All characters belong to DC comics. Story is based loosely on the JLU animation and the continuation of the Monitor

Duty series. Superman has left the League(see TIMEOUT)and Wonder Woman is setting up her Embassy.

THE PRINCESS AND THE REPORTER

Chapter 1

Princess Diana of Themyscira stood at her bedroom window in the Embassy and looked down upon the flurry of activity in the courtyard. There were uniformed valets anticipating the many cars that was due to drive up the graveled pathway;and men in plain black clothes with earpieces on security detail.

Tonight was to be a crucial night for her,as representative of the Amazon nation;she was taking her formal place in the Patriarch's world as ambassador for her people. It had been over a twenty months since her arrival in America;she was mainly known as Wonder Woman due to her work with the Justice League. Now was her chance to bridge the gap between worlds and to spread the amazon ideals of peace,equality ,love,justice and order.

She had been able, due to some of her JLA colleagues' connections,to procure a building in Washington and hire a staff without too much redtape and fuss from the federal government. Tonight was to mark her official wading into the arena of diplomacy and liaison. A gala dinner was being held;the guest list included local and foreign dignitaries,some of the business community,some of her own friends and the press.

"Your Highness?''

Diana turned. Her personal assistant,a slim woman in her forties called Angela Scott stood at the door. She asked,"Are you ready to go down?"

Diana picked up a red cape and clasped it over a long white silken Grecian styled gown. Her raven hair was swept up in a pile with her trademark tiara. She wore as her only ornament a pair of chandelier earrings.

"Do I look presentable,Angie?"

"You look regal and very beautiful,ma'am. You are perfect."

Diana sighed. Yes. Beautiful. Regal. She wished she was sometimes not so "perfect".She found it very challenging when most people seemed to be in awe of her. It made what she was trying to do hard work.

Diana said wryly,"That will have to do. Let me go and greet my guests."


Three quarters of an hour later, she had greeted the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Themyscira, his spouse and daughter,the mayor,chief of police and district attorney,a few local charitable organization heads,members of the diplomatic core and several business people. She beamed in relief to see her JLA colleagues arrive.

Attired in black dinner jackets were Wally West,aka the Flash,and a John Jones,who was in fact the Martian Manhunter. Wally whistled as he entered the large foyer. Diana had chosen a building in the Greco-Roman style ,with columns,friezes and marbled flooring.

"Quite a place you have here,Diana. Is that real?",Wally asked, inspecting a gorgeous sculpture of Aphrodite.

"It is very real. Jonn,good to see you. I did not think you would make it!,"she said, smiling at the Manhunter in one of his human disguises.

J'onn stated colourlessly,"Wally forced me to come."

Wally intervened,"Don't mind him. I told him he needed to get out and mingle. There are loads of people here and good food and no doubt scintillating conversation. You'd be sitting in the Satellite doing nothing otherwise,J'onn..."

J'onn said,"I could have done monitor duty or organized the next roster..."

"That is soooo lame..Just because you're the new chief doesn't mean you have to be a slave to duty. And really,no one wants to do monitor duty if they can help it!Hey,where is Bruce?I thought he was right behind us?"

Diana looked surprised."Bruce came?"

"You invited him,didn't you?"

She said dryly,"Yes,but I thought he'd be busy as usual."

"Nah. We came in his limo. We left him chatting to a reporter outside..."

"Well,you two can go in. Dinner does not start until eight. Drinks are being served in the salon."

"Come on,J'onn,let's go get us some champagne and check out the chicks..."

She warned,"Don't go chatting up my staff,Wally."

He returned,"No sweat. There must be an heiress or two around here..."

Diana sighed and turned to shake hands with the editor of a top fashion magazine. She was complimented on her gown and asked the name of the designer when a feminine voice interrupted, "Really,Kelly,give the gal a break. I am betting she doesn't know nor care who Versace or Dolce and Gabbana are."

Diana turned to see a slim brunette in a black cocktail dress behind her. Standing along side,in a tuxedo,was Bruce Wayne. The woman put out her hand.

"Lois Lane. I'm with the Daily Planet."

