The title of this story comes from a line in "Hearts & Minds" where John says, "Sorry, Kat, duty calls." I thought it seemed a rather appropriate line to grab the title for this story from.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Let me know what you think of the new story – review, review, review!
Also, keep in mind that Bruce and Diana are many ways like any other new couple – hesitant, a little shy, and a little scared of their feelings. Plus, this would be Diana's first attempt at a long-term relationship and Batman's track record isn't exactly a good one, all in all. So I'm trying to portray that but still have them be the strong people that they are.
Duty Calls, Chapter 1, Separate Ways, by Journey
After we teleported back to the Watchtower, we stood awkwardly within arm's length, looking at each other with an odd combination of hesitation and desire. Each of us was unwilling to be the first to walk away, but our lives, for the moment at least, were leading in separate directions. I was due to relieve Superman for Monitor duty and evening was fast approaching, pulling Bruce to Gotham for his nightly patrols. I had known from the start that any relationship would be difficult, but dating, even secretly, with a teammate with so many facets to his life would test us to the limits, I was sure of that. But, still, I had known this would be tricky and demanding, but I was resolved to give this relationship everything I had, assured that Bruce would do the same. It would be tough, but I knew that the results, i.e. the relationship, would be worth any effort and hardship that we would face.
But, for now, it was time to go our separate ways, our first moments apart since he had rescued me from the Kasnian prison cell. I looked up at him and sighed. For once, I could see that Bruce's attention was almost fully focused on me and only me. He looked up out of the corner of his eye, noting the security cameras and shifting his body in order to hide our lower bodies form outside viewing. He moved his hand slightly forward, slowly reaching for my left hand with his right, wrapping his fingers on the outside of my hand and nestling his thumb in my palm, rasping the sensitive skin with small, steady strokes.
I shuddered faintly in delight and gently squeezed his hand, giving him a somewhat exasperated look as I extracted my hand.
"Thank you for rescuing me," I said quietly, trying to portray with my eyes exactly what my words conveyed, everything that was in my heart.
"Goodnight, Princess," he replied in his usual harsh tone, but his underlying attitude belied the voice. Stalking brusquely to the transporter, he stopped for a moment, checking the computer logs to see which of our teammates were on missions before turning around, giving me the slightest of smiles as he disappeared before my eyes.
I sighed. It was an interesting concept – being in a relationship – and not one that the typical Amazon faced. And, obviously and most unfortunately, my relationship with my mother was strained, leaving me to struggle with my newly deepening feelings alone, in exile.
But Amazons were women of fortitude and strength and I would be no less. I would search for inner strength within myself and strive to maintain Bruce's respect and truly become his partner in all aspects of the word – as teammates and as potential lovers.
I walked steadily to my room, lost in thoughts of the day that had passed between Bruce and I. We had known, immediately after his acceptance of my offer to have a relationship between us, that time between us would always be limited, searching for stolen moments among our outside lives and other duties. And surprisingly, Bruce had made the proposal that we use today wisely and started off our relationship in the right way – and so we had returned to Paris after we finished our dance. Not that it truly could be called a real dance in any sense of the word, particularly since it had lasted even less time than the first. But, circumstances being what they were, dressed in our costumes, we were a bit conspicuous and therefore, after a few quick revolutions, we had once again halted our dance, albeit, this time in a much more favorable situation – together and without any foes.
I had flown the two of us to Paris, back to my hotel room, where no one would be surprised to see me and few believed Batman to be anything more than a silly American urban legend. We had ordered room service and spent the afternoon relaxing, trying to just be Diana and Bruce for however many moments we could snatch. We had talked about everything that we came to mind, things that neither of us had learned about the other before – and not the big things, but the little things. I had spoken of Themyscira and of being Princess Diana and he had told me of Alfred and life as Bruce Wayne.
A line from a Lewis Carroll poem came to mind –
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings."
I thought that the lines aptly described my afternoon discovering the man behind the mask, the man I could now affectionately call Bruce. I was not quite sure of what label to apply to his position in my life now – we were certainly not lovers, but neither did I want to describe him as something as inane as a "boyfriend", a term that I had heard Flash use. The word did not adequately describe what lay between us and so I resolved to come up with a better term. Sometime.
