On the advice of the anonymous Franz and my anonymous West Ham friend (I guess I can forgive the double you did over Man Utd last season and the firing of Alan Pardew, as you have given us Tevez ;-) ) I have decided to add two chapters to this story.
This chapter comes chronologically before the one I posted first, so I swapped the chapter order.
I have some ideas for a third chapter, which would occur around the time of the birth of their batbaby. These three chapters are just going to be a bunch of one-shots strung together, like my story The Starry Nights. Oh, coincidentally, this takes place after the aforementioned story.
As always, kudos to Kipling-Nori. And BCBW and a batsignal too.
As always, please review. It makes me happy. Thanks!
Better Left Said
"Bruce, what are you thinking?" Diana was afforded the sight of his back, because he refused to look at her.
Or answer her.
"Don't you have anything to say?"
"Nothing that you would like to hear."
She should have expected his curt reply, but it still hurt to have her fears audibly confirmed. Having always wondered about it before, Diana finally decided that his terse, insensitive answers were worse than his silences.
She couldn't take it any longer.
"Don't worry about it."
Bruce mentally kicked himself as he turned around and watched her walk away. He should have said something more, been more encouraging, but he had too much on his mind. The idea that they were going to have a child terrified him.
Did he even want kids? How would this change his relationship with Diana? Would he be a good father? All these questions and more ran through his mind.
Unable to find any answers in their empty bedroom, he left for patrol.
Knowing Bruce had left for his nightly activities, Diana had asked to be teleported to the Watchtower. No one there knew she was pregnant, except J'onn, so she wouldn't have to deal with any well wishers. She didn't think she could bear the congratulations of her friends, knowing that the man who had played a large part in her pregnancy couldn't even give her one word of encouragement.
Making her way to her quarters, she palmed the door open more roughly than was needed, but not enough to cause any visible damage. Once through the doorway, she stopped to look at her room. She had moved in with Bruce over a year ago, so her room was bare and unwelcoming.
She sat on the bed and hugged a pillow to herself as she tried processing all the events of the day. She knew that he would struggle with the news, but she had expected a little support. He might not have known it, but she was just as scared as him.
Her body was going through so many changes, and she was just beginning to feel the effects of the different hormones flowing through her system. Pregnancy was something completely foreign to her. Living on an island populated entirely by females, she had never even witnessed one until she came to Man's World. Even she had been birthed out of clay.
She didn't know the first thing about babies, and now she had to handle the responsibility of protecting the life that was growing inside of her. Even as a child, she had played with swords and spears, not dolls. And her own relationship with Hippolyta was in shambles. How could she be a good mother if she couldn't even get along with her own?
But that wasn't even the worst of it. The father of her child didn't seem to want to have anything to do with either of them at the moment.
Overcome by anxiety and fear, she lied down on the bed.
Just as Diana was getting comfortable, her com-link went off.
"This is Diana."
"We have a situation in Vancouver, British Columbia. Will you be able to go?"
Needing a distraction, Diana decided to accept, but first she needed to confirm something.
"Is it OK for me to go, J'onn?"
"Only your presence is needed. There are others there who will deal with the threat."
"Alright, I'll be down in two minutes."
Diana rushed to the transporter, and stepped on the platform. "Ready."
When she rematerialized, she was in the middle of what looked like a warzone. There were people fighting all around her, and that wasn't even taking into account the droids that were destroying the area and attacking the bystanders.
Before she could send a message to J'onn to remove her from the scene, one of the machines snuck up behind her. It picked her up in its arms, and threw her against the nearest building with such velocity that her body left an imprint in the wall. Blood now coursing through her veins and roaring in her ears, Diana rushed headlong into the fray.
It hadn't taken long for her and the other Leaguers to dispatch of the menace. Diana happily informed J'onn the mission was accomplished and asked that they be returned to the Watchtower.
Once there, she was about to walk out of the room, when she doubled over from the intense pain she was feeling in her abdomen.
Flash was the first to rush up to her. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know; I need to get to the infirmary." She started hobbling in that direction, but Flash picked her up in his arms and sped off with all haste.
Less than a second later she arrived. J'onn politely asked Flash to leave after Wally had laid her on the examination table. With a worried look on his face, the Scarlet Speedster left the room.
