DISCLAIMER:This story is based on fictional characters established by DC is a piece of fanfiction and I have only borrowed the characters of SM,WW and others to write a story or two for the enjoyment of other fans like DC don't sue me.
The story is speculative and dates and events may be out of explores Superman and Wonder Woman's future.I have loosely set it fifteen years from the time Superman wed Lois is was killed tragically ten years before and the help of his JLA friends kept the Man of Steel from withdrawing totally.
Kara glanced at her cousin instinctively as she saw his eyes lock onto the entrance of the hall. She turned to see what had caught his gaze. Entering the room was Wonder Woman and her boyfriend Robert DeCourtenay. For once she was looking her usual jaw-dropping,gorgeous self in a teal blue chiffon dress and not hiding behind her prim glasses wearing Diana Prince persona. Her Airforce Captain companion looked debonair in his military uniform. Both were greeted by the host of the party billionaire Bruce Wayne. It was a selective gathering of family and close friends to celebrate the birthday of Mrs Wayne.
"She must be what? Fifty by now? And she puts even the youngest of us in the shadows",Kara commented behind her cousin.
Clark Kent turned and half smiled. He did not hesitate,he said simply,"She's as magnificent as the day I met her."
"How long have you know each other?"
"It must be over twenty years. The rest of us look like the old middle aged men we are,"he remarked,glancing at the gray haired Bruce,receding Ollie and heavy set Carter.
Kara tutted."Don't exaggerate,Kal, You are holding your own. You may be a little gray about the temples,but you can only see those fine lines about your eyes and mouth in strong light. You look no more than forty and you are more powerful now than you ever were..."
They were both standing on the upper gallery of the large ballroom of the Wayne Mansion looking down upon the guests below. She leaned against the balustrade and cocked her head.
"Captain DeCourtenay is quite a hunk but he's got nothing on you."
Clark turned and looked at her sharply."What does that mean?"
She went on airily,"But I am your cousin and inclined to be biased..."
Clark straightened up and folded his arms in the classic, imposing pose he often used as his alter ego."Kara,what nonsense are you talking about?"
She did not flinch,now a grown-up woman in her thirties, nearly as tall as he,she could look him straight in the eye.
"I see how you look at her."
"You are imagining things. Diana and I are just good friends. We..."
She interjected,"Best friends I heard."
"And what is wrong with that? We are are close. We have been through more together than most people,save maybe Bruce,in this room..."
"I know,Kal. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is a unique,special bond that no one else has. The magnitude of it has always baffled me. I wish I had something like that. Boyfriends, even spouses are not the same,are they? I wonder,does he measure up?"
Clark replied,in a terse voice,"Robert DeCourtenay is a good man. Diana could never care for anyone not worthy. It has never been my intention to usurp that place."
"No,I believe you. You would never stand in the way of her happiness. Just as she never did with your own. But all that selflessness makes for a lonely life. It must be hard to be so good,so noble..."
"Kara,if you are implying Diana and I...that there is anything between us..."
"Kal,I am not implying. I know it."
Clark turned to walk towards a window;he looked out at the lights reflecting on the fountain below.
He said colourlessly,"She's in love with DeCourtenay and...I...Lois..."
"Lois has been dead now for a decade...and you have resisted all attempts to have any meaningful relationship... despite mine,Jimmy's even Lana's attempts at match-making."
She touched his arm."How would you really feel if she married him?"
"If that is what she wants I would be happy.."
"Is it what she wants?Are you going to let her get away again?"
She turned him to face her."Oh Power Girl told me about it. Before you started dating Lois. There were stories plastered all over about you and Diana."
"Publicity stunts to sell newspapers and magazines. To this day they still speculate over whether Superman and Wonder Woman are an item,"he said impatiently walking towards the stairs.
She followed him."So you deny feeling anything for her back then?"
"So I was attracted to her.I won't deny it but it was of a short duration. We both realized it would never work."
"Oh,and why not?"
He turned to glance at her."She was an Amazon princess. I was just a small town farmboy, turned reporter...Different worlds,different philosophies..."
"You happened to be the most powerful being on the planet",Kara shot back.
"She was like a goddess...royalty...she lived in marble halls...rubbed shoulders with diplomats," he said dryly.
"I do not believe Diana saw herself on the pedestal you put her upon,Kal-el."
He looked startled at that but persisted,"She was new to the world...and she did not seem to understand much about men and women.I was eager...perhaps too optimistic...even a bit impatient..."He paused and admitted ruefully,"I was a..coward."
He looked at his cousin and conceded wearily,"I was afraid that I was not good enough. I could not let myself care for her."
