Well, this is it…the last chapter. Thank you to those who bothered to keep up with this little fic o' mine. I'd also like to give a big thank you to those of who took the time to review.
Of course, an enormous thanks goes to alittlesummerwine for putting up with me and making what were without fail incredible suggestions and corrections. Thanks, ALSW.
I still don't own anything concerning Batman, Wonder Woman or Justice League.
And just a little note concerning the xiphos. It is a double-edged, single-hand sword used by the ancient Greeks. Definition courtesy of Wikipedia.
Though her eyes didn't open, Diana's consciousness floated to the surface just enough to register that she was warm and safe. That was all. She didn't awaken enough to remember where she was, or what a terrible night she had had…only that she was warm and safe.
She never even realized that she smiled as her mind drifted back into sleep and into another dream…
Diana stood in the teleporter of the Watchtower, trying not to smooth out her knee length black spaghetti strap dress for the tenth time while waiting patiently for Mr. Terrific to initiate the process that would take her to the Batcave. It was always a tedious process, going to the Batcave when Bruce wasn't around to handle the controls himself. With all the safety procedures and security protocols that Bruce had put into the system for transport to the cave to keep its location a secret, it took time.
Mr. Terrific finally gave her the signal and she readied herself for the teleport; not that there was much she could do to get ready. It just happened, really. A flash of light and you were in another place.
She saw the telltale flash and felt the sudden, yet pleasingly familiar, chill of the cave along her arms and legs. A quick look around showed her that there was no one in the cave, and by the absence of the Batmobile she realized that Bruce had gone out into his city in the guise of Batman. She was surprised that Alfred hadn't…
"Good evening, Miss Diana," greeted the elderly butler warmly from the bottom of the stairs. He stood there looking at her with a kind expression upon his face, though his body language was all butler, complete with straight posture and hands clasped behind his back.
She hadn't even heard him open the secret passage, let alone walk down the stairs. "What is it with these men and their stealth?" Diana asked herself. To Alfred, she smiled and responded with, "Good evening, Alfred." She glanced to the Batmobile's usual resting place, turned back to Alfred and said, "I presume Bruce is not at home."
Regret flashed in Alfred's eyes. "I am afraid not, Miss, though I anticipate his return shortly. Commissioner Gordon requested his help with a perplexing case…nothing too serious, I am happy to say."
Diana knew that the relief she felt at that tidbit of knowledge made it onto her face when Alfred's lip turned up in a very short smile. "Thank you, Alfred. I'll…just wait here, I guess." She took one step towards Bruce's chair next to the Batcomputer when Alfred's appalled voice reached her ears.
"You most certainly will not wait here, Miss." She looked at the butler and saw a stern look instead of his usually kind features. "I will not allow any guest of Master Bruce to wait in this dingy hole in the ground, especially a guest as important to him as you are." He stepped aside and motioned with his right arm up the stairs. "Come up stairs, Miss. Master Bruce will know where to find you."
"What does he mean 'especially a guest as important to him as you are'?" wonderedDiana. A flare of hope, albeit a little one, as she knew that allowing herself to hope when it came to Bruce was a dangerous game, exploded in her chest.
A subtle clearing of a throat brought her attention back to the cause of her introspection. She was well aware that Alfred's stubborn streak matched Bruce's, perhaps even surpassed it. When it came to matters of proper protocol and the comfort of his guests, Alfred was the irresistible force and the immovable object. Admitting defeat, she walked to the stairs, looping her right arm in Alfred's in a gesture of warmth and something beyond friendship.
Alfred took it all in stride and led them up the stairs, his sure and steady steps showing the familiarity that came with years of walking them. When they stepped out into the light of the manor, Diana released Alfred to allow him to close the entrance to the cave.
"Now, Miss," said Alfred when he had finished. "Where would you prefer to wait? The kitchen? The study, perhaps?"
Diana thought for a second before replying. "The library, if it's all right with you, Alfred." She could always read what a travesty the historians made of ancient Greek history if Bruce took too long.
"Of course, Miss," responded Alfred as though he had known what room she would choose. And perhaps he did. Not all of Bruce's deductive abilities were self taught…some of it, perhaps a great deal of it, was learned from Alfred. "If you will follow me?"
Diana nodded and followed the butler as he led her to the library. She knew where it was anyway, she had been in there before of course, but she decided to humor Alfred and let him do his duty.
