My take on the (possible) future storylines in JLA#0, notably Wonder Woman's marriage. BMWW, WW and Mr. X, BM and Mrs. Y. Dick Donna. Spoilers from JLA#0. Set five years after the IC. Thanks to DC Lady for the great beta. This story is not in continuity with my other story arcs where Bruce dates Diana, with 'Daughters of the Moon' as the possible exception.
Chapter 1. Runaway Bride
Superman was always the one who first opened up. Diana had known him for years, and she wasn't taken by surprise at all when he was the one who first spoke of his concerns. Of their concerns about her.
"You're sure he's the one?"
"You've met him, Clark," Wonder Woman looked at the Man of Steel, who also happened to be one of her best friends. "You know he is."
Clark Kent, the Superman, winced inwardly. It had been years since she had stopped calling him Kal, short of Kal-El, his birth name, and instead opting for the more familiar 'Clark'. It had been years as well since he had stopped hoping that she would return to her old tradition of calling him 'Kal'. But today he felt that pang of sadness again, as he was reminded that, for her, he was Clark Kent now, instead of Kal-El of Krypton. In other words, not the most special person in her heart. Instead, she now had…
"But, don't you see? You're tying the knot to – "
"It's no different than Lois, Clark," interrupting him, Diana cast her magic smile that was guaranteed to melt the hearts of any man. Including, and especially, the Last Son of Krypton.
"That's not true. To be with him…you're giving up immortality."
Superman recoiled again as Batman, the ever pragmatic guy, spoke up the topic that he had avoided so far. That they had avoided so far. He was silent and watched as Batman nonchalantly waved a book under Diana's nose and proclaimed that he would borrow it. Just like that. As if they were in Gotham Public Library and he, Bruce Wayne, was about to borrow a book from a charming librarian. A very charming librarian who was about to get married in three days.
"Go ahead," the gorgeous 'librarian' gave her permission in a wave of hand. "But, in response to your statement, we all give up something when we love. Same for you, Bruce. Is it any different than – "
"Yes. Of course it's different." The Batman didn't let her finish her sentence. Through his opaque lenses, he scrutinized the Amazon Warrior, soon to be an Amazon Bride, in front of her. He wanted to say a dozen aspects that would explain the difference, but he could not articulate even one of them. Speaking of them would mean telling her the Truth. So, instead, he composed himself and growled,
"I didn't give up immortality."
A weird silence covered the library. Diana's azure eyes drilled into Batman's soul as she spoke a few minutes later.
"I don't want eternity without him." Superman, who had been studying the marbled floor out of reluctance of discussing the 'immortality' thing, tilted his head as he thought he heard a short, split second, pause before the former princess said 'him'. But, judging from Diana's serious expression, he dismissed the thought. He looked at her, who was giving the Batman a resolute look. She then tilted her head towards Kal-El and sighed.
"Look, I didn't ask you two here…especially here… for permission."
Batman, as usual, remained still. Even after he had lightened up after the major infinite crisis five years ago, he still maintained that annoying habit whenever he decided to stick to his opinions. Especially, when they were talking about her.
So, instead, Clark took over the conversation. Playing the big brother role Bruce refused to play.
"We support you, Diana. Of course we do," he cast a quick 'you better behave or else' glare at Batman who didn't budge. Kal-El continued half-heartedly, his baby-blue eyes refused to hide his disappointment. "And we'd be honored to stand up at the wedding. But just know that what you're sacrificing…"
Diana shook her rich raven hair as she lifted her hand. "I will hear none of that. This is not a sacrifice, Clark. This is something that I am glad to do."
Superman wanted to launch another objection, but at the same time, a very cheerful familiar voice cut him out.
"Diana?" An equally raven haired head poked into the library. "We're ready for the gown fitting. Are you – "
"Sure, Donna," Diana turned and smiled at her twin-sister. "Just give me a minute to wrap things up with these gentlemen."
"Suurrre…" Donna cast her eyes heavenward. "Just don't take too long. Kara and Cassie can't wait to see you in white." She then turned to the World's Finest and gave her huge grin. "Clark, tell Lois to prepare for the lavender dress in case Dinah can't make it. She had this big influenza that might last until next week. And Bruce… Alfred had asked Dick to ask me to tell you that the fitting of your new Armani is scheduled later this afternoon."
After delivering all those messages, Donna Troy-Grayson turned and closed the door behind her.
Diana waited until the echoes of her sister fade away. Donna was the first one who objected her wedding plan, but also the first one to offer the hand to help her with the preparation. Fitting her white wedding gown might be the most reasonable thing to do now, as opposed to continue the never ending discussion about her immortality.
