Disclaimer: I don't own Justice League Unlimited.
Acknowledgements: Thanks so much for all your reviews. I'm sorry for the slight delay—I was sick with the flu. 'Tis that time of the year. So when you have the time make sure to stop by a Walgreens near you for a flu shot. Stay healthy, warm, and safe!
Staring into those wild, crazed eyes, Diana felt a numbing chill fill her body. Instead of feeling the usual adrenaline rush that pushed her into action, she felt the crippling fear of crawling into a corner, hunching deeper into her own shadow. Diana watched as Joker tilted his head playfully, like a cat licking its chops, ready to spring on its prey.
In all her life, this was the first time Diana felt trapped, a prisoner to fear.
She never believed that death revealed a flashback of one's life like a short film. The only thing that rang through her ears was her mother's wise words. To always fight for what was right and to never give up. Especially in the face of adversity.
She closed her eyes, feeling the low throb at the base of her neck. The whiplash could have immobilized a normal person but not Wonder Woman. It was like a sprain, nothing more than an itch. She tasted blood in her mouth. She must have bitten her tongue at the impact. Or when she recognized Joker's face. Diana chose the latter.
Diana breathed in slowly, remembering her mother and sisters. They always calmed her down, the memory, their love. In that second, she was transported to her home. She could smell and taste the salty air, her feet buried in wet sand. The sun was a fire ready to be extinguished, and when Diana turned around she saw her mother and sisters urging her on, encouraging her, filling her up with so much love that it brought her to tears.
Diana had been through hell and back, and Joker was just a mere pawn, an evil pawn that could be crushed with one swift blow.
Her hand automatically shielded her bump, and she glanced at Alfred, who was leaning against the wheel, unconscious. She prayed to Hera that Joker didn't suspect something unusual about her body. The main reason why she took pregnancy leave was so that the Justice League's arch nemeses wouldn't realize that Wonder Woman was vulnerable. Vulnerable to her body's lack of defenses. If something were to happen to her body, the baby would take the toll. Diana could withstand a kick or bomb explosion, but her baby wouldn't. She and Bruce didn't want to take any chances, whether or not the baby inherited Diana's immunity.
Joker pulled the door open, his eyes unwavering, watching Diana with sadistic glee. "I think you need to dock Mr. Butler's pay, don't you think so, Miss Wonder Woman? We don't want that pretty face to get scratched, now do we?"
He inched closer, crawling into the backseat, snaking toward Diana. He had a knife in his hand.
Diana's hand scrambled for the latch behind her but she realized it was locked. Left with no other choice, she had to bust it open with force. She gritted her teeth and punched the door, but something was blocking her only exit. She turned around and saw one of Joker's massive minions barricading the door, trapping her.
"No where to hide, Princess," Joker said, licking the knife, giggling like a lunatic.
Diana only glared at him. "You are in no position to call me Princess, you infernal leech."
"Infernal, huh?" Joker smiled. "Sounds like a compliment."
"Go back to hell," Diana said through gritted teeth.
Joker let out a hearty laugh, amused at Wonder Woman's uncharacteristic tongue-lashing. "Feisty! I love it when a mouse decides to turn into a Chihuahua, all bark but no bite. At least with a mouse, you reek with fear. But a Chihuahua is just pathetic. Yappy and afraid. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C." Joker's eyes roamed from her face to her chest, then to her hand that tried to hide her noticeable bump. His eyes widened with surprise.
"Congratulations! Who's the lucky daddy?" Joker jumped up, clapped his hands. "This night is just too perfect." He twirled the knife between fingers, toying with Diana's growing anxiety.
If only Alfred was not around, Diana would have ripped the car right then and there, unleashing hell. But she didn't want to hurt Alfred, and the car gave her no room to move without hurting either the butler or her baby.
"No wonder you're as helpless as a mouse. You're carrying a superbaby. Well, depends who the father is, right? But I'm sure your Wonder powers will prevail over our weak human genes. And I just had a thought." Joker feigned having a revelation, rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Seeing that you're busy with crime fighting, why not leave me with the baby? Like a babysitter? Ooh, better yet, the adoptive daddy. Why…" Joker looked around. "Where's daddy? He left you all alone to fend yourself. I wouldn't do that. I would treat Joker Junior here new tricks. Oh yes, we're going to have so much fun…"
As Diana listened, her face was as pale as the full moon. She was horrified beyond belief, but anger began to overflow. She clenched her fist, and she was about to pulverize Joker's face when he held up a hand, as if reading her mind.
"Whoopsy. I wouldn't do that if I were you," Joker said. He opened his mouth very wide and showed her a row of silver teeth.
"What? You're showing me you haven't been flossing?" Diana said, still holding her fist.
"Of course not, silly. My mouth is actually a minefield. You punch me, you blow us all into well… boom. Teeny tiny bits of Wonder Woman, Joker, Mister Butler, and Walter over there."
"You are a very sick man," Diana said, lowering her hand but not letting her guard down.
"Smart is more like it," Joker said, tapping his temple. "I was going to save this tidbit of information for Bats but you are a far more pleasant surprise." Joker held the knife tighter. "Now let's begin Operation Superbaby!"