Kara slipped her hand through his arm."It seems to me you have a second chance to be as for not caring,it is a bit too late for that. I know you care. You always was obvious to us,even Lois."
He repeated gravely,"Lois?"
"Sure ,Kal,she knew you loved her but she was no fool. Lois knew one day she would pass away and you would have to live your life. She hoped you would not pine for her but would be able to love again. We all prayed that you would find someone worthy of your goodness. Hope that your head would recognize what your heart did...that that someone was right in front of you."
She nodded to Diana who was chatting to Barbara. Diana's eyes was also scanning the crowd. They could hear them.
Kara whispered,"She's looking for you."
Clark did not go down right away. He did not trust himself after that discussion. By the time he found Diana,she was at the buffet table,plate in hand,selecting from the canapes.
"Somebody's hungry,I see."
Diana turned,her beautiful face lit up.
"Clark! You are here!Bruce said you were back from Europe!How are you?"
She put down her plate and gave him her hands,while receiving his kiss on both cheeks.
"I'm fine,Diana. How are you?"
"Oh,well enough. We missed you. I expect you were having an exciting time in London,Paris,Madrid and Rome to bother with us over this way."
"Six months of living out of a suitcase makes one long for ones' own home,not withstanding all that wonderful old world charm."
"So did you get through with your book?"
"It's in editing. Should be out in a couple of months. My first work of fiction,after years of writing about world news, politics and history. Look at the pair of us, published novelists expounding together. I think the combined talent is too big for the Wayne ballroom."
Diana giggled."Yours will no doubt make more than my "Reflections" ever did. Fiction celebrating the human spirit always make better copy than philosophy. I demand the first signed copy."
"Done." He suggested to the terrace."Shall we talk where it is less noisy?"
They found a bench on the terrace and sat down.
She said,"I am so glad to see long are you here for?"
"I am thinking of staying. There is scope for freelancing at the Planet. As Editor ,Jimmy can pull a string here and there to preserve my anonymity. With my book contract and articles,I can eke out a living. And I spoke to Jonn about rejoining the League."
"That would be fantastic. Like old times. The new League is really great but I miss the old faces...J'onn and I are the only ones there from our time and the youngsters do have a tendency to treat us like aging parents."
Clark sighed."It is a fact,Diana,we may not look it but we are older. So,how is your teaching?"
"It is rewarding. So much different to anything I did."
"And you did a lot",he smiled,recalling her roles of princess, diplomat,government agent and administrator,aid worker and Justice Leaguer.
"Yes,though dealing with hormonal,rich,spoiled,teenage girls has to be one of the toughest jobs ever. They did not quite take to me at first,since I was not influenced nor intimidated by their status nor behaviour. Threats to have mom and dad fire me were frequent for the first few months but then it got better."
"Of course it would,it's you",he commented.
She smiled at that and continued,"They accepted me and I use the opportunity to spread the ideals of love,peace and equality in as much as I teach literature,history and languages."
"Does anyone know you are Wonder Woman?"
" The headmistress found out and a couple of students. It is a long story;suffice to say they got caught up in one of Circe's plots to destroy me,but they have kept my secret. I think they relish having a super-heroine in their midst and getting into trouble...or 'cool adventures' as one girl put it.
He said,"Sounds familiar. I remember dealing with Kara and Kon. Whether teenagers are human or meta,the angst remains the same. It is always a trying time searching for ones' identity and purpose. Experience taught me to guide rather than dictate. I was so over protective of Kara back then. It was because of your training she has gained discipline and confidence. I'm amazed when I look at her now. She is one of the League's best."
Diana agreed."She is. But you underestimate how much of an inspiration you have been to her...to us all...just by your choices in life."
She sighed."I wish I could be as good and patient as you. My temper still gets the better of me sometimes."
Clark smiled. He knew the legendary temper well.
She said,"I think I shocked Robert a few weeks ago."
"Oh oh. What did you do?"
She looked guilty."We argued. You see, his mother never really took to Miss Prince. She believes he ought to be with the mayor's daughter,not some plain school teacher. She hosted a party for Robert celebrating his promotion to Captaincy and invited the cream of Boston society,including the mayor and his daughter. It was awful. I felt plain, patronized but mostly ignored. Poor Robert tried to be attentive but he had to mingle and greet ,so of course I was like a wallflower. Can you imagine me,Clark? Me,having to sit and simper and hold my tongue?"
"That would be a sight to see",he grinned,causing her slap him on the chest.
She grimaced."To make matters worse,they placed me between two rich, boorish tycoons at the dinner table. One tried to grope at my thighs,the other made crude jokes. My temper was rising. I was on the verge of breaking both their fingers when Mrs Decourtenay and her cronies began to talk about Wonder Woman."