As they walked Diana, knowing all too well of Bruce's painstaking efforts to keep his identity as Batman a secret, had to ask, "Alfred, how would you explain to someone that Wonder Woman is in Wayne Manor?"
Alfred remained silent until a few seconds later when they reached the library, but after he opened the door to the room he met her gaze and responded. "Despite its calm and peaceful façade, Miss Diana, Wayne Manor has a security system that would make the Secret Service green with envy. The upgrades Master Bruce made after the Thanagarian invasion boggles the mind. We would know if anyone were coming in plenty of time to retreat to the cave or make some other arrangement." Alfred smile. "Please wait here, Miss."
Diana watched as Alfred went into the room and did a quick survey of the library. She knew that he was checking to make sure that the room was presentable for company, and she could tell that something was bothering him when he moved out of sight for a moment and she heard something that sounded suspiciously like annoyed muttering, which was then followed by the sounds of books being put back on their shelves. But when Alfred returned a minute later, his demeanor and appearance was totally ordinary.
She lifted her eyebrows at Alfred in curiosity, and Alfred, never above embarrassing Bruce said, "You would think a man as meticulous as Master Bruce is when it comes to protecting his alter ego or planning an adventure would be as efficient in cleaning up after himself."
Diana couldn't help but laugh at the concept of a messy Bruce as much as she laughed at the irritation in Alfred's voice.
"At any rate, Miss, the library is ready." He stepped out of the way to allow her to enter. Diana nodded gratefully to Alfred and stepped inside.
"Would you like some refreshments, Miss?" asked Alfred kindly. "Some juice or a snack?"
Diana smiled, which she realized she did quite often in Alfred's company and shook her head. "No thank you, Alfred."
Alfred nodded in acknowledgement and said, "Very well, Miss. I will be in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner if you require anything."
With that Alfred walked down the hall towards the kitchen. Diana watched the butler move swiftly yet quietly. "How does he do it?" she asked herself again. She shook her head in wonder and walked into the library. It was, as one would imagine, very well stocked with books of all types, regarding all subjects from all over the world.
She moved to the wall where she had found a book or two about Greek history the last time she was in the library. Her brow furrowed in confusion when after searching through the section twice there was no sign of any books regarding that subject. She was just about to look for a third time when Alfred's voice nearly startled her enough to jump.
"You will not find them there, Miss," stated Alfred, who, Diana noticed, had a small tray in his hands containing a pitcher of ice water and a single glass. He moved inside the room and placed the tray upon the heavy oak desk that rested in the center of the room, then moved to the section of books nearest the desk. "After your last visit, Master Bruce asked me to arrange all the books regarding anything Greek in this section, Miss."
Diana was stunned speechless, which disturbed her to a very large degree. She knew Bruce pretty well; she knew that he was more thoughtful and considerate than he let on. His kindness wasn't as outwardly apparent as Clark's, for example, but it was more meaningful and more intense in its own way.
She looked to where Alfred was standing to find the spot empty, and for a moment she wondered just how long she had been in that little funk when Alfred's voice came from the doorway.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, Miss?" he asked kindly.
Diana regarded him with a mixture of appreciation and annoyance. "Yes, Alfred, there is." At his questioning look she said playfully, "Please stop sneaking around me. I find it very…disturbing."
Alfred didn't quite smile as he nodded. "A butler should never disturb his guests, Miss." He turned to leave but stopped and looked back over his shoulder with a mischievous glint in his eyes. "Then again, what fun would there be in that?"
She was still doing mental sums in her head in an effort to determine if Alfred was serious or joking when she realized that he had left…quietly. Not able to find it within herself to be angry with Alfred, she could only smile as she walked to the section that Alfred had indicated.
She was looking through the books, her right hand grazing softly across the spines of the books as she read their titles, and wondered exactly why Bruce had asked her to come here tonight.
She thought back to earlier in the day…
It had been a long and exhausting three says since they had defeated Darkseid's invasion, with the members of the League working twenty-four hours a day for those three days with the cleanup and rendering any assistance they could.
When she had finally beamed up to the Watchtower this morning, she had been more than ready for a hot bath, a monster sized ice mocha, and her nice, warm, comfy bed.
That plan fled her mind in a heartbeat however, when none other than Batman met her when she materialized aboard the Watchtower. He looked as tired as she felt, but more than that, he looked a little…uncertain. He was eerily still and had his dark cape drawn around him like a shield.
