Somewhere Over the Mediterranean Sea
The Batman veered his metallic wings sharply to avoid the flamethrower of the half robot half human figure called Red. He had to nose dive fast towards the blue waters of the Mediterranean as the other cybernetic known as White fired a missile from her bazooka. The missile followed him and he pulled out from his dive mere inches from an old wreck. The missile exploded and the wreck went up into flames. Water mushroomed and sent him tumbling off course. He spluttered and saw the third one called Blue aiming his laser at him.
Batman swore beneath his breath. What had started out as a chase of three escapees from the justice of the Hague was turning into a debacle. Blue Beetle had gone down in the Adriatic,and J'onn had remained to get him back to League Headquarters on the moon for treatment. The three criminals soon realized the Batman was alone and went on the offensive. Now he had to take evasive action to avoid being blown out of the sky. He suddenly let out a cry of pain and dipped on his flight path. He had been shot along the torso,and one of his wings had been sliced off.
His went spinning out of control. He tried to pull up. White was aiming again at him. Before her missile could be launched,red beams fired from above. White's bazooka was sliced into two. She gasped and saw the red flutter of a cape as the figure zoomed in and blew icy winds upon her and caught the Batman before he could plunge into the side of a promontory. Batman gasped as he was caught under the arms by the Man of Steel.
"Superman!When did you get back?"The Kryptonian had been away for the last two weeks on a deep space mission. He was in his trademark red and blue uniform,but with the S insignia streamlined in red on a sea of black.
He replied,"Two minutes ago."
Red and Blue turned and tried to fire at them. But unknown to them a green figure phased in and captured the duo from behind and cracked their metallic skulls together.
Five minutes later,the three escapees were being dropped into the bowels of a coastguard vessel. The Manhunter looked at his two JLA colleagues as they stood on the deck of the boat."I'll hand these three to Interpol. Batman needs some medical attention..."
Batman gestured to the armour plate that had been sliced near his torso. "I'm not too bad."
Superman said,"Your have a three inch deep gash. It's bleeding and needs attention."He ripped the armour plate to bare the wound and bound it with a piece of his cape.
J'onn said,"Kal,fly him to the Watch Tower..."
Superman looked at the telepath meaningfully,"J'onn, I can kill two birds with one stone."
"Ah. Yes. By all means. I send my warmest regards. I'll speak to you two later."
Batman gave Superman a queer look as he was supported under the arms into the air."You guys like to speak in riddles all the time. What gives?"
Superman smiled."I know of a place you can get expert medical attention,Terry. It's not far from here and I think you might like to see it."
Terry Mcginnis,the heir to Bruce Wayne's Batman,and recent addition to the Justice League,looked around ironically."We're in the middle of the ocean. Where do you mean?"
"Just trust me."
Terry crinkled his brow but obeyed. Having joined the League in the last year,mainly by the behest of a certain mentor,he had come to respect this man and rarely questioned his judgment. As a child growing up he was always awed by the being called Superman and never in his wildest dreams believed he'd be working side by side with him. Superman had the most easy going manner he had ever come across,but there was a gravitas and a knowingness in those blue eyes that made even the most rebellious of Leaguer defer to him. It was difficult to work out how old this man was as well. Like Bruce he must be in his late fifties,but just looking at him,one would believe he was only about forty. He had faint lines about his eyes and mouth which could only be seen when he laughed and there was no sign of gray in his thick black hair.
They were flying high above the clouds. Terry had no idea where they were going. He squinted as Superman seemed to fly in the face of the sun. Then he gasped as high peaks broke the clouds. They began to descend. He could see and hear giant eagles. He moved his arms to aim his lasers. Superman's hand stilled his arm.
"No. We're being greeted."
The younger man stared at the birds as they escorted them."What are they?"
"What are they guarding?"
Superman pointed to a large island with smaller satellite islands floating magically over head."Paradise."
Batman took in a deep breath."Oh. My. God. This is Themyscira,isn't it!"
"I thought it was lost."
"No. It's here to those who are welcomed."
They alighted on the concourse before the Senate building. A group of guards stopped five feet away from them and were about to go down on their knees,when Superman coughed and shook his head at them with a chiding expression. They looked guilty and gave him a nod.
To Batman's bemusement,the wall of women parted as a tall, dark skinned woman appeared from inside the Senate building. "Superman."