Diana said ruefully,"They were not complementary. They are very conservative and er,right wing and,well some of their adjectives were very insulting of my mother,our nation and myself..."
"Dare I ask what they said?"
"A half naked lasso twirling hussy descendant from a tribe of pagans."
"A violent,anti-feminine foreigner whose ideals for women were too irreverent,radical and inflammatory."
"They went on and on about my killing of Max Lord...I know you never understood it,Clark,but it was something in which I felt I had no choice. Needless to say,I've had to carry it like a yoke about my neck for years..."
She sighed."In the end I could no longer hold my tongue and I spoke up. I ended up calling Mrs DeCourtenay archaic, racist, elitist and narrow minded...and then I stormed off. Robert followed me and we got into a big argument. I left the party...but not before I got my revenge."
Clark looked at her with bated said sheepishly,"It sounds childish but it gave me so much satisfaction..and besides I was fuming."
"Diana,what did you do?"
"I went to the conservatory and lopped off the heads of Mrs Decourtenay's prize roses."
"Diana,you did not!",Clark cried in disbelief but half laughing at the mental picture.
She nodded plaintively,"Yes,I know and you needn't laugh. I feel bad as it is. I thought I had outgrown this temper but it comes back to haunt me."
"What happened then?"
"I calmed down and apologized the next day to Robert and his mother. Robert accepted,he feels some guilt because of his mother's attitude. He tried to act as mediator but she is a proud woman and was not ready to forgive me. She sent back the replacement plants I sent to her. Serves me right,I guess.I should know retaliation does not bring understanding and reconciliation. My mother would be so horrified if she knew..."
Clark said,"You've learn from it,that is what is most important."
"Have I?Who is to say when I'll do something foolish again?"
"Diana,you always had a bit of a temper. It's who you are. You are very passionate about things and I'd never expect you to not react or voice your opinions. I've been on the receiving end,as have Bruce and many of the League. I mean, years ago you'd have busted her table or tossed a few cars. The mere fact you have downgraded to roses says a lot."
She said wryly,"This is not exactly comforting me,Clark."
He chuckled."Despite it all,you're the most generous,caring person I know. No one is as compassionate as you are. It is your biggest strength,your ability to understand people and accept life's limitations. Me,now,I've resisted it most of my life,learning the hard way,that with power comes loss and sacrifice. That life does not end with loss but is strengthened by it."
He paused and looked into the distance as if remembering the past but there was no pain in his expression; just one of nostalgic sadness and acceptance. He said softly,"Writing that book was the ultimate catharsis for me. It was you who encouraged me."
She rested her hand on his arm."I'm glad you did it."
He covered her hand."Me too."
They sat in silence for a moment. Clark then lifted her hand and inspected it. He remarked lightly,"So,I expected to see a ring on that finger by now."
Diana said ruefully,"Hardly likely he'll ask with mother angry."
"He's a fool."
"We are too old to mince words,Diana. How long have you been together?"
"Going on three years. I expect though if Mrs DeCourtenay has not warmed to Miss Prince by now,she probably never will. Not a good start to any marriage."
"She may think differently if she knew who you really were."
"Yes,and that is even worse. You think I want someone to accept me for my status and appearance? "
"I know how it feels,Diana. It's one of the draw-backs of being who we are."
She sighed."Human relationships are so complex at times. I know Robert loves me..."
"When he asks, you'll say 'yes',of course," he asked ,looking directly at her.
Diana looked hesitant."I expect so."
Clark countered,"You expect?"
Diana stared at him. There was that old familiar feeling of fluttering in the pit of her stomach. Hera,don't let him hear her heart!
"Diana! There you are!"
The voice made the pair rise quickly to their feet:Clark dropping her hand like a hot potato in the process. They turned to see Captain DeCourtenay approaching.
"Kent! Welcome back! Mr Wayne said you were here. How are you?"
Clark shook hands cordially."I'm fine. How are you?"
"Not bad,not bad at all. You been regaling Diana with your European tour?Did you visit Copenhagen?I always loved it there. Great city. Great beer. Say,what is this I hear about you and that actress in London?"
Diana looked at Clark sharply. Clark said casually,"Never pay much heed to tabloid newspapers,Captain."
"Well,you know the media. It will be interested if one of its sons was seen escorting a beautiful award-winning star. Diana,sweetie,General Grant has just come in. I want you to meet him. He was my Dad's best friend and is my godfather."
DeCourtenenay took her arm to draw her away. She looked at Clark.
"We'll talk again?"
"Sure,Diana. You go on in."
The pair went in,leaving him to sit down once more and let out a deep breath. He murmured,"Don't go there,Kent ."