."
"That's exactly right."
"Somewhat impractical, don't you think? I mean, it's hard enough that your life is an open book but keeping your secret romance from the rest of the world is going to be difficult." Clark commented with concern.
"You could say that…but what in life isn't?" Diana retorted.
"You're right." Superman said in agreement. "So how often do you two meet or date? How far are you two going to go?"
"We try to see each other once or twice a month depending on how busy we are. Usually it's a dinner date at his manor or a stroll in some remote part of the world where there's no one to hound us. Eventually, we'll get bolder and want to go out to more traditional settings."
"This shouldn't be a problem considering Batman is the master of stealth." Clark said confidently.
"As far as how far the relationship goes…as far as we can take it."
"I'm happy that the two of you are together. I wish you two the best of luck."
"Thank you, Clark." Diana said happily. "I'm happy that you support us."
The two were silent again. Then a waitress arrived with their orders. Clark had a Swiss mushroom cheeseburger while Diana had a Caesar Salad without the bacon. They both started on their meals. "Clark? Can I ask you a favor?" Diana requested as she mixed her dressing with her salad.
"Sure Diana, ask me anything." Clark replied as he bit down on his scrumptious burger.
"Please don't tell anybody of our relationship. It's very important for me and Bruce to keep our own private world a secret."
"Of course, I do anything to protect that."
"You're welcome, Diana." He said as he bit more portions out of his burger. Then something occurred to the man of steel. "By the way, how did you two get past J'onn's telepathy?"
Diana smiled modestly as she took her first bite. "That's our little secret."
See you in the sequel! Instead of the seriesit being called the Knight and the Warrior 2,. iIt'll be called named KW2. Look for it soon!
I hope you liked the read as much as I enjoyed the writing! Please send me your thoughts, feedback, and comments. I'm curious to read your views on this fan fic! Again, thank you for staying with the story and thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to step into my imagination and taking on the ride.