"General. How are you?"
Phillipus bowed her head respectfully and looked at Batman."I was under the impression that the Batman had retired."
"He has. This is his successor. Terry Mcginnis. Terry,this is General Phillipus,commander of the Amazon army and adviser to the Queen."
Phillipus gave him a nod."Welcome."
"He has sustained a wound whilst in combat. I was hoping we could get some medical attention."
Phillipus nodded and looked at a guard."Call for Epione."
The woman saluted and hurried away. Superman raised an inquiring brow."I take it the Queen is in session?"
The General nodded."She's just receiving diplomats from Rann, Thanagar and Tamaran. They have been in audience with her for over an hour. I'm sure she will welcome the opportunity to bring it to a close. Follow me."
Terry hissed,"I want to come too..."
"Can wait.I want to meet the Queen of the Amazons...,"he whispered as they were led into the building."Cause if the Bat Files are to be believed she was once none other than Wonder Woman!Is that true?"
Superman half smiled."Yes."
They walked through the large foyer and then quietly entered the council chamber. From the back of the room where they stood,they could see the Queen of the Amazons sitting on her chair on the dais and over a dozen Off-Worlders sitting on chairs before her. The ambassador from Rann was on the floor,expounding on ways both peoples could benefit from ties between his planet and Themyscira.
Superman hid his smile. The Queen was trying not to look bored. He could see through her floor length white gown,her toes were wriggling impatiently. She also had that fixed,bland smile on her face. It was only when Phillipus discreetly stepped behind her and whispered a few words,he saw her eyes raised over the group of diplomats at him and Batman.
She did not blink an eye. They may have well been two flies on the wall. She turned back to the ambassador of Rann and announced very graciously,"My lord,it heartens me that your people seek closer ties with Themyscira,but we have all of tomorrow in the Senate to discuss these matters further. Shall we not recess and take refreshment?There is a banquet planned for tonight where you will be meeting my Bana sisters. Allow my people to show your people to your quarters."
She clapped her hands and several women appeared to escort the diplomats out of the room. Some of the diplomats stared in curiosity at the Leaguers as they filed out. A few actually nodded in respect. There was few in Rann,Thanagar or Tamaran that did not know of Superman.
Diana,Queen of the Amazons, stood up from her chair and watched Superman and Batman approach. Superman instantly bowed."Your Majesty."
She inclined her head."Superman."
Terry waited awkwardly for introduction. But Superman did not turn to him to draw him forward. He simply waited for the door to close on the last of the diplomats and then stepped boldly up onto the dais to face the Queen and pulled her into his arms. The Batman's jaw dropped as he watched the Queen wrap her arms around Superman's neck and give him a kiss that had very little to do with the art of diplomacy or protocol. He looked at Phillipus and the remaining guards in the room. They did not bat an eyelid.
It was after a minute that Superman drew away and said,"Oh,I have someone who wants to meet you."
She looked at Batman with interest."Oh,is this Bruce's protege?"
He gestured to the young man."Terry meet Diana,Queen of the Amazons,and also my wife,Mrs Kent. Diana,this is Terry Mcginnis."
Terry felt his cheeks turn bright red under his mask as she stepped down and took his hand and said,"Clark has told me much about you. I've wanted to meet the man who's fulfilled the expectations of the hard-to-please Bruce Wayne. Come,let me see you..."
Self consciously,he drew off his hood and attempted to bow."Your Majesty..."
"Well,isn't he cute,Clark!"she uttered,regarding him with an almost maternal kind of approval.
He blushed like a school boy. It was hard to remember one was twenty six and in the Justice League before this woman,who looked as drop dead gorgeous as in her pictures decades ago. She was as statuesque and graceful as ever. She could be as young as he but it was in her eyes and carriage that one saw all the wisdom and dignity of her years.
"I'm honored to meet you,um,ma'am,...Queen...er..."
"Oh,please,don't call me your Majesty. I had enough people fawn all over me today."
"I don't mind Mrs Kent,but we don't want to spread that around. Call me Diana."
Terry swallowed."Sure Mrs er...Diana..."
Superman laughed and said,"Sweetheart,he's been hurt. He needs some attention."
She nodded in concern."Certainly .Is it bad?"
Terry gestured to his bound torso."Laser fire..."
"Epione will see to that. Let's get him to the Healing Isle!"
