Why Would I Need a Bat?
In their relationship, Bruce receives a lot from Diana. But what does he give her in return? Bat-WW one-shot. Thanks for Hepburn for the lovely beta and support!
I cross the lively Manhattan sky gloomily, desperate to go to the shower and retreat to my darkest recess. It has been a tough day, and the result did not soothe my heart at all. I wish I had Bruce with me to talk with, but he has been occupied with Gotham these days, I dare not to call him.
Finally, I land on the balcony of Themyscira House. No one's here now; Donna is out, probably with Dick Grayson. All the staff have either gone home or, like Ferdinand, have taken the day off and withdrawn to his room. I hear my own boots thumping on the corridor; the sound seems like coming from a distance as I walk to my room and head straight to the shower. Fifteen minutes later, body fresh but mind preoccupied, I approach the alcove I often use to do reading or writing. I slouch on the chair and, hoping to get rid of the day's images, pick a paper and skim it. It's the final draft of the paper I have been writing for the American Journal of Psychology on the social constructs of street children in Gotham; their night life, their despair, their hope. Bruce has helped me a lot with the writing, and dare I say he has been very interested in the result of the survey conducted by the Wayne Foundation and the Wonder Woman Foundation.
My foundation. I sigh and close my eyes, losing the interest to examine the paper. I don't need to read the paper now. I need Bruce, and I need him right away.
Bruce Wayne. The Batman, the Dark Knight.
The most frequent question I receive from friends after learning that Bruce and I are an item was usually, "What do you see in him?". That particular question would usually be delivered in either disbelief or a disheartening joke. For why would a Wonder Woman date the Batman or Bruce Wayne? Some people that knew him as the Batman usually arrived at the understanding rather quickly than those who did not know that Bruce was the Batman. Of course, his air head appearance would still fool a significant number of the higher class of Gotham, though I would bet my tiara that Lucius Fox has learned of his other identity as the Dark Knight as of a few years ago.
Some friends, super heroines or vigilantes usually, would understand the circumstances. Friends like Zatanna or Dinah Lance would just nod and smile, and saying something like, "You'll do him good, Diana. You'll take care of him."
A sister like Donna has always been on my side, and of course she just smiled and hugged me and said, "I'm so happy that you two are finally together! It's about time, you know!"
Sisters like Cassandra and Kara went, "Um ... are you sure, Diana? April's Fool is pretty much over now…The Batman? Bruce Wayne?" Then, they looked at each other and shrugged. Not entirely encouraging, I assure you, but I have grown used to that. Just like when a male friend like Kal blurted out,
"Bruce! Bruce?" The mighty boy-scout then crossed his arms and pondered on the notion. "Our Bruce is really dating you? Diana… are you sure?" When I told him that I was 100 sure, he then went, "Okay. Hope for the best. But if he's giving you trouble, I'll knock him out to Pluto. With or without his kryptonite ring. Tell him that." I just smiled and made sure that I would tell Bruce that Clark Kent had taken the role of big-brother to protect me.
Other friends like Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, formerly known as one of Bruce's lovers, spoke up, "You know what? Bruce isn't the easiest man to live with. For a start, he snores! And –" she leaned to me, "Gotham comes first. Always."
"I know that," I smiled when she said that during a lunch down in Metropolis. "But –"
"But –" Lois Lane, who also joined us for the very rare occasion, raised her hands. "He's also not someone who will pat your shoulder whenever you have some problems and say, 'there-there-there, it's gonna be okay…' Am I right here?" Selina shrugged and nodded. Lois, having more ammo, resumed her tactical reasoning. "The thing that I'm afraid of, Diana honey, is not that you're not gonna be able to make him a better person. The thing is," the young Mrs. Kent adjusted her seat, "You'll be there for him. For sure. You'll soothe him, take away his nightmares, sing him a soft Themysciran lullaby until he sleeps – whatever. But is he… is he going to do the same for you?"
"The thing is –" Selina took off her Ray-ban glasses and looked me in the eye with her emerald eyes, "Diana, it's not that I'm jealous or what. I'm over him now, you know… though he's still one of the first people I'll ring every time I'm in trouble." I smiled as I had no problem with that. Selina smiled too and resumed, "The thing is, as Lois just said, what does he give you back? You give him support. Does he? You soothe his pain. Does he? You make him a better person. Does he?"
Lois stole the next sentence, "Because you're this perfect princess who has everything. What can – and this is from a friend's perspective – Bruce Wayne give you to make you a better person?"
Desperate, I set the paper aside and glance at my communicator. No incoming message, no voice mail, nothing. I weigh the option of calling Bruce, calling Alfred to leave a message for Bruce, or doing nothing. In the end, I chose the last one and halfheartedly went to bed. I turn off the lights and attempt to sleep. I have just closed my eyes for five minutes or so when I finally hear the voice.
"Thought you would have called tonight. Why didn't you?"
I smile and open my eyes right by the time he jumps silently off the window sill and walks towards me, his bat cape swirling behind him. The bed bounces slightly as he sits down, pushes his cowl away, and repeats the question. "Why didn't you call?"
I sit on the bed and put my pillow on the back to lean on it. "You're busy. I didn't want to disturb you."
"Killer Croc's been taken to Arkham two hours ago. You would have known that from the new League protocol Black Canary proposed and installed."
"I know." I look at him, so tempted to tell him what happened. But…I'm afraid I'll cry… So I look away.
"Diana?" He suddenly cups my chin and makes me face him again. "What happened at the Foundation? Is everything okay?" His deep blue eyes scrutinize mine. "Did someone get hurt?"
