Author's Notes: Takes place after Infinite Crisis 7, during the year long absence of our favorite heroes.
Thank you, Djinn and Heybats!
A Year of Self-Discovery
by DC Lady
Diana watched Lois and Kal picnicking in the park; a picture-perfect setting of a happy couple. She'd known what she'd find when she'd decided to come here—just one of the stops she would make on her road to self-discovery—and she'd prayed to the gods who'd created her that she wouldn't care.
Hidden behind one of the numerous trees that littered the park, she watched them. Then closed her eyes as she tried to imagine herself, instead of his wife, next to him. But the man that her mind conjured in her idyllic day-dream wasn't Kal.
She sighed. A year without Wonder Woman, to get to know who Diana was. She never thought it would lead her back here. To Kal. For this purpose.
She approached them and noticed his breath hitch when he saw her. His powers hadn't returned, it seemed, and she'd surprised him. From the look on his face, it was difficult to tell if he was happy to see her, or afraid she'd mess things up with Lois.
"Diana?" It was Lois who spoke first. For some reason, Diana thought it fitting.
"How are you?" Diana asked, holding Lois's gaze even though the question was meant for her husband.
"Happy," Lois answered, with a finality and contentment that Diana couldn't help but envy.
Diana's smile was bittersweet as she realized this was where he belonged. Where he chose to be. She'd been connected to this man for a long time. Connected, but never joined. Not like he was with Lois.
"Be happy, Lois," she said, then looked to Kal. "And Clark."
She'd moved on. Without Kal. And it felt good not to be the third wheel in this game they'd finally played out.
She rose into the air, saw Kal release the breath he'd been holding, then the small smile that formed on his lips. He'd let her go, too, it seemed. Then he turned away. Turned to his wife. It was fitting, after all.
Another stop in her road to self-discovery.
She found him in the Orient, accompanied by the two young men he considered his sons. They were sparring in the backyard of what she assumed was a privately owned residence. She landed in the midst of them, facing him.
Diana's heart beat wildly in her chest. She was nervous, and excited, and more than a little intimidated. Not an emotional mixture she was comfortable with, or used to feeling.
Bruce smiled. Suddenly she felt a glimmer of hope.
"It's good to see you," she said, then noticed as Dick and Tim inched closer, no doubt curious as to why she was here. "Dick. Nice to see you up and around. And Tim. How are you?"
"Uh. Fine. Thanks."
"Why don't you two take a break. Inside," Bruce said, with no trace of the smile he'd previously shown.
She refused to be swayed, however. . There were some habits that even a year away from Gotham couldn't cleanse from Bruce. Hiding his emotions was just one of them.
"Why are you here?"
"I missed you." Might as well be direct. Bruce appreciated directness. Most of the time.
"You're here because you missed me?"
"Yes." She hesitated. Searched Bruce's eyes for clues to what he was feeling. It'd never been an easy thing to do, but for some reason, she'd continued to try.
"Who else have you visited?"
She knew he'd ask. "Kal."
"Did you miss him, too?"
She shook her head. "No. I didn't."
"I see." He didn't move.
"Kal is my friend," she said finally, and this time she meant it. Just a friend.
"I'm your friend, too."
Was he angry? She cleared her throat. Decided to take another approach.
"Time away from Gotham has been good for you. You look well."
He nodded but didn't say a word.
"My journey has been less tranquil. Emotionally, that is."
He still said nothing, but his gaze never strayed from hers. It was almost predatory. Challenging. She squared her shoulders. She'd yet to back down from a challenge.
"There were some things that I'd been unwilling to confront. And I am no longer willing to pretend those things do not exist."
"What things' would those be?"
"Kal…you. Where you both fit in my life…my heart."
"Your actions have always made that very clear." His voice was rough, but he didn't back away.
"We tried this once before, remember? You called off any chance of a relationship before it even began."
"If I remember correctly, you were relieved."
"I was many things, Diana, but hardly relieved," he said, and ventured closer until he was only a few inches from her.
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"What was I supposed to say? You didn't want me."
"That's not true. Bud I didn't want to start something that you would eventually regret. J'onn's machine…"
"Relationships aren't determined by machines that give you a biased view of a future that may or may not happen."
She nodded. "But what if this future did happen?"
"What if it did? Was it that bad?"
She lowered her head, shook it slowly. "It was that good. Except for one thing."
Again he was silent, so she lifted her gaze to him again. Might as well get it all in the open if this was going to work. If he would give it a chance, that is.
"It is possible that the gods would deny us children if we were to join. I had thought that you deserved someone who could give you that."
"So you made the decision for me?"
"What's changed now? Why are you here?" He moved even closer to her.
"Because there are some things that still need to be resolved between us."
"Really? Like what?"
"Don't mock me, Bruce. You know what I'm talking about."
"If you don't want me, Bruce, just say so. At least I'd be able to move past this…this thing."
"Is that what you really want?"
"No. But it seems to be what you want. And I will not beg for any man's love if he can't or won't give it."
He moved closer, pressed himself against her. "Don't presume to know what I want, Princess."
"Then enlighten me. Please."
He smiled a wicked smile, then kissed her fully on the mouth. The dominant kiss soon led to something more, however, and he wrapped his arms around her, his mouth working against hers with such passion and tenderness that her senses were suddenly filled with him. He wanted her. Had for a long time, too, it seemed.
He broke the kiss, leaned his head against hers and took a breath. "What took you so long?"
She was confused. "So long?"
"To realize you loved me."
"Maybe I was waiting for you to make the first move."
He shook his head against hers. "I made the first move a long time ago. When I first kissed you. But he was in the way."
She suddenly understood. "And what makes you think Kal still isn't in the way?"
"Because you're here. I knew you'd eventually let him go," he said. "I just didn't think it would take you this long."
She heard the nervous clearing of throats, turned with Bruce to see the boys.
"What?" Bruce said.
"Just wanted to remind you of Master Chin's class. It starts in 15 minutes. You know how he feels about anyone being late." It was Dick who spoke, with a look on his face that resembled that of someone who'd just caught his father with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Diana couldn't help but laugh.
"You two go ahead…"
"No," Diana said, and gave Bruce a soft kiss on the lips. "I have to be going."
"Going? You just got here."
"We both have journeys to complete."
Bruce ran a hand through his hair and nodded. She knew he understood the need to finish what they'd started with this year long absence.
She rose above them. "I'll see you when we are done."
"It's a date," he said, and smiled.
Her heart was lighter than it had been in a long time. She flew onward, to her next stop on this road to self-discovery.