And he was looking right at her.
She stepped down onto the deck, walked over to him and waited. She looked into the opaque eyes of the cowl for several minutes until she had been forced to wonder if he was actually asleep standing up. She smiled softly and had turned to go to her quarters when his arm shot out with the speed of Hermes and held her left arm, just above her elbow.
"Diana," he said in a quiet monotone. "Come to…"
He stopped and appeared to do a restart, trying to come up with the proper phrasing. She found it endearing.
"Could you come by the manor this afternoon?" he asked so softly that she wasn't sure she heard him correctly.
The area of her arm covered by his hand was becoming increasingly warm. Pushing through the shock, she answered, "Of course. What time?"
He hesitated as though he had been unprepared for the question, or hadn't expected a positive response. "Six o'clock." He cleared his throat. "Dinner. Come by…please, come by for dinner."
Diana managed to keep her emotions- the anticipation, the hope and the nervousness- in check and responded with a burgeoning smile. "I would love to," she looked around to make sure no one was near then leaned in closer to him, just in case, and whispered, "Bruce."
He almost smiled. Not quite, but it was very close.
"Good," he pronounced brusquely as he released her arm. He then strode to the teleporter controls, entered a few codes, and stepped onto the platform.
"See you then," he said in a business like tone, but his tone softened considerably when he added, "Princess."
He disappeared and after a moment of trying to figure out what had just happened, she realized that she only had a couple to hours to get ready. The next couple of hours were a blur of hairstyles, dresses and outfits, make up decisions and a number of other things she couldn't even remember in her blurry haze of anticipation.
All of which had brought her to this point, waiting in the library of Wayne Manor for Batman to come home.
She hoped she wouldn't have to wait too…
"I'm glad you could make it, Princess," came a familiar voice from the door.
"Wouldn't miss it," she said casually as she turned to face him. When she saw him her breath hitched in her chest for a second. He was wearing a very flattering black suit with a white button up shirt underneath the jacket. He wasn't wearing a tie and the top two buttons were left undone.
Handsome didn't do his appearance justice.
Bruce slowly entered the library. His eyes were as focused as she had ever seen them, and to her surprise, the fact that she was the object of their scrutiny did not bother her at all. In fact, she quite enjoyed being the center of attention for Bruce.
She met his gaze, as a warrior would meet the attack of an enemy. She would not back down, nor would she let him know just how much his intense gaze was affecting her.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to Diana, Bruce smiled. It wasn't the foolish playboy smile she had seen on Bruce Wayne at any number of functions, nor was it the half smile Batman allowed himself on very rare occasions. No, it was a full fledged and totally honest smile.
He walked over to join her near the shelf of books. When he was standing next to her he took a deep breath and spoke. "I would imagine you've been asking yourself why I would ask you here." When Diana, flushed with amusement, nodded her verification of his assessment, he went on. "When Clark, Luthor and I went after Darkseid, I really didn't expect to survive."
All amusement at Bruce's discomfort fled her at that honest proclamation. He said it so calmly, so clinically, without any hint of emotion.
Bruce turned to regard one of the multitude of books along the wall, avoiding her scrutiny in the process. "The situation seemed more than a little hopeless. Clark, at the best of times, can barely manage to hold his own against Darkseid. Add to the mix Luthor's unpredictability and the fact that he could stab us in the back at any time, the odds of getting out of there in one piece decreased dramatically."
Diana was stunned. She had never before heard the usually supremely arrogant and confident Batman talk so grimly.
Still looking at the books, Bruce went on. "When Darkseid shot his Omega beams at me and I tried to avoid them, several things flashed through my mind. Dick, Tim, Alfred, Gotham. But the most glaring of them all," he turned to look into her eyes as he finished with a whisper, "was you."
Diana felt her eyes widen in astonishment. He noticed and something slammed shut in his eyes as he looked to her feet. She could almost see the war within him play out in his eyes, and she had to fight the strong urge to go to him and hold him. If she did that, she knew, it would be saying good-bye to any chance they had, if they had any chance at all. The storm in his eyes, the swirling blue and gray intensified into a maelstrom as the battle raged on. She waited, trying to breathe normally and maintain her composure, but she nearly jumped in her place when he suddenly found her eyes with his own and, as she looked into his eyes, the storm having passed, leaving his usual handsome blue eyes looking back at her.
