Synopsis: A one-shot. The original 7 members of the Justice League decide to spend Christmas Eve together, remembering what has passed and enjoying the company of today. Slightly AU. HGGL, BMWW, mentions of SMLL, FLinda. There may be a slight addendum to the story, but it's up to you readers!
Thanks to SiriusLover4Eva for beta-ing this story for me!
"I am yours now and u are mine/And together we'll love through/All space and time" – Prince, 7
In the center of the living room of Wayne Manor towered a Christmas tree, gaily decorated with brightly colored bulbs, glass ornaments that sparkled in the sunlight, strands of garland and white twinkling lights wrapped around from the trunk to the tip of the tree where there rested a gilt star, just a bit off-kilter and threatening to fall at any moment.
"Flip the switch, Wally," Clark said and a second later, the darkness was pierced by hundreds of little lights glowing from the Christmas tree, lending a festive atmosphere to the room and bathing it in what appeared to their happy eyes to be starlight.
It was breathtaking.
The seven stopped for a few moments to revel in their handiwork, all of them secretly pleased that they had elected to take today, Christmas Eve, to enjoy the holiday as a group, as the team they had once been. The holidays were a time for loved ones, for happiness, for mistletoe, and for make believe, and today, the seven original members of the Justice League were taking the day for themselves. Not one of them had monitor duty, not one had anywhere else to be today, including Gotham or Central City. All minor emergencies had been handed to those who could aptly take care of it and all potential emergencies would be dealt with as they cropped up, as was the usual way.
Still, for now, this day was about the original seven, about rebuilding the camaraderie that they had once shared, about remembering what had brought them together so many years before and how much had changed for all of them since that day.
Superman had been a hero of the highest caliber for many years, using his strength and his boyish grin in order to defeat villains and win over the public. And they had taken him into their heart, never realizing that behind the 'S' was an ordinary man who had loved and lost more than any of them could imagine. He was so many things to so many different people: Kal-El, Clark, Supes, even called a boy scout by many, critics and otherwise. He was a dichotomy of the ordinary and extraordinary, but today, he was simply a friend.
Tomorrow, he would spend the day with the Kents, even having convinced Lois to take a few days off and venture out to Kansas and join his family for Christmastime; a feat that a lesser determined man would have given up on long before he managed to persuade her. And so, with all this in mind, the boyish grin was much in use today, flashing and laughing amongst his superhero family.
J'onn had been an alien from Mars come to warn the Earth and the Justice League about the parasitic race that was invading the planet, trying to stop the same destruction that had occurred on Mars long ago from occurring on Earth. He had been captured and tortured, rescued only when his telepathic waves had managed to reach Superman. It was thanks to a man who had been a stranger in their midst that that same stranger could now call Earth his home and these people his friends.
He had proven himself to be a vital part of the Justice League and in the expanded version they had formed, he was their general, the leader who divvied up the duties and watching over the group. In many ways, J'onn had become the father of the group, with patience and a quiet strength that the younger members looked to for aid and guidance. Tomorrow, he would be back at the helm, directing the missions and determining the players. But for now, he was content to sip a cup of eggnog and smile to himself at the family he had made for himself on this planet.
Flash, or Wally West, was the youngest of the group, the ebullient scarlet speedster who could light up a room with his quips and his goofy grin. Although his youth had sometimes proved to be a barrier in becoming closer to the other group members, his optimism and friendly nature, his perseverance had won all of them over in the end and he was now securely part of the Justice League. As one of the original seven, he was sometimes now called to be a leader to others coming aboard their little enterprise and he had, surprising some, managed to step into that role rather well, guiding the newcomers with a gentle but firm hand and always with a smile, no matter how dire the situation or how extreme the screw-up.
His red hair was tousled and in his hands was a mug of cocoa heaping with marshmallows as he stared up at the tree, enjoying the sight and taking heart in the company. Tomorrow, he would visit the orphanage, as he often did, perhaps even spend some time with his friends from the days of the Titans. Dick and Donna had invited him to join in their holiday festivities and his new girlfriend, Linda, was out of town with her own family, so he figured that joining them might be fun. They could talk about the good old days, reminisce, and he had already bought a gift for their small daughter, Dana, who always enjoyed his antics. It would be good to get back to his roots.