Diana blinked. She recognized the name at once. It was Superman's...well,she was not sure what Lois was to him. Since Clark had resigned from the League two months ago, Diana had seen him only once at a conference on world hunger and poverty and he had been working,covering the event. They had grabbed a few minutes together but it was rushed and Wonder Woman, as one of the presenters, had to get back to her table. By the time the event was over,she went looking for him only to be told he had to rush back to the Planet. She had also invited him to a luncheon last month for one of the charities that she patronized but he did not come,sending a rather formal e-mail to convey his apologies. He had been swamped by deadlines. Now she was not even confident he would attend tonight's opening;she wanted to believe her friend was not drifting from her;that it was only his job and superhero status that kept him away.

Now as she looked at Lois Lane,her heart seemed to feel a pang of misgiving. This woman stood inches beneath her but she had a forcefulness of presence. It was in the way she stood, bold,worldly,almost fearless. She was not precisely beautiful but she was very attractive. She made Diana feel,despite all her god-given gifts,as if lacking credibility. Lois regarded her with an almost cynical air as she looked at her and the opulence surrounding them.

Diana shook her hand politely."Miss Lane." She looked at Bruce."Mr Wayne,it is good of you to come."

He bowed his head."It's my pleasure,Madam Ambassador. Wayne Enterprises has an interest in forging ties with any organization or state that seeks to better the world. We have a development fund that has been fundamental in helping alleviate hunger,disease and poverty."

Lois said facetiously,"Mr Wayne's cheque book is a big one,your Highness. Most people here will be after it. I urge you to bend his ear early before he commits elsewhere. But you do have a penchant for all things that are lovely and beyond the ken of other men,isn't that so,Bruce?"

Wayne murmured,"Play nice,Lois."

Diana looked from Lois' mocking face to Bruce's amused one."Are you two together?"

Lois looked amused."Don't you know,your Highness,that Bruce Wayne is an inveterate bachelor?Many have tried but he's a slippery customer!He promises to call but never does. Right Bruce?I've known him for some years now. I've interviewed him enough!We just got talking outside...It 's nice to see a familiar face,especially now Clark is late again!"

Diana repeated innocently,"Clark?"

"Clark Kent. A fellow reporter. We were both covering this story tonight,but Mr Reliability has gone a.w.o.l again!" Lois looked at her watch impatiently.

The Princess suggested,"Maybe Mr Kent had an emergency..."

Lois returned scathingly,"Yeah right!He's probably broken his glasses or fainted...again!"

Diana's P.A. came up and announced."Princess,I believe most of the guests are here now...and the Mayor is asking for you..."

Diana excused herself with a courteous nod."Very well. You two must pardon me."

Lois watched her walk away."She's too good to be true."

"What do you mean?"

"Come on,Bruce!Breathtakingly beautiful...very intelligent. From what I gather she speaks several languages fluently. She's well versed in philosophy,literature,history,art...Her claim to fame is not only as Wonder Woman but to spread peace and love around the world. She's a regular Miss Universe,only from Olympus. The bathing suit does not harm her cause either. I'm surprised she's not wearing it..."she mused ironically.

"Reporters are supposed to be objective,Lois."

"As well as discerning. I never trust appearances;they can be deceiving. No one can be so perfect. She must have a flaw...a dark side..."

"And you are here to sniff it out?"

"Why else would I come?You see one party of rich snobs,you've seen them all...no disrespect intended."

"None taken."

"Perry wants us to get a feel of the mood of the politicians..Now if Clark were here I'd get him to do the trawling of the big,boring fish,whilst I keep my eye on her. But since he isn't here,I guess I'm going to have to do some networking and sucking up. See you later,Bruce."


Bruce was pounced upon by a fellow business man as he walked into the salon. He was steered towards the mayor and spent the next quarter of an hour talking shop and sipping champagne. Dinner was announced and as he was ushered into the large dinning room across the hall,someone called his name.

"Bruce!Oh man,are we glad to see you!No offense but this place sucks for chicks. Over eighty percent of the ladies must be over fifty...and those that aren't are actually married,under-aged or embassy staff. I promised Diana that I wouldn't flirt with her staff..,"complained Wally.

"Wally,Diana didn't invite us here to pick up women...and a gala like this is usually full of middle-aged or married matrons."

"Thanks for telling me now!"

Bruce looked at the sedate countenance of the Manhunter."J'onn does not seem to mind,do you?"

J'onn said,"I find some of the dialogue interesting."

Wally frowned."Yeah,he would. We've just finished talking to some scientist who was talking about the Ptolemaic system as compared to the...the um...Corp...corper-something system..."