"You," he repeated as though he hadn't just struggled to continue. "Despite my best efforts at keeping you at arms length, Princess, you've managed to get in." He inched closer to Diana, who was too enthralled by his honesty and the situation as a whole to so much as bat an eyelash. "The beams were coming at me, and all I could think about, was the regret I felt at not giving us a chance."
Bruce moved even closer to Diana, who now realized that she had been holding her breath and tried to subtly draw in some much needed oxygen before the sudden ringing in her ears overcame her.
"There are things, decisions and choices, I've made in my life that I'm not happy with, Diana", he said softly, "but I've never regretted them. I've accepted responsibility for them and learned to live with them." Bruce's right hand reached up and softly stroked Diana's left cheek. "But God help me, as those red beams got closer and I tried to dodge them, I actually felt regret over my decision about us. I really did wonder 'what if' for a fraction of a second." His left hand moved up to gently rub her right cheek, then his hands cupped Diana's face in a loving hold. "I've spent the better part of three days trying to figure out what it all means and I've come to an inescapable conclusion." Bruce leaned forward until his forehead rested against Diana's.
For Diana the fear, hope and anticipation she was feeling at the possible meaning of what Bruce was saying was sending her heart rate into a super sonic flutter.
"I want to be with you, Diana." He rubbed his nose against hers. "I need you in my life…I know that now. It took me nearly getting hit by those beams and the world taken over to see it, but I have…finally." He leaned back just enough to look at her, let his arms move to rest on her bare shoulders as he smiled at her.
And the nervous smile he had on his face was as impossible to ignore as the electric shock that traveled the length of her body as his hands touched her shoulders. She didn't know what to say after such an emotional display from Bruce. The super sonic flutter of her heart intensified, though she had no idea that was even possible and butterflies in her stomach appeared out of nowhere.
His voice seemed to waver ever so slightly as he said, "I just hope that it's not too late for…"
His sentence was cut off when Diana's body, sick of waiting for her mind to get up to speed, acted of its own accord. Her arms reached up and wrapped themselves around his neck, pulling him towards her until her lips met his own, initiating their first kiss since that night in the restaurant as they avoided the Thanagarians.
Bruce's momentary surprise evaporated quickly, as evidenced by his hands moving to her waist, then sliding slowly to rest on her back and, of course, the fact that he was returning the kiss with a passion.
Diana poured everything into their kiss, all her respect for him, all her joy at his words and actions, and yes, all her love. Emboldened, Diana let her tongue graze the edge of his lip, a perfectly reasonable move for one trained to be a warrior, to explore the limits of the rules of engagement and the perimeter of the 'enemies' defenses.
She couldn't completely hold in the groan of pleasure when his tongue slipped past her lips and began its own reconnaissance of her mouth. She fought to regain the initiative, but settled for a draw when their tongues fell into a comfortable caress of each other.
When the kiss ended minutes later, Bruce smirked and quipped somewhat breathlessly, "I assume that means it's not too late?"
Diana gave him a smirk of her own. "Brilliant deduction, Bruce," she teased. Her right hand left its resting place behind Bruce's head, moving along his shoulder then up to his jaw. As she gently traced the edge of his jaw line with her fingers she said, "No it's not too late, if you meant what you just said."
Bruce's jaw clenched in what for any other man would have been a flinch. "I don't blame you for doubting me, Diana," he whispered. "I haven't given you much of a reason to believe me." He hesitated before adding, "I don't know what I can say…" He stopped and locked his eyes onto hers. His eyes bored into hers with an intensity that she had never seen before.
She looked into his eyes, deep into them, past the shell that was the playboy billionaire, past the specter that was Batman, and into the very essence of Bruce, into his very soul. She realized then that this was the first time, the only time, that he had opened himself up to her in such a manner…completely and without holding anything back. And it warmed her soul.
His intense stare didn't falter, didn't waver until she smiled, and his gaze softened in what she thought was relief.
"We're really going to try this?" she asked with awe in her voice. She knew there would be other things to talk about, to work through…his three reasons, for example. But she was more than willing to try, and now that she had peered into Bruce's soul she knew that he was finally able to try as well. That was all she needed to know.
The right side of his mouth edged up a fraction. "Only if you want to, Princess." And as if to further confirm what he said, he leaned over and pressed his lips to hers. Her last thought before totally losing herself in the kiss was, "I love you, Bruce."
