One Last Goodbye by Djinn
Diana heard Kal flying--fast and low, and there was an angry tone to his approach. As if he didn't want to be with her--or maybe he wanted to be with her too much? She was feeling something similar. Her hands were shaking, and she clenched them to stop the trembling, then worried that it would look too aggressive, as if she had come here to fight.
She wasn't entirely sure why she'd come here.
"Diana," he said, as he touched down easily on the mountain top. The wind moved his short hair even as it whipped hers around her face, forcing her to capture it and knot it into a tail. Her hair had gotten so long--she hadn't had time to worry about how she looked while the crisis raged on.
"Kal." It felt like it had been an eternity since they'd spent any time alone together. Certainly it had been since Max Lord.
Kal stared at her, and she took a deep breath, trying to find the words that would make him stop looking at her so fiercely, with such intense dislike.
"We don't have much time," she said.
His glare didn't diminish. She'd thought Bruce was the glare-king, but Kal was giving him a run for his money. In the past, she'd have bet anything that Kal could never look at her with such disappointment and disdain.
She tried again. "I've missed you."
"I haven't been hard to find." There was hurt in his voice--he was hurt?
"You haven't been exactly welcoming."
"Should I have been?" He seemed about to explode, about to launch himself into the air. As if to stop the motion, he began to pace quickly, feet touching down hard on the weathered rock.
She stepped in front of him, reached out to stop him, but he didn't stop and plowed into her, the unexpected impact sending her staggering back. She found her balance quickly, but inside it left her shaken. He could have stopped; he'd chosen not to.
She looked down. "You're angry at me."
"And people say you're just a pretty face..." His tone was mean. More caustic than Bruce had ever been.
This had been a mistake. She turned to get the hell away and heard him coming after her. She tried to turn, but he was too fast. He caught her up, pulling her hard, her back colliding against his chest.
"I worshipped you," he said, his voice strained as his fingers bit into her arms.
"I never wanted that." She tried to turn, realized that, unless she wanted to make this into another fight, she couldn't. "With you, I could be just Diana. Not...Wonder Woman."
"She is you." He suddenly let her go, pushing her away, but she was ready for it and caught herself easily. He turned to look at her, and he had tears in his eyes. "My wife is everything to me."
"I know that." She sniffed, realized that she was crying, too. When had she started to cry? When he'd grabbed her? Before he'd even arrived?
"I love her." Kal was stalking toward her, his expression unreadable. It could have been love, or hate, or desire, or pain that was making his eyes so hard and his mouth turn into such a grim line. Lately, no emotion was clean. No emotion was pretty. They all led to ugly places.
He got to her, and she considered slugging him, knocking him back, maybe even off the mountain top. But then he was pulling her to him and kissing her the way he hadn't done since before he'd married Lois.
"Damn you," he murmured, his voice rough and nearly lost in her hair as he ripped off her uniform, pushing her down to the bare rock.
She yanked his uniform off, knowing, after a lifetime in Asgard, all the hidden tricks to disrobing him--only there she'd done it to tend his wounds, not to fall on his flesh this way. Not to pull him onto her own.
His movements stilled as he hovered over her, as the moment that would change everything waited just ahead, frozen now. "I love you," he said, and it came out a helpless declaration.
He didn't want to do this; he couldn't not do this. She knew because she felt the same.
"I love you, Kal."
And then he was with her and she forced away the pain at not living up to her own expectations, of not being good enough to stop this. They made love violently, coming together with elemental fury. His sky to her earth, his flesh thundering on her own. She cried out, and he cried out, and they started again.
Finally, they lay still, and he kissed her gently, and his hands were sweet on her body. "I love you."
She turned, burying her head in the warm, soft spot between his chin and neck. "I don't think I'll survive this crisis, Kal." It haunted her. That she would die again. And that there was no one left to care if she was gone or not.
"You have to survive, Diana. You have to." He pulled her closer, and they stayed that way, as if they could become rock like the mountains, frozen in this loving moment forever.
"They're calling for us," he said, and a moment later her communicator buzzed. He rose and pulled her up. "I didn't mean for this to happen."
"Neither did I." But she wondered if that was true. Had she known they would finally do this? Had she wanted it? One last time with him. Her only time with him.
He walked over to her uniform, carried it back to her with something approaching reverence. As she took it, he whispered, "It was good, wasn't it?"
"It was good, Kal."
He didn't need to ask. She knew no one had ever been better for her, suspected the same would be true for him. Except that this would always be tied up in guilt and despair and pain and disappointment. Not clean and pure like his love for Lois. This would always be something he looked back on with regret no matter how good it was. And it might be his last memory of Diana.
If she fell.
He pulled on his uniform, then glanced up at her. Something in her face must have scared him, because he pulled her close again. "Don't die."
"What if it's not my choice?" She thought of her mother. Of Donna. Of herself dying the first time. It was so rarely a choice, usually just a path one had to walk. It was what heroes did. She remembered Kal's death. He'd had no choice, not really. Not if he wanted to be who he was, not if he wanted to be Superman.
"Make it your choice. Stay alive. We'll figure things out when this is over." He kissed her, a friendly kiss this time. A kiss that would back them away from the fevered sharing of bodies into something that could be managed. Something that could be endured.
She let him pull her into the air. They flew together for a bit, hands joined, and then he squeezed and she knew he was letting go.
And she let go, too. The woman who meant everything to him was somewhere ahead of them. Lois wasn't going anywhere, not right away. And Diana might be. If her feeling of dread proved to be a true foreshadowing and not just fallout from the wasteland her life had become.
"I'm sorry I judged you," Kal said, turning to her, as if wanting to make sure his words were not lost in the wind.
"I'm sorry I had to kill for you." That she had to kill for everyone. She wished she hadn't been forced into that. But she had, and if she were sent back in time to do it again, she would do it again. All of it. Because she'd had no choice. Some roads were predestined.
He sighed as if he could imagine what was behind her apology. But then he smiled, and even though it was nowhere near as bright as his old smile, it still warmed her. "Fight well," he murmured.
They split off then, heading for different groups of heroes who were trying to save the city ahead of them--the city that was in flames.
Diana threw herself into the effort. Not holding back. Not worrying about being hurt. It was how she was, who she was.
But, for a moment, she was back lying naked on the sun-warmed rock. Making love to Kal. Was that who she was?
She imagined he was reliving the afternoon, too. Reliving it with this strange mix of remembered pleasure and guilt. Would he have preferred that she had stopped him? Would she have been more his Diana if she had? More his Wonder Woman?
"Wonder Woman, we need you in Los Angeles." Whoever was paging her was clearly under pressure, the unfamiliar voice was sharp. She sighed, leaving the others to handle the dwindling flames, heading off to face the next crisis.
She saw a splash of blue, realized Kal was flying ahead of her. She didn't try to catch up. Their moment was over, locked in a past of sunshine and mountain breezes. Maybe, if they survived this, they'd find that passion again in the far future.