Disclaimer: I don't own the Justice League or the episode Comfort and Joy and the characters therein.
It's Christmas time and the Justice League members have all gone off their separate ways to celebrate the holidays, except for Batman and Wonder Woman who decided to spend the few days for everyone else on Monitor Duty. It's New Year's for the couple – and time to ring in the New Year and their relationship!
Thanks to Lavender Gaia for the beta - it's always much appreciated. You do a great job, so thanks!
Most reviews so far, woohoo! Thanks to all of you who helped me with that!
Chapter 14, Auld Lang Syne
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?"
Dinner at the Wayne household had been something of a success, after I got over my initial surprise of seeing my sister Donna there as the date of Dick Grayson. The entire situation had made me want to laugh, especially later when I looked back at it and realized that both of us had fallen for these Bat-boys. Poor Mother. I know that she said that she respected my decision, but I also knew that some part of her was still wishing that I would return to Themyscira, and Donna as well, and now it looked even more likely that an eventual return was out of the question, exile not withstanding.
Still, the evening had gone rather well, all in all. Dinner itself had been delicious and the conversation had flowed easily, although Bruce had often tensed up when Dick had tried to tease him, an oft occurring experience, or so I was informed. It had warmed my heart to see this side of Bruce, to meet the family that was so important to him, that provided such light and pride in him.
Dick and Donna had only recently started dating, but Dick had obviously been interested in when exactly Bruce and I had embarked upon our relationship. Neither of us, of course, was willing to share that information. But each time Dick brought it up, I would look over at Bruce and wink, smiling at him to let him know that I wasn't irritated with Dick's teasing; I was too busy enjoying the memories of Kasnia and all that had followed since.
As for Donna, I enjoyed seeing the smile on her face, the lightness in her gaze as she looked at Dick. I was less than surprised to see that these two had ended up together, but I had a feeling that both Donna and Dick were a little surprised that Bruce and I had become involved. But we continued to let them guess, to wonder, simply showing them by our actions, or, in Bruce's case, his lack of excuses and logical reasoning as to why I was here, that we were deeply involved and that our relationship was much more than a fling or a meaningless flirtation.
Alfred, of course, eventually joined us at the table, regaling all of us with stories of the three Bat-boys and their antics over the years. He was a font of information and I enjoyed the stories that poured forth from him, particularly when Bruce's cheeks began to get stained with red from all the ribbing and the laughter in his direction. He simply wasn't used to this kind of lighthearted attention – he was used to being strictly obeyed and scarcely questioned, but in this arena, he was simply a little boy, the son full of spunk and spirit, or the dad who smiled when he heard about his sons trying to do laundry and filling the entire laundry room of the Manor with suds and bubbles up to the ceiling.
And it did my heart good to see him smile, to see him this way.
At one point, I simply couldn't hold in my feelings, I reached over below the table and laced my fingers with his, giving him a little squeeze and leaving my hands comfortably and warmly in his clasp. He gave my hand a small press in return, but didn't even glance my way, simply let our hands remained entwined for the course of the meal, a solid step, or so I felt, in our relationship: somewhat public affection.
Of course, once the teasing banter from Dick had picked back up again, he had called for Alfred to bring in dessert and Dick took the hint, at least for the next few minutes. After dinner, Tim had escaped to do his homework and get away from the stifling atmosphere provided by us couples and we had gone back to the library. We were admiring the sword, both Donna and I pointing out little features that Bruce may not have known the significance of, when Dick asked Donna to accompany him to Bruce's New Year's party as well. Apparently it was quite the tradition in Gotham and Donna immediately answered in the affirmative. Then Dick turned and asked me if I were going, to which I calmly answered no.
Bruce had glared at his son and had quietly escorted me to the other side of the room, both of us knowing that Donna and Dick were watching our every move intently. Very softly, he had asked me to attend in my new guise and that he had forgotten about the party. Noting his sheepish expression, I couldn't help but believe him. While Bruce's brain might be a stronghold about anything that affected Batman or Gotham, the social side of his brain was often a sieve, allowing information to drain. At least when he wanted it to be so.
I gave him a quick yes, leaning over and giving him a short kiss before turning back to the sword and the other occupants of the room, both of whom immediately averted their eyes.
And thus it was that just days later, I was standing in the master bedroom of Wayne Manor, nervously checking myself in the full length mirror and I tried to recall every piece of information that I could about Diana Stephanos.