For now, I wanted nothing more than to relive the memories, especially of the…
I was sitting on the floor, cross-legged, wearing my Wonder Woman outfit with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, exactly as I had been the entire afternoon since our return to Paris. Each moment had led to more discoveries, to more in common, to more things to talk about, and I had the fleeting wish that our time together would never end. I knew that wishing was futile, but still, the thought had crossed my mind more than once. It had taken quite a bit of time for Bruce to warm up to talking to me and even with just me in the room, he was hesitant to discuss himself or his life, remnants of keeping separate his night life and his day life. But, although initially tentative, he had opened up just a little during the day, taking the time to discuss the simple pleasures of life with me – something that Bruce often did not have the time or the inclination for.
I looked over at Bruce, quietly describing Alfred, the man he himself described as a surrogate father and a figure of immense importance in Bruce's life, and I could see a glimmer of happiness flickering in his dark eyes. Once we had secured the hotel room and received our room service, he had felt comfortable enough to once again remove the cowl, although he kept it in his hand, often unconsciously squeezing it. It was then that I realized that there was no way to separate Bruce from Batman – they were one in the same – the playboy and the protector – and I couldn't imagine wanting to change that. My warrior spirit recognized like and my mind recognized the tender heart hiding behind the brusque manner and the intimidating actions. And right now, that warrior's face was softened, just slightly, in reminisces of Alfred and his manner seemed less sorrowful, less shrouded in darkness, than I had ever seen before.
Without hesitation, I learned over and gently placed my lips on his, reveling in the warmth that leapt between us at the soft contact. The spark that had been missing in any physical contact that I had had with men before suddenly made an appearance and, pressing my lips to his for a few more seconds, I tried to imprint the entire experience into my consciousness. Pulling away, I compressed my lips together, trying to hold on to the feel and taste of Bruce as I slowly leaned back, pulling away from the hand that, totally unknown to me, had wrapped itself around my nape.
He stilled me with his hand and, looking into my eyes, unhurriedly pulled me forward again, initiating contact with our lips once more. I had been unable to close my eyes to the intimacy and, feeling a gentle swipe across my lower lips, I opened my mouth, allowing him access to the inner recesses. Leisurely, he explored my mouth with his tongue, caressing me and sending quivers down my spine. Unaccustomed to this experience, I let him take control of the situation until I felt more confident in my ability to follow suit, and gradually, I began to caress him as well, slow swipes of tongue across the inside of his mouth, learning the shapes and textures and tastes. After several minutes of this slow, sweet duel, he had relinquished his hold on my neck and gently pulled away, bringing me close for once last satisfyingly slow meeting of our lips.
I looked into his dark eyes, replete with tenderness, and whispered, "Thank you."
"Anytime, Princess," he murmured, before glancing at the clock and, with a note of disappointment, informing me that the time to return to our usual lives was imminent.
..End of Flashback
And with memories of that interlude, our first kiss, replaying in my mind, I entered my room on the Watchtower, taking only a few moments to run cold water on my face and grab a book of poetry for reading material if the night shift was slow. Bruce also shared an affinity for poetry, although my tastes usually ran to the classical, but his interpretation of some of the modern works had stirred my interest and he had promised to lend me some of the volumes from his vast library.
I advanced calmly towards the Monitor Room, intent on keeping all giddiness out of my face and reaffirming my wish and my promise to keep this relationship between Bruce and myself a secret. My first test would be Superman since I would be relieving him of Monitor Duty.
"Good evening," I greeted him, calling upon my regal upbringing to keep the smile in my thoughts from being displayed on my face.
"Good evening, Diana," he replied, yawning a little as he stood up from his chair at the console, "Was that Batman I saw transport in with you?"
I stared at him for a moment, taken aback, before realizing that there was nothing out of the ordinary about two teammates, particularly two who worked together as often as Bruce and I, transporting back to the Watchtower together after a mission.
"Yes," I told him swiftly, "We were working together in Kasnia to stop Vandal Savage's latest plot."
"Oh, right," he nodded, "J'onn mentioned something to me about that, but I've been out on a mission myself. Didn't manage to catch much of what was going on. Someone will have to apprise me of the situation later, next meeting or something."
He paused, yawning again, as he turned away, uttering a quick goodnight before heading to the transporter. I released a breath and took over his seat in front of the monitor, noting that Flash, J'onn, Hawkgirl, and GL were off on a mission to a place called Kallinor, a world in the outer rim of the galaxy. Sounded interesting. I opened my book and settled in for a few hours of desk duty, wishing that I had an iced mocha and knowing that my mind would soon be off task.
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