John stood with his arms around Shayera's waist, gently rubbing the small bump that lay underneath her bulky green sweater. After he had ventured into the future with Batman and Diana, courtesy of Chronos, he had realized that what he wanted with Mari was the easy way out. And that simply wasn't his way. So, he had gently broken things off with her, taking a little time to let things cool before entreating Shayera to again begin their relationship. Even though she loved him, she had been hesitant, but had eventually seen the truth in his eyes. Now, she was pregnant and they were hoping for a little girl, although neither of them would actually admit that out loud. John wasn't sure that he wanted the future that he had seen that day, or if it was even possible, but he did know that he wanted Shayera, and he wanted whatever child he was blessed with.
Tomorrow, they would head to Detroit, taking a few days off to enjoy their time together before the baby arrived in a few months. And Shayera finally found that her home wasn't Thanagar, but here, with the Justice League and with John. She still had regrets, still sometimes wondered if things could have been different, but she knew that today was all that mattered and Christmas was the perfect time to remember that and to be with the ones who helped her to realize that her life was here now.
Diana had first come to Man's World a somewhat naïve princess, convinced that she could save the world, that she could make a difference in the lives of both men and women on Earth. She had progressed from a headstrong warrior who battled demons and villains alike into a woman of grace and poise, the ambassador of Themyscira, and a woman who still enjoyed getting her hands dirty and fighting those who favored oppression, treachery, and evil. In short, she still loved to kick a little ass and none of them were sure that would ever change about her. Or that they wanted it to.
On her right hand, she wore a simple platinum band with sapphires that matched her eyes dotting the circle, the inside inscribed with the words, "Love is patient." Her left hand was laced with that of Bruce's and they stood side-by-side amongst their friends, the beauty of her face glowing in the twinkling lights from the tree. The two-some had elected to spend their first Christmas together since their engagement alone in Wayne Manor, having decided to give Alfred some much needed time off and enjoy the company of one another in the solitude and peace that were so rare to both of them. Diana had finally worn Bruce down. After years of sparks between them hot enough to singe, in the end, she had emerged the phoenix, rising from the ashes of his failure to control his love for her, and now, their flame shown steady and bright, having mixed their lives, moving in together and even making the public aware of the romance between former playboy Bruce Wayne and the amazingly attractive ambassador from Themyscira.
Things had changed since that first day, since that first moment when they had agreed to act as the Justice League. Batman might not have agreed to take an active role, but they all had known at the time that that was just a front, a cover for him to use if he deemed it necessary. And, for the most part, he hadn't. He, too, had played a vital role in the creation and maintenance of the Justice League, proving monetary support and his brain, body, and skills whenever they truly needed him.
With time, the sharp edges that had once been Batman had dulled, softened a little around those closest to him. He was still incredibly hard-nosed, stubbornly cocky, and arrogantly self-assured, but somehow, no one had ever expected those things to change. It was more of a subtle relaxing, an ease with them that he'd never had before Diana had entered his life and showered him in her love and her own stubborn will. They made quite the pair, those two, with their hard heads and equally soft hearts.
Flash dashed out of the room, returning with more mugs of hot chocolate for everyone, each cup piled high with marshmallows and Shayera's having the addition of a stick of peppermint, one of the oddest cravings anyone had ever heard of a pregnant woman having. But she enjoyed it, sipping lightly at the frothy liquid, and smiling as the peppermint taste hit her tongue. For long months after the Thanagarian invasion, Shayera had wondered if she would ever be able to do this, to be in a room with these people, taking pleasure in the company of one another; no bitter accusations, no lack of trust, just ease and contentment. Part of that, she supposed, was due to John and his ultimate acceptance of her actions, of her. She had betrayed them all, but she had also betrayed her homeland. Both those actions had taken a long time for her to come to terms with, but she had eventually accepted that sometimes, making the right choices didn't mean making the easy ones. And they all had come to understand the position that she'd been placed in and she'd slowly regained their trust, gradually become a member of the inner circle of friends again. Looking back over her shoulder, red hair waterfalling down her back, she aimed a soft smile at John, one which he returned, tightening his arms around her waist and pulling her back into his body.