"I love you, Bruce," thought Diana as her consciousness was awakened by sudden warm touch on her right cheek. Her journey to complete awareness was completed and her eyes began to open just in time to see Bruce leaning over her. She closed her eyes again when the tender touch of his lips trailed a series of feathery kisses along her lips. When they stopped she opened her eyes and looked up into the blue eyes of Bruce, laying in bed on his left side with his left arm underneath him, propping up his upper torso so that he could lean over her. His right hand was softly caressing her cheek.
"Hi," she whispered a little groggily. "What time is it?"
He smiled. It was the smile that she had come to understand was meant for her and only for her. She had never seen him smile like that at any one else. "Six in the morning. I didn't mean to wake you," he apologized. "But I just couldn't resist."
Diana smiled lazily, and then rolled over onto her right side so that she could face him. Her left hand reached out and ran over his naked chest, tracing scars and muscles alike. She looked into his eyes. "No new ones tonight?"
Bruce gave her a sad smirk. "No," he said quietly, "no new scars tonight. It was actually pretty quiet for a change." He leaned back a bit and his eyes narrowed in as he studied her. "What time did you go to bed? You look tired?"
She smiled and moved over and cuddled into him. Bruce moved his left arm from underneath him to wrap around her as he eased onto his back, allowing Diana to rest her head on his chest. "Couldn't sleep," she said then looked up into his eyes. "I missed you too much." It wasn't a lie.
A gentle kiss upon her forehead greeted her response. She cuddled back into him as he said a little suspiciously, "Really? I thought you might have been having nightmares."
She suppressed the grimace that wanted to run through her body. "Well," she said truthfully against his skin, "I did have a nightmare or two."
"And Alfred brought you hot chocolate," he said knowingly.
She turned her head to look at him. He was studying her closely. "Yes," she admitted. "How did you know?"
She got a Batman patented smirk in response. After a moment he asked, "Did it help?"
Diana smiled, placed her left hand on Bruce's chest and then moved up to kiss him gently on his lips. "Oh yes," she said happily. "It worked like a charm."
"Good," murmured Bruce against her lips. "What were you dreaming about when I came in?"
"This," said Diana as she leaned in and kissed him deeply….
The image of Diana and her love vanished from Morpheus' dream pool and Morpheus turned to Aphrodite. "She is truly happy, Aphrodite."
Aphrodite smiled brilliantly. "Yes, Morpheus, she is indeed."
"Thanks to you, my lady."
Aphrodite's smile dropped a little. "Hardly, Morpheus. She found happiness on her own."
Morpheus nodded in a gesture of acquiescence. "As you wish, Aphrodite."
Morpheus fell silent and Aphrodite regarded her fellow god with some concern. "What is the matter, Morpheus?"
Morpheus looked to Aphrodite and smiled. "Nothing, my lady. I was just wondering what I could do to Ares to…repay him…for his taking advantage of my nature."
Aphrodite laughed musically. "If I may make a suggestion, noble Morpheus?"
Morpheus regarded the goddess of love curiously. "Of course, Aphrodite."
As Aphrodite detailed her idea to Morpheus, the god of dreams only just managed to hold in his laughter.
The smile on Aphrodite's face shone throughout Olympus. "After all," she said with a small shrug of her perfect shoulders, "even gods sleep."
Ares walked across the battlefield, his armor glistening in the hot sun and his sword covered from its pointed tip to its golden hilt with the crimson life blood of his enemies. There was no one left on the uneven rocky plain to face him and he raised his sword to the sky in victory.
"I am over here, Ares!" came a mocking call from behind him.
Ares lowered his sword and turned to face the woman who had become a very painful thorn in his side. Diana stood a short distance away, apparently dressed in the battlefield armor of Athena herself and holding Athena's spear in her left hand, complimented by a xiphos in her right.
Ares' eyes narrowed in anger and he charged her, bellowing an ancient war cry, a practice that he himself began untold millennia ago. As he neared her, Diana drove the point of Athena's spear into the ground beside her and held up her sword, waiting for him to get to her.
Ares raised his sword and when he was within striking distance he drove it downward with all of his strength towards her helmeted head. She dodged the blow by moving swiftly to her right, forcing his unopposed force to bury half of his sword in the ground.