"So," she turned to her two best friends. "By my sister's order, I have to get prepared. I trust you gentlemen know the way out? Or perhaps you want to linger on in the library, Bruce?"
The Man of Steel sighed as he realized that he wouldn't be able to push her further. "I'll go and check with Lois about the wedding. She had rented a black tux for me. I prefer the navy blue one."
"Never argue with a seven-month-pregnant Lois Lane," Grinning, the Ambassador of Themyscira tilted her head to see Batman's reaction.
"I'll be here for a while. Reading."
That wasn't an unusual response from the Dark Knight. His ever-existing interest in Greco-Roman texts had always made him attached to the plethora of literatures provided by the Paradise Island library.
Diana shrugged and walked away with Clark. Bruce sat down in one of the chairs and opened the book he had just borrowed.
Thirty minutes later, he left the room. The book he had opened was abandoned on the table. He didn't read a single line of it.
Their giggles had lasted for nearly half an hour. Giggles, chuckles, and laughter. Gown-fitting was always fun. Especially when the bride-to-be was a famous Amazon heroine about to tie the knot with a mortal. Even if 100 of the ladies in the room secretly hid their reservations towards their sister's decision.
"So, Connor really did finally propose to you?" The bright blue-eyed Kara Zor-El kept repeating her sentence. She seemed to have mentioned it for the fifth times in twenty minutes.
"Gosh, Kara! Superhearing not workin' or what!" Cassandra Sandsmark rolled her eyes, swept a lock of her blonde hair, and bend to take off a pin from Diana's dress. "I've told you he did! Di, we're done here. Very pretty dress."
"Of course. Did you think I would choose an ugly dress for her?" Donna answered Cassie's comment, smugly lifted her fine nose.
It was indeed a very pretty dress. Donna poured all her efforts to order the best wedding gown for her sister, and she was proud of that. Not that Diana needed an attractive dress to make her look pretty. But the silver-moon silk flowing gently on her body as the breeze entered the half-opened back door and the sparkling beads that decorated the dress here and there truly promised a dazzling look for an Amazon bride. Nearly a dozen of international designers had contacted Donna Troy-Grayson, the official wedding organizer for Diana of Themyscira, to offer gorgeous wedding gowns for Diana. In the process, Donna almost broke her own heart when she crossed all but one gown off her list of choices to be The One Gown for her sister. Diana herself hadn't put much effort in gown picking. She had relegated the biggest responsibility to her sister.
Now, the bride-to-be was just standing idle, occasionally swirling her strapless sleeveless gown and playing with a curl of her raven hair, seemingly excited at the swishing sound the materials created. Anyone who saw her in such state would think that she was drowning in the blissful happiness of a bride-to-be.
"But you haven't given any details! Like when, how, what he did…" Kara continued, playing with a long cream ribbon, which was about to be turned into garbage if she didn't stop fidgeting with it soon.
Donna seemed to be aware of the danger. "Gimme that!" She snapped the ribbon away from Kara's hand. "This is for the bouquet, and I'm not forgiving you if you ruin it!" She stepped away and stored the ribbon properly.
"But, she's not answering!"
"Hey! It's my business!"
"You're my sister! He's my cousin! Recently resurrected. You're telling me it's not my business?"
"Kara…Cassie…" Donna turned around to lecture her sisters. Knowing all too well of her sisters' argumentative natures, Diana used the chance to slip away from the dressing room and walked out through the back door. The Amazon Warrior timidly lifted her long dress as she strolled along the cobbled pathway. Her silver-moon silk gown stirred as she walked into the small garden behind their quarters.
The fresh fragrance of roses filled the garden. She inhaled gratefully. Who would have thought that marrying someone would be this difficult? Not to mention someone who is not –
She shook her head to get rid of the annoying thought. No. I have made the decision. He is the right one. I will live with him for the rest of my life. She winced when she felt sudden heat on her hips. The Lasso of Truth. It had started to emanate heat the day she had made the decision to marry him. She wondered if the heat would stay on, would get worse, or would fade away after her wedding. She had hoped for the latter. If not, she would toss away the lasso for the sake of her peace of mind.
A rustling sound behind her did not make her turn around. But she could not help but smile.
"The book is not interested enough?"
She turned to see Bruce Wayne, clad in his Batman regalia, sans cowl, staring right at her. She almost stepped back as she saw his eyes.
"Diana, don't do this. Cancel the wedding."
She definitely stepped back this time. She stared at the man in front of her, totally taken aback, temporarily forgot that she was also bestowed with the gift of speech.