"The Coperican,"corrected Wayne at once.

"Yeah,well,whatever. Where is Clark?"

"I don't know. His colleague,Miss Lane,seems to think he'll be a no-show. I have not heard anything on my com-link to indicate any emergency in Metropolis."

Wally sighed heavily,"What I wouldn't give for a good fight with any megalomaniac now."

They took their places at a table together. There were several round tables filling the space,an average of six per table. Diana sat at a main one with the local dignitaries. She made a speech before the food came out. It consisted of her hopes and plans as ambassador and formal thank-yous to the various people who helped setting up the embassy.

Dinner was served and Wally was at least impressed by this aspect of the night. After dinner, the doors to the terrace was opened and this allowed guests to stroll outside in the garden,whilst having coffee or cocktails and listening to the string quartet.


Clark Kent arrived two hours late. He had been home to Kansas as his father had suddenly taken ill. It turned out to be a simple case of heartburn and not an infarction as Ma had feared. Pa already had a scare several years ago and was on medication for high blood pressure. Clark had stayed until the doctor had seen,and diagnosed the case,Ma was not fretting any longer and Pa was resting comfortably in his bed.

He stared about the half empty dining room,when a voice said sarcastically,"How nice of you to turn up,Clark."

It was Lois. She crossed her arms."So where have you been?"

"I had an emergency,Lois. It...couldn't be helped."

"You're always having some emergency. Because of you I've had to trail this sea of arrogance and mundane by myself...taking quotes from dull diplomats...I've not even had a chance to corner the Amazon. I'd swear she was avoiding me."

"Maybe I ought to talk to her,"he volunteered.

"Oh yeah,typical man,you want to interview Wonder Woman!"

He shrugged."You did say she was avoiding you."

Lois could not argue with that. The princess was being evasive each time she tried to get near. Maybe she sensed the reporter's underlying mistrust. Lois said flippantly,"Well,guess what,she's actually wearing something that covers her chest and knees."

Clark shoved his hands in his pockets and moved off."I'll try to contain my disappointment."

Lois followed him."Oh no you don't!I'm not letting you get the heads up on this one!Miss Olympus will probably be glad to spite me to give you the exclusive!And besides,Perry wouldn't want you with your rose-tinted-spectacled take...he'd want the dirt,the real nitty gritty..."

They walked towards the terrace,he could see Diana in earnest conversation with Bruce Wayne. Above Lois' prattle he could hear some of their conversation.


A few minutes before Clark arrived,Bruce decided to go look for the Princess. He procured two drinks and went out onto the terrace. She was standing taking a breather near the wall of rambling roses. She leaned on the balustrade and stared up at the moonlit sky. Her keen eyes scoured the horizon as if looking for something.

"Champagne?"

She turned and said slowly,"That is kind of you..but I do not drink alcohol..."

"You don't?"

"No."

"Sorry,I didn't know."

"You wouldn't, would you?You never had the chance ..."

"My mistake it seems."

"What?Bringing me champagne or not getting to know me?"

He put the drinks down on the top of the balustrade. He began wearily,"Diana,look,I came tonight..."

She looked grave."Yes?"

"You asked me to."

"I also asked Wally,J'onn and Clark. Bruce,you do not have to do this."

"Do what?"

"Go against your will. I am frankly tired of playing games. I did not come to this world to change who or what I am. Maybe men and women here like to do that kind of thing. I find it very confusing and irritating..."

He looked offended."I never play games. And I'm sorry if you feel that way."

She sighed,"Poor Bruce,it must be so hard preserving that wall you have built up around yourself."

"What we do isn't normal. How can we ever live a normal life?Sometimes the wall is all you have to protect yourself. You will find that out sooner or later,Diana."

She said quietly,"Maybe you are right. But if naivety is my sin,yours is mistrust. You would sacrifice a chance at happiness to preserve your ego."

"That's harsh. And just because I declined going out with you?"

Diana looked at him derisively."You really don't know me if you think I am so full of my own consequence that I relate anything to myself. I mean about her."

He stiffened."Who?"

"Don't pretend you don't know who I mean. I feel a bit sorry for her if you cannot even acknowledge you feel something for her..."

"I don't feel anything. We don't have any kind of relationship...,"he said hastily.