Sipping their cocoa, they all gazed at the tree, taking seats on the various plush couches, chatting about recent missions and enjoying the respite from their usual anxiety-filled jobs and lives. Smiles came fast and easy, and laughter quick and bright. Hot chocolate was sipped and enjoyed, until someone finally realized that Wally had added liquor to the mugs of all the men, earning him a glare from Bruce and a tipsy grin from Clark, already on his fourth cocoa of the day.
Finally, J'onn caught their attention with his quiet words. "My friends, thank you for including me in this day of celebration. You have all become my family. It is nice to spend a day such as this with family." He nodded at the room in general, remembering the first Christmas he had spent on Earth among the people, in the home of the Kents. They had made him feel so comfortable, so at peace and at ease, and, remembering that moment, he began to sing, an alien song that all of them decided was both beautiful and poignant, no matter that the words were indecipherable. The point was the gift of the song and that J'onn had chosen to share it.
Afterwards, Wally, with a bright smile, handed each of them a gift that he had made himself – a calendar showcasing pictures of each of them throughout various moments of their friendships and missions. Shayera laughed at the October picture of her chasing Wally around the Watchtower with her mace, while Bruce had to stifle a smile at the May photo of him glaring viciously at Wally's back as the speedster ran off, the caption reading, "The Batmobile lost its wheel, but Flash, he got away!"
Superman, true to his roots, handed every one in the room baked goods of some kind, made with Ma's recipes, he told them proudly. John and Shayera received a large tin of peppermint fudge which Shayera eyes avariciously as John laughed heartily, trying to protect the present from immediate consumption by placing it out of her reach.
J'onn got an apple pie that smelled of nutmeg and cinnamon, and Wally enthusiastically tore the ribbon off of a tin of chocolate chip cookies, without further ado gobbling down a fistful of cookies. With a sheepish grin laced with cookie crumbs, he looked at Clark and said, his mouth full, "Thanks."
Bruce and Diana were handed a delicious confection of sugar and fondant, a cake that looked spun of crystal and lace and interwoven in the design were little bat shapes and stars like those on the Wonder Woman costume. Laughing, Diana pulled out a card from the box that had housed the cake. The front was a festive winter scene and inside it read – "Wedding Cakes by Mrs. Kent available by request". Her laughter increasing, Diana looked up to see Clark blushing rosily at his mother's card. "Sorry," he said, grinning and shrugging his shoulders, "I can't say no to Ma." Bruce just looked up at his friend, surprising them all with a bark of laughter. "Looks like we found a cake maker," he added, wrapping his arm around Diana's shoulders and giving her a tiny squeeze before letting it lay there, warming her.
"Tell your mother thanks, Clark," Diana murmured. Then, with a teasing smile, she added, "I'm not sure about the bats though!" sending a wink at Bruce.
John and Shayera decided to go next, handing everyone one long rectangular present and one smaller square one wrapped in a beautiful paper of emerald green with gold bows perched on the top. Flash was the first one to open the bigger gift, immediately exclaiming, "Cool!" while the others looked on in surprise at what they were receiving. It was a sled, long and black with reigns and everything.
"To rediscover the fun of snow," John said with a loving look at Shayera, remembering the snowball fights their first Christmas together, how much they had enjoyed those happy times together. Glancing down at her belly, his heart simply melted at the thought of what lay beneath and he couldn't believe how much things had changed since that day, how much he and Shayera had overcome in order to come together now, in order to have this baby, this blessing. Pulling her wings back, he pulled his wife into his lap, nuzzling into her neck and smiling when she sighed and replaced a hand over his on her stomach.
Then the group moved on to the second gift, each of them pulling a beautiful watch out of the packaging, all in different shapes and colors that suited the recipient.
"So you're never late for Monitor Duty, Wally," John said with a laugh and the others shared in the moment. Wally's well-known propensity was to wait until the last second and dart into the Monitor Room while the others arrived a few minutes early to find out what was going on and to smoothly take over the shift.
After a few minutes and another round of liquor-less hot chocolate, Diana rose to grab their brightly wrapped gifts to the group from the kitchen, return a multitude of small gifts decorated in various colors and varieties of wrapping paper. She began by handing a small box to John and Shayera. Unwrapping the paper and tossing it to the floor, Shayera pulled out a small crystal ornament that read: Baby's First Christmas.