Diana suddenly felt extremely scared, and when she looked down to see the blood that covered her thighs, she nearly screamed. In a panicky voice, she asked, "J'onn, what's happening?"
"I'm sorry, Diana, but it looks as if you lost the baby."
She started whispering to herself, "What have I done? What is Bruce going to say?"
If J'onn had said anything to her as she left the room, she was too dazed to notice. She somehow made it to her quarters, oblivious to the curious looks of all her coworkers.
As soon as the door closed, she sank on to the bed, but seeing the blood again, she rushed over to the shower to clean up. Donning her sleeping clothes, she returned to the bed, her insides still aching. She cried out to her gods and for Bruce, but no one came. Eventually, the guilt and grief overcame her, and she fell asleep.
Hours later, when Batman found her in her quarters, she was sleeping in her bed, though whimpering as if in great pain. For once in their relationship, he was the one to wake her up from a bad dream.
Whatever reality she had found in sleep, it had left her too distraught to speak. He sat down on the bed beside her, but she turned away from him.
When he saw that she was not going to start the conversation, he softly asked her, "Is this about earlier?"
Diana spoke so quietly, Bruce had difficulty making out her answer. "It doesn't matter anymore. I lost the baby."
It had never occurred to him that this would be the source of her sorrow, and her miscarriage floored him. Though he hadn't been excited about the thought of being a father, he hated the idea of losing the child even more. In that moment he realized that it was only fear that made the idea an unwelcome one. Now that the baby was gone, he realized he would have given anything to have the child back.
Grief-stricken, Bruce was hardly able to speak.
"I was called in for a mission, and I got hit. When I came back, my stomach started hurting, and then…There was so much blood. Everywhere."
But she wasn't finished.
"It's my fault. I killed our baby. I should have known better; I shouldn't have gone out there, but I was so upset about earlier that I…"
No longer able to continue, she buried her face in the pillow. He knew he wouldn't get anything else out of her, so he sat there with her, mourning in silence.
After some time had passed, he began to notice slight discrepancies in her retelling of the events. He had been too upset at first to consider it, but why would J'onn allow her to go on the mission in the first place? And why would she be in her bed instead of in the infirmary? And if the mission was so vital that J'onn would let Diana go in her current state, why hadn't he been summoned?
Still, he refused to hope until he had received some concrete answers. He decided to see J'onn, but first…
"Diana, I need to go."
She didn't say anything, but he was sure she had started crying.
Feeling sick inside, Batman walked out of the room to find J'onn.
J'onn took in the haggard appearance of his friend as he delivered the good news. "There was no mission. The hormones and stress of the pregnancy are disrupting her sleep. The intensity of the nightmare must have been so great that she is unable to realize it was just a dream."
Bruce had experienced something like that before. It was always the same dream. He'd wake up thinking his parents were still alive; even though it occurred too many times to count, it still hurt just as much every time the truth set in. At least this time, the reality was much better.
Though Bruce was elated that he had been right, he began to uncharacteristically twist his hands together. His problems weren't over. "What can I do?"
Knowing that his question was referring to more than the current situation, J'onn placed a firm hand on Bruce's shoulder. "When my wife discovered she was with child, she needed to know that I would always be with her, helping her through her experience."
"But I would never leave Diana, and she knows it."
"Have you ever told her that?"
"No; it's just understood."
"Sometimes words speak louder than actions."
Seeing that Bruce needed time alone to think, J'onn left him.
As Bruce sat there, contemplating J'onn's words, he was bombarded with memory after memory of Diana speaking words of kindness to him. He was surprised by the great number of incidents he was able to recall. So many times he had doubted himself or had misread her actions, but Diana had always been open with him, speaking freely of her love and respect, giving him every assurance, clarification, and confirmation he needed. He had taken it for granted as part of her loving and kind nature, but now he realized just how difficult it must have been for her. He wasn't exactly the easiest person to open up to.
And this one time, when she needed him to be there for her, he had let her walk away; had left her waiting for hours before finally going to see her.
He stood up from his seat. It was time to tell her just how much she—and their child—meant to him.
He found her just as he had left her.
Bruce crawled into the bed beside her, drawing her against himself. She struggled slightly, but he refused to let her go. "Everything is going to be alright, Diana."