It was almost 9 in the morning when he opened his eyes. He growled, closed his eyes again, and turned his back against the window side of his bright room. Alfred always had the annoying habit of opening up the curtains, and had never been deterred by the fact that his young charge was also the Batman who needed more sleep in the morning because of his nocturnal activities. And now, the young Mrs. Wayne also had a similar habit with Alfred, and hence forcing Bruce to wake up in the morning, like it or not.
While turning, Bruce's hand accidentally touched the side of his bed. He wasn't surprised at all when he felt that the space was empty. When they first got married, his wife had this interesting habit of waking him up in the morning. As well as the rest of his body parts. However, since a few months ago, she stopped doing that. She woke up early, had breakfast without waiting for him, and if they had conversations during the very rare event of having meals together, their conversation was duller than those boring U.N. meetings Diana often attended.
Bruce inhaled and opened his eyes slowly. He studied the cream curtains of his grand bedroom and tried to remember why he felt so blue today.
Ah, yes. Of course.
Diana, former Princess of Themyscira, twice Amazon Ambassador for the United Nations, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, would get married tomorrow. Despite what he had said yesterday, she still held onto her original wedding plan, undeterred. The Themyscira House would hold a cocktail party this evening, and philanthropist Bruce Wayne was invited as a V.V.I.P.
Today was Friday. He had two meetings to attend before lunch and one in the afternoon. He wished he had two other meetings in the evening as an excuse not to join the cocktail party, but he knew better than not fulfilling the invitation. Clark would call. Alfred would gently remind him. And, worst of all, Diana would be disappointed.
He groaned again and got out of the bed. His body still needed some sleep after three robbery attempts and one jail break that he had stopped last night, but he didn't feel like sleeping anymore. In fact, he hadn't been able to sleep properly. Not since Diana announced her wedding plans three weeks ago. Grumpily, he dragged himself to the bathroom and emerged ten minutes later with a fresh body, but a restless mind.
Bruce donned his dressing kimono and strode out of the room. Walking towards the kitchen, he didn't expect to meet the young Mrs. Wayne in the main lobby. Tall and dressed elegantly in a Donna Karan three pieces, his wife stood near the door with two expensive Gucci suitcases next to her.
He arched his thick eyebrow, but decided not to ask. She would tell him if she felt he needed to know. "Morning." He casually approached her to plant a quick compulsory kiss. The classic Chanel No. 5 charged his olfactory organs, but did nothing to evoke his passion towards her. She received the kiss half-heartedly and made no attempt to return it.
"Going somewhere?" He scolded himself for the question. Of course she's going somewhere, you fool! Two suitcases and she's going shopping!
She hesitated before answering, "Tuscany."
He couldn't help wondering. "Not Milan? I heard they have great sales this week there."
"Please, Bruce," she sighed, tucking a lock of her long brunette hair. "Don't play stupid. You know why I need to go there."
He pursed his lips as he studied her intently. He knew that she would leave one day, but not now.
"When will you come back?" He was very tempted to omit the 'when' from the question.
She looked into his eyes and found that, despite his kindness, the question was more an obligatory one. Another obligatory thing between them. She bit her lip.
"I don't know, beloved. I will tell you next week if I decided to come back."
Not 'when', but 'if'. Bruce realized now that she finally reached the point that he had reached three months ago. He nodded and opened his mouth to say something. Anything polite. Nothing came out.
"Give my regards to Diana," she finally spoke again, hesitated to mention the name.
"She…uhm… the cocktail party tonight –"
" – is cancelled, I think." She placed a pair of Ray-band sunglasses on her face and made to leave. Upon Bruce's obvious floating question mark, she added reluctantly, "Just read the paper. I have to go, taxi's waiting."
Bruce lifted her two suitcases and escorted her to the taxi in front of the Manor. Of course, the jovial young taxi driver recognized the famous couple that resided in the Manor. But he failed to notice the negative tension between the husband and wife in front of him.
"Morning, Miss Talia! To the airport again?"
"Yes, Edward. And quick, please."
"Sure, Mam! Been a busy month, eh? Three times going abroad…"
Talia Al-Ghul Wayne didn't respond. She took out her compact powder and examined her pale reflection on the mirror. She didn't even look at her dark haired husband who waved as her taxi left the compound.
Though he should be confused with his wife leaving, Bruce found that he was more confused with her statement. What's in the paper she was talking about?
He decided to ignore the matter and entered Alfred Pennyworth's major domain. The ever-immaculate butler-father-doctor all in one greeted him with his trade-mark English tone.
"Morning, Master Bruce."
"Alfred," he yawned hard and tiredly sank at one of the kitchen stools. Two newspapers lay on the table. He didn't even glance at them.