And thus, I blink, and I let the tears running down my cheek.
"She died. Tania died." I look at Bruce's concerned face and blurt out again, "Her husband beat her to death – and I was too late to save her…" Then, without warning, I plunge into his embrace. Bruce remains silent for a while, his hands caressing my hair and hugging my body. Then...
"I thought you went there to take her away?"
"She didn't want me to take her to the hospital. She loved her husband too much, she keep saying that it wasn't his fault that he became like that…She let me take care of her wounds and she talked to the girls from the Foundation. But she didn't want to leave the house. She –" I gulp.
"The League emergency." Bruce is talking about the recent earthquake, and subsequent tsunami, in Micronesia.
I nod. "I had to go there to help the villagers. When I returned to New York this afternoon, the Foundation contacted me, asking me to fetch Tania quickly as she was under attack again. But when I arrived at her house, she was already…"
"Dead," Bruce grimly resumes the sentence I could not bear to finish. He hugs me again in silence, rubbing his jaw and cheek over my hair. It took him a while before he finally whispered, "It's not your fault, Diana. You tried to warn her."
"But I should've tried harder!" I protest. "I could ask the girls to pick her up!. By Gaea, I could ask Leslie to get her to the Embassy, if she didn't want to be in a women's shelter! I could've done many things…"
"But you didn't –" Bruce interrupts me, "Because of the League emergency. Because many islanders needed you, too. And despite the warrior you are, you're still a human with your limitations." He wipes away my tears with his gauntleted fingers. "It's not your fault, Diana, you know that."
I was quite for a while. Bruce takes the opportunity to take off his costumes and, without taking a shower, change into pajamas he keeps in my closet. He then slips under my blanket and lay down next to me, his body sweaty from his patrol. I don't mind at all.
"I know it's not my fault," I look at him and finally agree. "I just... need you to tell me that."
He looks up to me, his eyes questioning. He whispers, "Does it really work?"
I sniff my watery nose and nod. "It does, Mr. Wayne… It surprisingly does…" Then I give him a weak smile and hug him. "Your magic still works…"
"So, you'll be better soon?" he murmurs. "When the morning comes, at least?"
"I suppose…" I whisper and close my eyes, beginning to feel sleepy. But a question suddenly pops into my head, making me open my eyes again. "How's your night, by the way? How's Killer Croc?"
"In jail again," he answers after a while in a different, grimmer tone. "As he should be."
Red alert pops inside my head. I shift my body to face him. A drop of moonlight enabled me to observe his face; tired and gloomy, as if devoid of energy. "What happened, Bruce?"
He keeps his eyes fixed on the ornate ceiling of my room before gravely replying, "He killed a kid before I got there. A new junkie, but still a kid. He killed the kid just because he was in his way." Bruce gulps and turns his body to face me. "I also failed to save a soul today."
I struggle to get rid of the lump in my throat before whispering, "Bruce…" I could not bear to say the standard 'it's not your fault', because I know he knows that. But I also know, as he knows, that it's not easy to come to terms to failure. "Bruce…it's –"
"Shush…please don't say anything, Diana," Bruce's eyes flash his hurt and concerns as he interrupts me again. "Just hug me. That's all that I need."
I do as he asks me to. It's usually like this, Bruce and I, changing roles in giving comfort and solace. Sometimes Batman criticizes Wonder Woman, sometimes he gives her solace. Wonder Woman often attacks Batman verbally, but she will always make sure that she is there for him in his hours of need. Sometimes I hug Bruce as he cries silently in his sleep, sometimes it is he who hugs me as I cry myself to sleep.
And that answers the questions my friends have been asking me. What good does Bruce give me? Why would I need a Bat?
But you know what? Bruce, the Batman, is this warrior who always put other people's safety above himself, despite his terrible ability of expressing his concerns verbally. Bruce is the knight who has taken, dare I say, hundreds of wounds and scars to protect anyone in need of protection, be it his family, friends, a stranger down the alley, or even his enemies.
Looking at such person in the eye and telling him not to worry, that everything will be just fine. That even though you cannot save the whole world, or even the whole of Gotham, doesn't mean that you're a failure... Just telling him that, and letting him hug me and rest next to me... Caressing his messy dark hair until he falls asleep and waking up in the morning finding him looking at me with gratitude... It fills my heart with warmth.
And to me, receiving similar things from him in return, though perhaps in different fashion, is a happiness more than words can say. For sometimes Bruce Wayne is still a man with difficulties in expressing his emotions, not that he's not trying…
That's what Bruce gives me, among many other things. A sense of completeness. A happiness of a woman who can be there for the one she loves. A comfort for a woman he loves, though the comfort is mostly just a hug and acknowledgment that it is indeed a hard situation… that there's nothing I can do about it…
"Will you be okay, Bruce?" I murmur before he drifts asleep.
"I suppose…" he whispers. He looks me in the eye and gives me a weak smile. "It usually is the case, that's why I came here…"
I smile back at him. "It goes for both of us, then. Have a good night, Bruce…"
I see that he wants to say 'I love you', but he's too tired and sleepy to do that: he falls asleep mid sentence. I smile again in contentment, hug him closer to me, and close my eyes as well.
We're going to be just fine, Bruce and I. We've had our rough times today, but in the morning everything will be just fine.
This is a short attempt to answer Sandicomm's question at the DC Message Board: 'what Bats can help Diana with'. It is an interesting question, because usually fans perceive that Batsy is the constant receiving end of Diana's compassion and love… and what does he do for her, then? It's a natural question, given the nature of their characters. I hope this one-shot will give some of the answers.