"For this year and for next," Diana told her with a soft smile, reaching over and rubbing Shayera's belly with the pads of her fingers. The Thanagarian smiled in return, eyes welling as she thought about what Christmas would be like next year with their addition to this little family. Diana handed out the rest of the other boxes and once unwrapped, the Leaguers found a variety of Christmas tree ornaments that depicted their lives as people and as superheroes. Clark had one of the Daily Planet logo, one of a snowy Smallville, and the Superman symbol. J'onn had an ornament that was designed to resemble Mars and one that read "Martian Manhunter". Flash received a gold lightning bolt to hang from the tree and a miniature DJ Rubber Ducky.
"Oh, you heard about that, did you?" he asked sheepishly.
John and Shayera opened a box to find an assortment of ornaments and one decoration, including a pair of dice (to represent how their feelings had come out in Las Vegas, Diana said), a tiny football that read: Detroit Lions, an ornamental power ring, and the decoration being an angel for the top of the tree. Diana had added one small addition to the angel though – in her little hands, the lady clutched a mace remarkably similar to Shayera's. At that, they all burst out laughing; even Bruce enjoyed seeing the expression on Shayera's face and Diana's enjoyment at giving the gifts.
And then she turned to him, handing him a small box. He looked at her in surprise, knowing that they had decided to exchange gifts tomorrow. "Just open it, Bruce" she said in exasperation.
He slowly removed the wrapping paper off the box, gently removing aside the tissue paper and removing a miniature Eiffel Tower ornament. For Paris, he thought, and pulled her back down to the couch with him, giving her a short kiss before whispering, "Later, we dance."
She smiled happily at him, placing her hand on his knee. He gingerly placed the ornament back in the box and set it down on the coffee table next to him.
"So," Wally asked, his mouth again filled with cookies, "When should we expect the little Wonder-Bats?"
With a groan, Clark closed his eyes. Shayera choked on her laughter, pressing a hand to her belly as John just stared at her stomach, hoping to avoid Bruce's wrath. J'onn placed his hand on his forehand, as if unsure whether to mentally strangle himself or Wally.
"Wonder-Bats?" Diana repeated questioningly.
"Yeah, you know," Wally said enthusiastically, "Wonder Woman plus Batman equals Wonder Bats!" Diana's eyes fell immediately to her stomach and Bruce glared at Wally, wrapping his arm tightly around Diana's shoulder and pulling her close to him, tucking her into the side of his body.
"On that note, maybe we should call it a day," Clark added. His brain noticing the instant reaction on the faces of both Bruce and Diana, he stood and the others quickly followed suit. All except Wally.
"What?" he asked in confusion as Clark grabbed him by the arm and dragged him to the door. "What'd I say?"
"Thank you for today, Bruce and Diana. We appreciate it," Clark stated as he filed out the front door of the Manor and the others echoed the sentiment, Wally's protests and questions still audible as the group left the engaged couple alone in the Manor.
"Diana?" Bruce murmured softly, placing his hand under her chin and lifting her face so that their eyes met, hers filled with a light that dazzled him in its brightness and intensity. "I'm sorry about Wally. He doesn't know when to quit. Are you okay?"
He and Diana had discussed the idea of having children, but Diana was unaware if she would be able to carry a baby, if the gods had bestowed her with the proper biological tools to allow her to reproduce. They had been trying in the months since their engagement, but to no avail, and Diana's heart had been wrenched every time they'd encountered another failure. He didn't know if Wally's jesting words had let her slip back into grief or if she had recovered from them and their unintentional callousness.
"Yes," she said softly, her thoughts filled with the idea of little "Wonder-Bats", as Wally had called them. Of little girls, like her niece, Dana, with shiny, bouncy black curls and eyes that would remind their mother of Themyscira. Of little boys, rough and tumble, staring at their father with hero worship in their eyes and a heart-breaking smile that would be devastating when they grew up, just like their father. Pressing a hand to her stomach, she let the tears well up in her eyes and the grin finally cross her face as she gave Bruce his Christmas present a little early, throwing herself into his arms and wildly exclaiming, "Yes!"
If you would like to see a little extra, like the original 7 and their loved ones (including the new additions) the next Christmas, let me know! It's already in my head...