"Trouble sleeping again, Sir?" the butler placed a plate of fresh fruit in front of Bruce while not missing the opportunity to scrutinize his charge. Bruce's dark rings would not fool Alfred's old eyes, even if his master said he slept perfectly well.
"Yeah…" Bruce growled and reached for coffee.
"Miss Talia is heading overseas again," Alfred's comment was – again – a compulsory one. Despite the old man's super polite demeanor towards the young Mrs. Wayne, Bruce understood that his surrogate father never hid his opinion of not approving of his master's decision to marry the daughter of the Demon. Thus, Alfred had not shown his objection at all in light of Talia's recent habit for frequent overseas travel. Bruce was not surprised at this. He just hoped that all compulsory comments would vanish from this house. Living in this house, in the midst of his parent's memory, was hard enough already. He actually didn't need obligatory things to do in his life, other than watching over Gotham.
"Yes… I'm afraid Italian shoes are increasingly lethal to her." Bruce tried to crack a joke and failed miserably. He sighed and drank his coffee. To hell with Talia leaving the U.S. I have Diana's cocktail and wedding I have to avoid…
"Ah. Perhaps you should take a look at the newspaper, Master Bruce. In case there are discounts we can utilize to keep the young mistress in the country."
Alfred had noticed Bruce's sharp decline of reading newspaper as of three weeks ago. After Ms. Diana's wedding announcement, to be precise. Can't blame him though, all newspapers were crammed with news of the Amazon's wedding plans, drowning other items of news from all over the country.
Bruce's grunt was another indication that he didn't want to re-enact his newspaper reading habit this morning. Alfred sighed as he realized that he had to take the initiative himself.
"As you are seemingly uninterested in the newspaper, might I ask you to pass those for me to read?"
His charge frowned. Never in Bruce's life had Alfred asked him to pass him any newspaper. What with his demand now?
He shrugged. Sluggishly, he reached for the newspapers next to him, which were uncharacteristically opened up in half (instead of folded into a quarters). Indifferently, he sipped his coffee and passed the papers to Alfred. His eyes mechanically glanced at the headlines. He nearly choked on his coffee.
'Former Princess's Wedding is cancelled!'
'Wonder Woman loosened up the knot!'
Bruce Wayne gasped. He spilled his coffee, but didn't pay attention at all. Now he realized the extent of what his wife was speaking about.
"May I have the paper, Master Bruce?"
Alfred's nonchalant request had brought Bruce back to reality. Bruce blinked, put down his cup, and turned slowly to his surrogate father.
"You read this paper this morning?" It was an accusational glare.
"Well…yes." The butler's suppressed smile was hard to miss. "But I haven't the chance to read the sale section."
"This…" the C.E.O of Wayne Enterprises quickly scanned the pages in front of him. TheGotham Gazette and The Daily Planet. The two most influential newspapers on East Coast would not give room to idle gossip. Add the Gotham Morning Herald to that to confirm…
"I trust that the GMH has arrived by now. Allow me…" Alfred sailed out of the room with the air of importance in his demeanor. He returned back two minutes later with the Gotham Morning Herald in his hand.
Bruce still had his nose in the paper. For the last two minutes, he had back and forth examined the Gotham Gazette and the Daily Planet. He looked up to see Alfred Pennyworth dramatically holding up the third newspaper with 'Diana of Themyscira: Runaway Bride?' as the headline.
"A bit of disturbing news, Master Bruce. Or shall I say, an encouraging one?"
His charge for almost forty years swallowed hard.
"Would you like me to keep searching for shoe sales, or rather call the Embassy to offer condolences?"
"I…have meetings today at Wayne Tower."
Alfred Pennyworth looked into Bruce Wayne's eyes. "Consider them cancelled, Master Bruce. Meanwhile, shall I encourage you to change into proper attire and head to the Embassy yourself?"
"I…" this man might as well have lost his ability to speak.
Suddenly, the phone rang. The English butler swiftly ran for the phone, only to come back to Bruce a moment later. "Master Clark would like to speak to you, Sir."
Bruce blinked several times before answering, his voice hoarse.
"No. Tell him I'm on my way to the Embassy."
"Very well, Sir." Alfred didn't hold his smile as he spoke to an anxious Mr. Kent on the phone. From the corner of his eye, he saw Bruce literally running upstairs to get dressed.
Take that, Meltzer! Dare to make Diana wed a guy other than Bruce Wayne, and Bruce married a woman other than Diana? Well, I still have fanfics to spoil myself! Oh, I actually still thank Brad Meltzer for his superb descriptions of Wonder Woman in JLA#0. Really, Diana's wedding aside, he had become one of my fave Wondy writers.
Please read and review. I want to take another chapter to go, but I need to know the responses.