Diana grimaced."Bruce,I may never understand your reasoning,but I'll respect it."

"You are not angry?"

"I was impatient,not angry. This is still very new to me. The subtleties of male and female interaction is not so easy to learn for one who grew up with no men around them. I am learning though."She touched his arm."I value what we have."

Bruce smiled a charming smile and took her hand and kissed it gallantly."As do I."

She cocked her head at him."You are strange. Is this you or the facade?"

He said soberly,"Sometimes even I wonder myself. Poor little rich boy,eh?''

"Sometimes sharing a problem with a friend helps..."

Meanwhile Lois and Clark were drawing closer. Lois' eyes lit up as she saw the pair and twisted her lips into a knowing smile."There's a scoop for you!The public will lap it up...The Princess and The Billionaire...It'd make a lovely little Danielle Steel-like story, don't you think,Clark?Personally, I never got all those tabloid nonsense of Superman and Wonder Woman. It's so passe! Besides, she's probably realized Wayne has more to give... a better prospect than an alien...''

Clark said,"Princess Diana could hardly be classified as a gold digger .She's here to seek to alleviate the social ills of the world..."

"Yeah,you believe that,Smallville. You think she has time for farmboys like you?Blue-bloods always stick to their own kind!"

Lois deliberately took the lead and walked boldly up to them. "Well,isn't this cosy."

Diana turned abruptly to see Lois Lane and behind her, in the door way,Clark Kent. She pulled her hand away from Bruce. Lois pounced on them at once,dictaphone in hand. "Tell me,is there something the public should know?"

The flashing look of ire in Diana's blue eyes and her stubborn silence made Lois roll her eyes and turn to Bruce."Well,Bruce,don't be coy. Dating a princess won't hurt the Wayne stock..."

"Oh come on,Lois. You are fishing..."began Bruce wearily. Clark,meanwhile, was looking at Diana gravely and then he turned and walked back inside.

Diana said,"Just excuse me."She left Bruce to the mercy of Lois and hurried after Clark. He had already reached the dining room.

"Kal!"

Clark stopped and turned to face her. She was smiling and her entire being seemed to have lit up on seeing him.

"You made it!I almost gave up on you. But where are you off to?"

His voice was very bland."Sorry. I interrupted something."

"You did not interrupt anything."

"You mean you and Bruce weren't discussing anything important?"

"Yes...no...maybe,but it remains the interruption was not unwelcome."

"Oh,I see,I interrupted at a convenient time."

"Yes,yes...you did. I t was a relief to look up and see you. Bruce was being his usual evasive self and I was trying to get him to see that it didn't have to be like that..."

"Sometimes it's the only way."

She said softly,"He has had a hard life,losing his parents. You and I are fortunate we still have ours."

He gazed upon her earnest expression. He was silent for a minute,then said abruptly,"Diana,go back to Bruce and finish your tete-a-tete."

"We weren't having a tete-a-tete."

"No?I must be missing something then."

She looked perplexed."It's not like that. Why would you even think...?"

"Well,you both didn't look like you were discussing the weather..."

"I was making it clear how I feel...''

"Now there's an interesting thing. You actually know how you feel. And does he?"

She felt her temper rise. Her blue eyes flashed and she raised her voice,drawing attention to them."I do know!How can you even question me?It is beyond measure!"

The catering staff and miling guests looked at them. Nearby security sauntered over. The burly man asked,"This news-hound bugging you,Madam Ambassador?"

Clark felt a rush of blood to his cheeks. He said woodenly,"Pardon me,your Highness,it wasn't my intention to offend you."He nodded stiffly and turned to go.

Diana looked at the man."No!No,he isn't. You may return to your post".She grasped Clark's sleeve and hissed,"Hera,grant me patience. Kal,this is stupid!"

A rival newspaper reporter walked by and stared at them curiously. Clark corrected coolly, "Mr Kent. Remember, Highness,you wouldn't normally be so familiar with a news hound.''

Diana stood rigidly,letting her hand fall."No,nor would I be foolish to run after one."

His voice was dry."You've hit the nail on the head."

She snapped,"I wonder why you even bother to turn up at all!"

"I was sent by my editor to interview you. This is my bread and butter. I'm not fortunate to be born royal nor inherit a billion dollar empire."

"Interview me?You know, I do not have to answer anything for the Planet if I choose not to!",she ground out.