Her body stiffened against his. "How can you say that?"
"It was only a dream."
This time she paused before answering. "No. It was too real. I felt it; I saw the blood."
"I reacted wrongly today, but I am right about this. I spoke with J'onn. There was no mission today. He never would have sent you out, and I would have been called. It doesn't make sense."
She turned around in his arms, and through her tears, he could see the doubt that still remained.
"I think it's time we returned home." He picked her up and carried her to the transporter, for once not caring if anyone saw them; as it was very late at night, no one did.
Once in the Batcave, he set her down on one of the steel tables Alfred used when he treated one of Batman's many injuries. Then Bruce disappeared into an adjoining room to gather the necessary equipment.
When he returned, Diana noticed that he was no longer wearing his mask and gauntlets, and that he was pushing a cart laden down with various items. "What are you doing?"
"I'm giving you an ultrasound. Here, drink this." Bruce handed her two glasses of water, and spread a blanket on the cold surface. When she had downed the liquid, he pushed her gently back on the table. "Lie down."
She silently followed his instructions, even though he could see the question in her eyes. Her trust in spite of his reticence reminded him again just how much he didn't deserve her.
He leaned in to give her a light kiss before moving her top up slowly, exposing her stomach to the dank air. When he applied the gel, she shivered and her arms and legs became covered with goosebumps. He adjusted the monitor so she could see it, then slowly moved the transducer over her torso.
"How long have you been pregnant?"
"Almost three months."
His eyes widened in surprise. "That far?"
"I've barely gained any weight, and I never felt sick, so it never occurred to me that I was pregnant. I only went in for a routine physical. J'onn was surprised, too."
"At this age, the fetus will only be about two and a half inches long, so there might be some difficulty in loca-There." He pointed to the the 3-D image of their child on the screen. The baby looked fully formed, but on a miniature scale. Diana breathed a sigh of relief. Out of the corner of his eye, Bruce saw that she had moved her hand to reach for his, but something had made her stop.
Even though the picture was worth a thousand words, Bruce sensed that she needed more. Taking one last look at his child, he moved closer to Diana. She sat up and turned so that her legs were dangling over the table, and he stood so that her knees were touching his thighs. He made sure that they had made eye contact before he spoke.
"Diana, I'm sorry about earlier. When you told me, it didn't occur to me that you would need me."
"You can't just shut down when you don't want to deal with a situation."
Remembering what J'onn said earlier, Bruce blurted out, "I won't leave you."
She took his face between her hands. "I know, but sometimes I feel so lonely, even when you're right there with me. You've gotten better at it, but you still shut me out, and even now, when you tell me you're going to stay, it still upsets me. I want to know that you aren't staying here merely out of duty to me. I need to know that you want to be here with me…and the baby."
His eyes bored into hers as he said the very thing she was waiting so hopefully for: "I love you, and when I thought that we had lost…I knew that I loved our child too." Though the voice in which he said it was rough, his eyes had never looked so gentle; she almost had to look away. Instead, she pulled his face closer and lightly kissed his mouth. He rested his forehead against hers, and she closed her eyes, inhaling then exhaling deeply.
Bruce moved in to kiss her again, but was stopped by Diana. "Why do you have an ultrasound machine?"
"Ultrasound imaging can be used to see muscles, tendons, organs, and any damage done to them. I don't use it very often, but it occasionally comes in handy."
"There better not be any other women you use this on."
"Just you." He smiled at her warmly, and quietly studied her face before speaking again. "Let's get you cleaned up."
She lied back down on the table before he removed the gel with a warm, wet cloth. When he had finished, he leaned over and reverently kissed her still flat stomach.
Not wanting to ruin the moment, Diana tried to stifle her yawn, but he heard it anyway.
"It's past your bedtime."
Gathering his family in his arms, he carried them out of the cave and back into the manor.
I tried researching about fetal development and what not in the interests of being as accurate as possible. However, if there are any ob/gyn people out there, I hope there isn't anything glaringly bad. And as for Batman giving her an ultrasound...If Tom Cruise can do it, surely Bruce can too--with both hands tied behind his back, upside down, and blindfolded, no less. But that would have freaked out Diana, so he decided to do it the standard way.