Diana dodged the knife's blow, which was aimed at her belly. With deft moves, she singlehandedly deflected his attack and hit his chest, sending him flying out the car. She was about to grab Alfred when a hand crashed through the window from behind, choking her. She hit Joker's bodyguard in the face but it was like hitting a Cyclop's rock-hard ass.
She was beginning to lose focus, from the lack of oxygen.
Bruce. Help me.
Through the dark haze that threatened to take her child away, Diana heard Joker's giggle, felt Walter's dirty hand suffocating her. The thought of them stealing her child and raising her baby for their selfish gain woke her up. She was angry, bent on murder. Everything suddenly turned red, a dark, bloody red.
She bit Walter's forearm, causing him to cry out in pain. Joker stopped for a minute, surprised that she wasn't unconscious yet. Diana used her weight to torpedo against Walter, breaking the door behind her, leaving Walter motionless on concrete floor.
Diana rose hesitantly, still holding her unborn baby protectively. She glared at Joker, who was standing at the opposite end of the car, reciprocating her stare. He broke out in a smile once again, taunting Diana to make a move.
But she stood where she was, glancing at Alfred who groaned a little. He began to stir and Diana was at a dilemma. If she moved now, Joker anticipated it. But if she waited too long, Alfred's life was on the line. She smelled blood and gas mingling together. The truck that crashed into their car had been dripping with gasoline, causing a trail that ended at rear end of Bruce's Bentley.
Looking into Joker's eyes, she could read what he was thinking. One false move, and he'll set the car on fire. She knew because he held something in his hand. And even though Diana was quick enough to grab Alfred and deflect a fatal swing from Joker, Joker had so many tricks up his sleeve that their game wasn't about stealth. It was purely a mind game.
That's how Bruce had survived the whole time.
Bruce… Diana closed her eyes, her frustration welling up. Where in Hera's name are you?
"Where's baby daddy, Princess? Did he get cold feet?" Joker said, tilting his head playfully. "Where could he be?"
"What are you, social services?" A deep, throaty voice said from behind Joker.
Surprised and yet excited, Joker whirled around to face Batman.
"Ah, there you are!" Joker exclaimed.
«Δεν τον χτύπησε στο πρόσωπο. έχει μια βόμβα στο στόμα του.» Diana said, speaking in Greek so only Bruce could understand. Don't hit his face. His teeth is wired with explosives.
While Joker was mesmerized by Batman's presence, in that split second Diana rushed to Alfred's side, wrenched the door open, and as gently as she could, pulled the butler out of harm's way. Joker dropped something from his hand—a bomb it seemed—but Batman dove and caught it, kicked him in the gut and shoved the bomb in his mouth, leaving Joker to writhe in shock and pain.
Batman held Alfred and asked Diana if she was hurt. She shook her head but he knew she was lying. Fatigue and frazzled nerves were written all over her face. Before Batman contacted J'onn, he turned around and said to Joker, "Cat got your tongue?"
Bruce smirked when he heard Joker yell in frustration as they were beamed into headquarters. As soon as they arrived at the teleportation area, Diana's legs gave in to exhaustion. Before her head hit the floor, Flash came to her rescue.
"Weren't you guys on a date?" Flash asked.
"Joker knows she's pregnant," Bruce said, calling for the medics.
"Do you always jump to the conclusion before explanation? Have you ever heard of the onion peel of writing papers? I learned that in fourth grade."
"You don't say. I wouldn't have guessed." Batman said, caressing Diana's face before the medical team rolled her and Alfred to the emergency room.
Bruce and Flash followed them to the waiting room. They watched silently as the red light flashed, causing dread to shaken Bruce's composure a bit. Flash laid a hand on Bruce's shoulders, hoping to ease the tension.
"She's going to pull through. She's Diana after all," Flash reassured him.
Soon, footsteps thundered along the hallway. Shayera and Clark rushed to Bruce and Flash with questioning looks.
"Is Diana alright?" Shayera asked.
"All J'onn told us that Diana was in a car accident," Clark said.
Flash filled them in, as Bruce sat in the waiting chair. He was frustrated with himself. How could he leave Diana and Alfred alone, in the middle of a bank robbery where Joker was the mastermind? Stupid. Reckless. Ignorant. He was so focused on the matter at hand that he neglected to consider the safety of the most important people in his life. His negligence nearly cost their lives and Bruce was purely at fault. And what made things worst was that Joker now knew she was pregnant. Bruce didn't want to think of the repercussions of tonight's train of events. He didn't want to delve into Joker's mind right now. Not now. And he wished, not ever.
"Bruce," Shayera sat next to Bruce. "We'll do everything to protect her."
Bruce didn't say anything. "I shouldn't have left them alone like that. I was short-sighted by the damn motherf*$#er."
Shayera nodded. "Yes. Yes, you were."
Bruce narrowed his eyes at her. "You—"
"How could you leave your pregnant girlfriend in the car while you saw Joker was behind the damn fiasco? You know him better than that! You're lucky he didn't see you change from Bruce Wayne, but you know what? I can't be too sure about that either. You just flew out of the car without a moment's hesitation." Shayera sighed. "I don't even know what to say to you."