"Lois did mention you were avoiding her. But you would not be so ungracious would you,your Highness?"

"Stop calling me that!"

"It's what you are. You forget that your world is a far,far different one than mine. I mean,look at all this!"He waved a hand at the residence."It's way out of my league."

"I never gave you cause to make you feel different. We are friends. Friends don't judge each other. Since you left the League...you've changed."

"I haven't changed,Diana. This is who I am. This is the life I lead..."

"You're Superman..."

"What does the world know of Superman?He can battle super-villains,and save the day...He may even be respected by the world and given the attention of a celebrity. That isn't who Clark Kent is. I'm a farmboy at heart. I never had servants to wait on me hand and foot...I never lived in marbled halls...I have to work for my living,do my own cooking,laundry...You've never had to think about any of that...It was just there,done for you. It's in your upbringing. I'm an ordinary man who just has the ability to do extraordinary things due to an accident of fate...And truth to be told,I like it. You maybe able to live under a microscope. ...Paparazzi are outside your gates...but I like being Clark and able to walk down a street and go into a cafe and have a cup of coffee without being harangued. I like going to my parents house and helping them with the harvest...and knowing they will not be attacked by any crazed maniac who has a grudge against Superman..."He paused for breath,as he saw the deflated look on Diana's face. A pang of guilt tugged at his heart but he remained resolute."I'm not saying this to be unkind...it's just how things are. You are a Princess and I'm a reporter. Worlds apart."

Diana looked at him hurt and mortified. It was almost like Bruce rejecting her all over again. But what was worse was she did not feel like smashing anything to pieces. She felt as if bruised inside. There was a lump in her throat. She lifted her chin proudly and said,"Well,we know where we stand, don't we?"


Wally and J'onn,being saturated with the progress of the night,decided to go find Bruce to get a lift home. They stumbled upon the princess glaring at the reporter.

Wally exclaimed,"There you are,Clark!Long time no see,bud!How's the reporter business going?I don't have to ask about Superman. Metropolis is raving over its recent lowering in the crime rate..."He slapped Clark on his back and then looked at Diana's flushed face and demanded,"What's up with you two?"

Clark denied swiftly,"Nothing."

J'onn interrupted,"That's not the truth. You were arguing."

Diana declared,"I have better things to do tonight than to argue with Mr Kent!"

Wally's brow rose."Mr Kent?Whoa,guys,time out!What's the deal here?Bear in mind we are beginning to get some queer looks..."

He hustled them away from the guests into a quiet part of the corridor."Now what's up?"

Diana folded her arms and scowled."He is being obtuse,judgmental and childish!"

Clark said coolly,"I won't be so ungentlemanly as to call Her Highness names...though overbearing and opinionated does come to mind."

Wally coughed."Well,I'm so glad you can be honest with each other but we are friends here … Clark,whatever you said to annoy Diana,I want you to apologize..."

"Apologize for what?"

She interjected,"I have no time for this. Mr Kent,you came to get a story?Here's a statement...I think reporters are like leeches, sucking the carrion of humanity,gaining notoriety out of the misery and misfortune of others!And tonight the Daily Planet and its two star reporters can go to Hades!"

She turned her heels and went back inside. Flash looked at Clark's dour expression and grimaced."Ouch!"

J'onn began,"She's not happy..."

"Yeah,J'onn we kinda deduced that ",interrupted Wally.

"She is using a lot of Greek words. Some I cannot repeat."

"Get out of her head,J'onn,"advised Clark.

"Clark,why did you have to rile her up so?",asked Wally.

Clark frowned."Rile her up?I did nothing of the sort. She has this thing she can't sort out with Bruce and I'm just keeping out of their way."

"Your attitude is creating more confusion in her mind",J'onn interrupted."You two clearly want..."

Wally elbowed him."Um,yeah,thanks,Jonn. That'll do. Clark,you and Diana are usually good friends. You wouldn't like to lose that, would you?"

Clark said, in a flat tone,"Bruce is my friend too."

Wally challenged,"What's Bruce got to do with anything?"

Clark looked distracted."I should go. She told me as much. I'll see you two around."

He turned to go when there were loud explosion in of the front of the residence. The crowd screamed and ran for cover. It sounded as if bombs had gone off. The trio fell to the floor as another shook the foundations of the Embassy. Wally cried,"What is it?"