I wore a halter top full length royal blue silk dress, the small knot at my nape the only thing keeping my dress sturdy. It clung to breasts and hips, leaving my legs free for movement and the high neck made the dress look almost but not quite demure. However, my back was bared unto almost the top of my hips, a sexy statement that I rather enjoyed making. I had eschewed high heels, believing them to be torture devices invented by some devious misogynist, and instead had donned low heeled strappy silver sandals. The silver bracelets that I had worn since becoming Wonder Woman were removed, left with the other remnants of my uniform for safekeeping here in the Manor. Knowing Bruce, there was no place safer than here. The small silver bracelet still adorned my wrist however and my usual earrings were replaced with small sapphires. My hair was pulled high in a ponytail that swept down my back; I could feel the soft brush of my hair on my back every time I moved.
Overall, I felt sure that I was projecting the right image for a model from Greece – I had no problem with people believing that I was indeed a model, no matter how brainless they might believe me, because I had told Bruce that under no circumstances was I going to act like an empty-headed twit. I was still Diana, not just some playboy's fodder. And he had agreed with my caveat – the world might finally believe that Bruce Wayne had found the woman who could keep him in line if she was brainy as well as beautiful. And he had dated women with brains before, just few and far between.
I looked over at him, sitting on the bed in a black tux and tie and suddenly, I was reminded of Kasnia, of the moment when I had realized that this handsome stranger was known to me as the Batman. And so, I couldn't resist. Walking over to him, I stood just in front of him. I watched as his eyes traveled upwards, as they took in every detail, every line of the dress, every accentuation, before finally meeting my eyes. The lust and approval in his dark gaze lit me from within like a fire, but I simply smiled softly and asked him, "May I have this dance?"
He looked taken aback for a moment, but quickly recovered, standing up and pulling me into his arms, pressing his lips to mine in a soft kiss that quickly turned passionate. I drew back after a few moments, leaning forward to rest my head on his shoulder and enjoying our last moments of peace before the storm of the party and the festivities ahead of us. I knew that tonight, we would be the center of attention; I would be the one whom all eyes would go to. The thought was slightly nerve-wracking, but I reminded myself that I was an Amazon, a strong confident woman whom no mere Gotham socialite could match up to, in words, wit, or actions. And, I knew, unlike the others, that at the end of the day that I knew this man better than most others, and that, for tonight, he was mine.
A knock sounded at the door and as Bruce called out, Alfred poked his head in the room. "A car just pulled into the driveway, Master Bruce. I do believe that the arrival of the guests is imminent."
"Thank you, Alfred," he answered, dipping his head and brushing a soft kiss across my lips before adding, "For luck." Hand in hand, we walked from the room and down the grand staircase before taking our places at the front door, ready to receive the guests. Bruce had assured me that this was the easiest way to meet the company tonight – everyone could meet and greet me and then quickly be pushed forward into the room to enjoy the atmosphere, the delicious spreads of food, and the string quartet that filled the air with the strains of music.
Just before Alfred opened the door, Bruce lifted my hand, turning it over and kissing my wrist. Even though I knew it was a practiced gesture, one for the benefit of the guests piling through the door, I also knew that there was a genuine wealth of feelings behind it, and that he could feel the nerves forcing my pulse to race and I waited beside him with a small smile. And just when I thought I knew the man, he surprised me, leaning in very close to me so that no one else could hear and whispering, "I love you, Diana. Thank you for being here with me."
And just like that, my heart melted and my expression was one of tenderness and affection as I turned to greet the incoming guests, not caring that anyone and everyone could see that I was head over heels and totally smitten for the handsome Bruce Wayne.
Several hours later, as it was nearing midnight, I had drunk champagne, been ogled by every man in the room and questioned by every woman in the room, sampled the food and been whirled around the dance floor by Dick, Bruce, and even Alfred once. My disguise had remained firmly in place and I could see some of the older matrons looking at one another as if they couldn't quite believe that Bruce might finally be slipping from their grasps, that his heart might actually be taken. And his wallet, which is what I had the feeling meant more to some of these people. It wasn't that he hadn't said anything, but he had been devoted to me that evening, ensuring that the party, and the night, were absolutely perfect for us both, our first time together in public in this fashion.
He had been quietly solicitous, offering me drinks and fetching plates for me, being an overall gentleman and not the flirtatious, foppish billionaire playboy that I had so often heard tale of. The true Bruce underneath, the quiet and sweet man slipped through that night and many people looked to me as the cause, something for which I was only too glad to take credit. Of course, I still heard the whispers about his bevy of love children, about the harem of women that would be just around the corner, and that it couldn't possibly last, that Bruce was simply unable to settle down with one woman.
I didn't care. I reigned in my fists and my anger that they believed so little of Bruce and remembered that I knew more of him than anyone else in this room. Well, other than Alfred, Dick, and possibly even Tim. I had seen Donna being twirled around the room by Dick just a moment ago, but although I searched, I couldn't see Bruce anywhere in the crowd that swelled the room.