"You've said more than a mouthful," Bruce said, crossing his arms over his chest.
Clark, John, and Wally looked anxiously at the two of them. They were shocked at Shayera's response to Bruce's situation. They never knew she would be so blunt toward him, especially with something so sensitive.
They questioned amongst themselves if Shayera was pregnant again. John and Wally exchanged a glance, and John could barely swallow the lump that formed in his throat.
"What are you going to do now? Diana is not safe now. Knowing Joker, he could be forming a legion to track her down. We have to hide her somewhere."
"She can stay at my place," Wally offered.
"How do you think Linda's going to take that?" Shayera said.
"We have a spare room…"
"Fat chance," Bruce said, deep in thought.
"What about the Fortress of Solitude?" Clark suggested.
"You want her to freeze to death?" Bruce said.
"What makes you think I didn't install a heater in there?" Clark said, sounding slightly hurt.
"What about Themyscira?" John said, shrugging his shoulders. "She'll be safe among her sisters, even if they're under attack, didn't they say she's blessed with the protection of the gods?"
Bruce and Shayera mulled it over in the heads.
"Wow, I'm impressed. Didn't think you of all people would come up with such an idea." Shayera said, nodding her head.
"What are you implying, dear wife?" John asked, narrowing his eyes at her.
"Seems like fatherhood hasn't stripped you up there," Shayera stood up and kissed her husband's cheek. "I'm ovulating by the way." She walked past him, taunting him with a seductive wink. "Oh, and Bruce, I suggest you consider Themyscira. If not Themyscira, at least talk to the Queen and ask the gods for their protection. They'll help no matter what."
The men gawked at her retreating figure. John was practically shaking like a leaf. His friends didn't know if it was due to excitement or fear for what the night laid ahead of him.
"Dude, I am so sorry," Wally said, patting John's shoulder. John sighed, returned Wally's gesture.
"A man's gotta do what… oh hell. She's gonna screw me crazy," John muttered, following his wife's shadow that led to their room.
"I honestly don't know if I should be happy or sad for him," Wally said, blowing out a long sigh.
"I'd say the former. It's not everyday the wife wants to screw a husband like crazy," Clark said with sincerity.
One of the doctors finally appeared from the emergency room. He removed the mask and relayed the news to them.
"Their conditions are both stable. The baby's fine," the doctor smiled at Bruce.
Bruce slumped back with relief. "Thank God."
"Thanks, doctor," Clark said.
When the doctor left, Bruce stood up and made his decision. He called Nightwing.
"Where are you?"
"Bludhaven. What's going on?"
Bruce retold tonight's near tragedy, asking for Dick's help.
"I'll let Donna know right away. And Alfred?"
"He's going to recuperate in HQ. If things don't calm down, I'll have him stay at your place in the meantime."
"Fine by me. Although…"
"What? Don't tell me she's staying with you?" Bruce asked gruffly.
"Jeez, did she tell you?" Dick said, exasperated.
Bruce only sighed. "I just don't want Alfred to be uncomfortable."
Confused, Dick asked, "Alfred's the one who told me to talk to her… about us. Well, you know Alfred, 'Sir, you must tell her your true feelings.' You know, sappy confession and shit."
"Well, just make sure she goes back to Themyscira with Diana. I'm sure Diana wants her sister to be with her the entire time."
"Donna? What makes you think Donna's living with me?" Dick suddenly wished he hadn't revealed too much.
"Dick. Who's with—?"
"Dick? Who are you talking to?" A familiar voice asked from Dick's end.
"Barbara?" Bruce asked in a whisper. If Dick and Barbara had been living together this whole time, then why was Dick fooling around with Donna? One thing that Bruce didn't tolerate was cheating, especially if his sons were involved. He may have reprised the role of billionaire playboy for many years, but Bruce never believed in betraying a woman's heart. His playboy role was merely a façade. Nothing deep and affectionate.
"Dick. What did I tell you about playing around?" Bruce asked.
"Before you jump into conclusions, get the facts straight. I gotta go. I'll call Donna and let her know Diana's on her way home."
Dick ended the call right away.
Bruce didn't want to probe. He respected and trusted Dick. If Dick was ready to tell him, then he'd listen. But for now, Diana needed him. He walked through the emergency doors, choosing to stay by his girlfriend and butler's side.
"What do you want?" Lex Luthor asked without looking up from his paperwork. It was pointless to ask how he got through security.
"Nothing from you. But I have something that'll tickle that power-hungry mind of yours," Joker said, sitting on Lex's desk.
"What do you have that could possibly hold my interest?" Lex stood up, his back facing Joker.
"I call it, Operation Superbaby," Joker said with a sinister voice, snickering at the back of his throat.
To be continued…
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Author's note: I used Google translate for the Greek translation so if you know Greek, blame google. I only typed the words and they supplied me with their version. Anyways, hope you enjoyed this chapter. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know. I'm more than happy to hear from you.