J'onn disappeared from between them."I'll find out."

Clark shouted,"Wally get these people out if you can..."

Wally raised his ring and said,"Got ya."

In seconds the scarlet strobes of the Flash could be seen weaving in and out of the Embassy as he rescued terrified people from the ground floor. Clark used his super vision to locate Diana. She was seen heading towards the rubbled remains of the foyer of the Embassy;numerous bodyguards coming to see what had happened

J'onn said,"Several injured...I'm going to get them to the hospital..."

Bruce appeared and following him was Lois."What happened?"

Clark replied,"Bombs..."

They came into the foyer only to find a line of guards."Keep back!The situation is critical...There could be more explosions...Go into the garden...there's evacuations of all guests and staff...Get moving!.At once!"

Clark could already hear the sound of sirens in the distance. Ambulance,fire crews and bomb squads would be there in minutes. Lois craned her neck to see what was going on. From what Clark could gather,a couple of cars had exploded and one had been driven into the doors of the compound. The car was already in flames under the pillars. Everyone could see a body burning. The sight made them gasp.

Lois uttered in horror."Suicide bombers!"

Clark looked at the body and saw beneath the burning flesh a bullet hole to the skull."I wouldn't be so sure."

"What did you see?'',ask Bruce.

"The driver was dead before the impact. He was executed."

"The cars outside?"

"Both have been detonated from afar. They have no drivers."

"Hmm."

"What are you thinking?"

"Terrorism is too obvious. She and what she represents are relatively new to this world. They've done nothing to inflame radicals...It's more complicated than that...or perhaps more simple...I think someone doesn't want Themyscira here."

Guards shouted."Will you three get moving?"

Lois grumbled as she was shoved back. Clark heard Diana's security calling her."Princess,you must evacuate too. There may be more bombs..."

She looked stubbornly at them and waved them all out."Go on all of you. I'll remain until the bomb squad comes here."

"But,your Highness."

"Go!Get to safety!"

Clark looked at Bruce and backed away to slip into a room."Get Lois and yourself out."

Bruce understood,and grabbed Lois who was craning her neck to see what the security staff were doing."Come on,let's get going!"

She began to protest."I haven't got a chance to get...Where's Clark?If he gets the scoop,Bruce..."

But Bruce easily shoved her along and they got lost in the throng of staff that vacated via the garden. Clark took mere seconds to change into his uniform. He came out to find Diana,her white gown stained, as she waded through the broken chunks of marble and splintered glass and wood. She coughed as she watched the car burn. There was a creaking above her. Clark looked up to see cracks developing along the wall and ceiling. The huge crystal chandelier above her shivered. Smaller explosions from the burning car made her step back. She did not hear the simultaneous tearing of the chandelier in the ceiling above her and looked up in time to see it falling.

Diana gasped as she was swept off her feet and away from the spot where the chandelier crashed unto the broken,marbled floor. She was put down gently in the corridor.

Superman asked her concerned,"Are you okay?"

She looked up at him and for some reason,she couldn't speak. She looked at the damage and at the ground floor. The distress in her face was obvious. She wrapped her arms about herself. She said huskily,"Maybe setting up an Embassy wasn't a good idea..."

Before he could respond,the Flash appeared. Superman turned."Wally!Is everyone safely out of range?"

"Yes. Most of the diplomatic core and the bigwigs have gone obviously. Your staff are waiting for you within the safety zone. And the press is everywhere..."

They could hear sirens draw closer and the rotating blades of a helicopter. Diana looked dismayed."This isn't good. Wally,there were some injured..."

"J'onn took them to the hospital."

"Were there any casualties?''

"I'm not sure,Diana. I could find out for you..."

"Will you do that for me?"

"Sure thing."He sped out.

Superman saw the bomb squads and firemen outside. The former were looking to suit up and enter whilst the latter began to try to put out the blazing cars on the green. Superman said,"I'll save them some time and scan the area."

He took off,blowing cold air on the car in the foyer to put out the flames as he went past to speak to the bomb squad. He spent the next half hour using his x-ray vision to sweep the entire Embassy and the surrounding streets. He was able to report that there was no sign of further devices. He also helped the fire crews remove the burnt out shell of the cars from the lawn and foyer.