Diana used the flat edge of her sword to tap Ares tauntingly on his rump and laughed haughtily as she moved gracefully behind him.
Incensed, Ares whirled around, swinging his sword at Diana's waist in a backhand motion, only to find air when Diana nimbly jumped back slightly and bent her body at her hips. Ares then swung his sword at her head with a forehand swing, once again missing his target when Diana simply ducked.
Ares' frustration and anger grew with each miss. Finally he gripped his sword with both hands, raised it above his head and once again tried to crush Diana's skull, and once again he missed and his sword hit the ground as Diana sidestepped it as she did before.
This time, however, along with easily avoiding the blow, she brought her sword around and, with a skill that had been honed over uncounted centuries, inserted her blade into the right leg armor just below Ares' ass and pushed downward, peeling the armor off like a tin can.
Diana moved away and Ares' looked down with astonishment at his now bare leg. "How is this possible?" he asked as he looked to Diana, who had the most condescending smile on her face.
Diana twirled the sword in her hand. "Lots and lots of practice," she said, then pointed her sword past his shoulder to a small mound, "and a little divine blessing doesn't hurt."
When he turned around and looked in that direction, Ares nearly fell to his knees. In the center of the front rim of the mound stood Hera, flanked on both her left and right by other goddesses; Aphrodite, Athena, Demeter, Artemis, Nemesis, Hestia, Persephone, Hebe, all nine Muses and Nike were easily visible, but he could tell that more stood behind them. Then when he looked beyond the mound, Ares saw something that shot a stab of fear through his heart. Behind the mound stood thousands of Amazons, all armed and wearing battle dress, apparently ready for a fight.
When he turned back to Diana, the tip of her sword pressed into his throat. Ares tried to retreat, to disappear, but he was powerless. Diana raised her eyebrows at him and he let go of his sword, letting it fall to rest by his feet.
Diana planted her feet without moving the sword and reached up to hold it with both hands. She gave him a predatory look and whispered, "Don't move."
Ares closed his eyes as Diana raised her sword, and a moment later he felt a hit at his right shoulder, then a blow to his right hip. Ares drew a breath and felt another blow to his left hip, then one more to his left shoulder.
The strikes went on for what seemed like an eternity. Throughout it all, Ares didn't flinch, nor did he open his eyes at all, that is not until Diana commanded, "Open your eyes, Ares."
When he did, Ares saw that he had been turned around to face the goddesses and Amazons, and in between them stood Diana, who now had her helmet off and had it tucked underneath her left arm. Her sword was sheathed on her left hip.
And she was smiling widely and shaking with barely repressed laughter. A glance to the goddesses and Amazons showed Ares that they were all holding in their laughter and he couldn't figure out why.
Diana snickered and looked down to his waist; at least he thought it was his waist.
"A little…understated, Ares." She looked up at him. "Is that why you wear all that armor, to hide your little…?" She trailed off and glanced downward suggestively.
Ares followed her glance and his eyes opened with shock, anger and fear when he saw his armor lying in a pile at his feet. "NO!!!!!" he screamed as he brought his hands to his front to cover himself. He looked around the plain with rapid movements in search of escape, but he could find none. "Your life will be worthless when I…"
Diana sprung towards him and drew her sword in one fluid motion, resting the tip of her sword against the inside of his right thigh, turning the top edge of the blade inwards and pressing up with a not so gentle pressure.
Diana's eyes were fire as she leaned in and growled, "Leave me and those I love alone, Ares." She pressed her sword up a little harder and added, "Or I will make you half the god you are now."
Before he had a chance to recover, Diana withdrew her sword and raised it in triumph as she walked towards Hera, who was now clapping and cheering, as were all the females present.
Ares finally fell to his knees and, for the first time in his existence, Ares, the god of war, cried like a baby.
Ares awoke from his not so peaceful slumber in his new throne and looked around to find himself alone. He immediately jumped up, reached down and felt immense relief when his fingers touched his armor, and relieved beyond words when he realized that the armor still covered all of him.
"Morpheus," snarled Ares as he sat back down. "I will punish you for this."
"YOU WILL DO NOTHING, ARES," came Hera's voice from, well, everywhere. "YOU DESERVED IT."
The god of war slouched down in his throne and said contritely, "Yes, Mother."
"AND ARES…WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR HAIR?"
Ares closed his eyes and wondered what he did to deserve this. He sighed and whispered, "Yes, Mother."