And then Alfred handed me a note from a silver platter and with a small smile on his face, retreated, leaving me to open it in relative peace. Opening it, it read:
Master Bedroom Terrace. Now. – B
Without another glance around, I headed out of the room and up the stairs, grateful that the amount of people in the entranceway was much fewer than that of the ballroom. At the top of the steps, I strode forward, finally entering the master bedroom and seeing a dark shadow lurking outside on the terrace.
"Bruce?" I called, stepping forward to the threshold of the terrace.
And then I saw him, his tie loosened, his hair mussed, and a bottle of champagne in his hand, two flutes resting against the balustrade, filled with the golden bubbly liquid.
"What are you doing up here?" I asked him, finally noticing that he was barefoot. It made me smile and I immediately reached down, pulling off my sandals as well and dropping them inside the bedroom. Music from the band downstairs lingered on the air and the night was chilly, but the look in Bruce's eye warmed me as I moved forward into his arms.
We stood there for long minutes, just leaning against one another, enjoying the peace and quiet of each other's company after the flood of people that had enveloped us downstairs.
"I like to stand here sometimes and look up at the stars," Bruce told me, his voice hoarse with emotion. I simply stayed where I was; not wanting to break the spell of the moment. I was afraid that if I looked up at him, that if he had to say this to my face, he would end his speech and I would never know what he was thinking right now.
"Sometimes," he said, rubbing his cheek against the softness of my hair, "I used to make wishes."
"What did you wish for?" I whispered, snuggling in closer to the supple strength of his body.
"For my parents to be proud of me," he murmured. "For safety in Gotham, for a world where Batman wasn't necessary. Useless little things."
"Wishes are never useless, Bruce," I said, finally looking up into the darkness of his gaze. "We all have wishes, we all have dreams. It makes us human and it gives us hope, a beacon in the darkness of this world, a light to follow on those days where it seems hardest to keep fighting."
And then I heard his words on the whisper of the wind as the guests began to count down from ten: "You give me hope." All I could do was lean up, kissing him softly before I whispered, "I love you, Bruce. Happy New Year."
Next story: Like Angels From Heaven – this title really caught my attention, so many ways to go with it! Set during "Starcrossed" it will detail how BMWW deal with the betrayal handed to them by a teammate, with revealing his identity, and to some extent, how their relationship is revealed to the public. Any suggestions?
Remember that you can always favorite this story or myself, and put me on your author alert list as well, that why you don't have to check it daily to see if I've updated, it'll just send it to you! Either way, thanks for reading! And reviewing, for those of you that did so.
I hope that everyone enjoyed this story and my take on where Batman and Wonder Woman were during this episode! I had a great time trying to figure out what they were doing and how they spent their time. And judging from the number of reviews and new reviewers, you all did too! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all letting me know what you're thinking about my stories – it's what keeps me updating so quickly and what helps to keep me enjoying this so much. Again, I really appreciate all of you and thanks! Keep it up!
To reviewer Mistress Haruka – Thanks! Glad you like it and I'll have to check out the story that you mentioned!
To reviewer Phoenix77 – Thank you as well! I was really nervous about the Bat-clan, so I'm glad that you think I got them spot-on. Makes me feel much better!
To reviewer SarahC – I still stand by my decision to use Donna Troy in the story. I did it for two reasons – one, because my amazing beta was hopeful that I would, and two, because it adds another element to Diana, the big sister element. And I, being one, am very familiar with that, so it helps me to understand Diana better. Neither Nightwing, Tim, or Donna, or even Barbara for that matter, will be primary characters in any of my stories. They may be squeezed in a chapter here and there, but it will be a rare occurrence. I'm just not as comfortable or as knowledgable with them as I am with BMWW. I respect your opinion if you believe that I've hurt my story by including Donna, but personally, I am happy with the result and the possibilities it opens up.
To reviewer ariana - Glad you've enjoyed the past few chapters. I appreciate you letting me know and I'm glad that you liked my inclusion of Dick/Donna. Thanks!
To reviewer T - Thanks! I appreciate the compliments and the comments. Honestly, the only pairing that I'm very particular about is BMWW and I haven't read many pairings of the Bat-clan before. My beta writes Dick/Donna and her stories come across as very feasible and believable to me as a couple and she's explained her justification for their relationship and it works for me. Honestly though, I have no idea if it's truly believable or not, but, as I told Sarah above, one of the reasons I like using it is the possibilities that it opens up for me. Now I could write a double date or sisterly gossip between the Wonder sisters and that part I like. But, don't worry, I didn't think that you were flaming me! I appreciate that not everyone like the pairing of Dick/Donna, but as long as you love BMWW and you'll continue to read my stories, I'm happy! Thanks again!
Oh, and as for the titles. I had already picked out Like Angels From Heaven when you reviewed, so that was already decided. Sorry! And also, it is actually a quote from the episode as well...just not from one of the JL members...