When he got back to the Embassy to check on Diana,it was past midnight. All the stragglers,including the press had been dispersed. There had been a brief statement given by Angela Scott to the media,which basically informed the public that all was in the hands of the authorities,that there had been no deaths,but three plainclothes security along with a couple of valets and porters had been injured. The FBI was apparently to come in to take over the investigation as it involved high ranking officials but for now a police cordon was put about the Embassy. All Diana's staff had been sent home.

Clark found Wally and J'onn with her. They were sitting out in the terrace whilst police officers and CSI buzzed around. The head of operations was trying to get Diana to leave the Embassy.

"Madam Ambassador,you can't remain here. Until the area is thoroughly scoured for evidence and then made secure,you and your staff are to stay away..."

She looked stubbornly at him."I understand police protocol and that my staff must stay away...but I am a member of the Justice League. Surely we can assist in your investigation!"

"The Justice League is not a part of the crime prevention nor detection units of this country. What happened here tonight is serious...it 's a matter of national security...you had members of the diplomatic core,the chief of police,the mayor,the DA...in short, very important persons, who could have died under your roof. You have to step back and let us do our jobs..."

She looked stricken and asked,"How long will I have to stay away?"

"Two weeks or so."

"That long?What do I do then?"

"Aw come on,lady,you got loads of dough. You could put up in the Ritz and live in the lap of luxury...Think of it as a holiday."

Wally scowled as the man trundled off."Windbag!Looks like he stuffs dough-nuts all day!"

J'onn suggested."You could stay in the satellite."

"No,J'onn,I'll go to Themyscira. I'll stay there...My mother will be surprised..."

Queen Hippolyta and the princess had reconciled their differences. However, Diana did not know how she would react to the attack on the Embassy. Hippolyta had a worse temper than her daughter and she may view it as a direct insult to the Amazon nation and ban Diana from continuing with the idea.

They heard the flutter of a cape and looked up to see Superman landing onto the terrace.

Diana stood up."Well?"

"There aren't any other devices."

"Thank the gods!"

Wally said,"Clark,Diana's going to Themyscira until the Embassy can re-open."

He eyed her sharply. He knew the delicate peace that hung between her and her mother."Is that a wise idea?"

She shrugged."What choice do I have?"

"The satellite," reminded J'onn.

"Come on,J'onn. Why go there when you can go to the Ritz!" interjected Wally.

Diana shook her head."No. The press'll be everywhere. I can't stay in Washington...I need to be away..."

Superman blurted out,"You can come to Smallville."

All eyes looked at him in surprise. Diana uttered,"What?"

Flash gave J'onn a telling look and interjected,"Let's go see dought-nut boy and see if he wants help."

The telepath began,"He said to keep away..."

Wally dragged him off with a roll of his eyes."Play along,will you?"

Left alone,Diana frowned at him."After that long tirade of yours about you and I being poles apart,you are offering me to come to Smallville?"

"Yes,I am."

"Is this some kind of joke?Because it is not funny...'ve just had to contend with seeing the Embassy attacked,my staff and guests endangered..I'm in no mood to indulge your sudden surge of generosity..."

He interrupted,"Diana,you won't be indulging me. You need somewhere safe and low key to stay. My parents' farm is quiet and secluded. There won't be any press to harass you and Ma and Pa will be happy to accommodate you. I know what I said earlier tonight and I stick by it but it doesn't mean if a friend of mine is in need,I won't help..."

"Friend?You spoke to me as if I were a stranger..."

His blue eyes held hers meaningfully. His voice was low."Tonight was never about the question of friendship. You know that."

"I don't understand...,"she said pleadingly. And that was the crux of it. He could not explain to her that he was attracted to her more than he would admit;that she was far from knowing what she wanted and it made matters even more difficult if Bruce was part of the scenario. He had sensed that in the last few months she was pulling away from Bruce and maybe even growing close to him. That only served to complicate matters than make them easier. And when he near destroyed the satellite and hurt his colleagues,he knew he couldn't afford to let her in any more.

He sighed."I know. Look,the offer stands. Please,consider it."

She wrestled with the idea. It made sense. But part of her was still smarting by his words earlier that evening and she longed to reject the offer. But commonsense and her warrior's instinct won the day. It was the better option by far. No one would think to look for a royal princess on a Kansas farm. And she would be spared telling Hippolyta right away.

She turned to look at him and said coolly,"I accept."