"Phillipus has sent for her,"said Superman."I'll take him to the Palace."
"Oh,very well. Will you two remain for the night?"The Queen looked up specifically at Superman as she asked the question. Superman nodded. He looked at Batman."Have you got to get back,Terry?"
He said,"Dana's visiting her grandparents. So,I'm good."
Diana looked at her husband."I promised to visit Timandra to look over the construct of the New Senate. I will see you later."She squeezed his hand and left them through a side door with Phillipus in tow.
Terry let out a stunned exclamation."You are married to Wonder Woman!"
Superman smiled."She hasn't been Wonder Woman for some years now."
"So this is where she was all the time?"
"Yes. Her mother died nine years ago and she had to return to fulfill her duty."
They were walking out of the room and out into the large circular foyer."How do you do it?How do you manage to be together?"
"Flying always helps as well as having the resources of the Amazon nation and a certain billionaire friend to make life easier. We had to leave our alter egos when Hippolyta died and live in seclusion. It's not easy dividing time between here and the Fortress but it allows us to be together and that's what's most important."
He looked around at the opulence surrounding them."Who can argue with living in paradise?Is it true that these women at one time hated men?"
"Hate is a strong word. Mistrust is more appropriate."
"How did they accept you?"
"That's a very long story. It didn't happen overnight. There was a lot of opposition when I proposed to Diana. But my wife is no push over. She will walk over burning coals for someone she loves. There was nearly a civil war. The Bana were not happy about the idea of a male consort despite Hippolyta giving her blessing. In the end we managed to turn the doubters but made some enemies along the way. It hurt Diana to see some of her Bana sisters leaving Themyscira in preference to the outside world. They would rather breathe the foul air of the patriarch's world than see the Amazon way of life besmirched by males joining the dynasty."
Terry winced."Heavy. Bruce did mention that there were Amazons around. They have this sect of sorts that try to brainwash women into joining to defeat male domination. It's lead by one called..."
"Artemis."Superman looked grave.
"Yes. Artemis. Why does she...?"Before Terry could complete his question,they heard a loud shriek behind them and footsteps echoing on the the marble floor.
Terry stared in confusion as a girl in a white tunic and sandals, who appeared to be in her teens,with hair the colour of mahogany, in a single braid,hurled herself into Superman's arms.
The Man of Steel's face changed to one of such tender pride and he was hugged so fiercely that it dawned on Terry that he beheld no mere Amazon.
"Lara."Superman kissed her head and cheek."Well,my pippin,what's up?"
She said against his chest."I'm so glad to see you,Papa!"
"Me too. And did you grow again?"
She nearly reached his upper arms and and was at the age where her limbs seemed too long and awkward for her. She said gloomily, as if aware that her growth spurt was not in keeping with the rest of her body and the other lithe and well built Amazons around her,"Another inch and a half."
Her father whistled."You'll soon be as tall as your mother. Come,let me introduce you to someone."
She turned and stared at Terry and the bat insignia on his chest."Why is he wearing Uncle Bruce's symbol?"
"This is Uncle Bruce's successor to the Batman. His name is Terry. He's in the League with me. Terry,this is my daughter,Lara."
He held out his hand which she shook shyly."Nice to meet you,"she said,not immune to the fact that although he wasn't as imposing as her father,he was about six foot and very good looking. She was not a novice in seeing males. She had lived in Metropolis for the first seven years of her life and recalled several boys. But in the last eight years or so she had been exposed to only older diplomats or her parent's League allies. Now she tugged awkwardly at her tunic which was dirty and rumpled.
"And you."Terry smiled and she flushed.
"Princess!There you are!"
They turned to see Euboea,Captain of the palace guard. She gave Superman a respectful greeting and folded her arms."This is where you ran off to. You did not finish your exercises and left Phoebus to roam the east garden and eat Oenone's prized hyacinths and lilies."
Lara winced. In her eagerness to see her father,she had bolted from her weapons' training and and left her black stallion untethered. Phoebus had a habit of heading for the botanists' flowering plants.
Superman gave her a reproving look."Lara."
"I'm sorry. I just thought of seeing you."She looked at Euboea."Sorry,Euboea."
She said,"I understand your joy in wanting to see your father,Princess,but you were in the middle of your sparring lesson..."
She crinkled her nose."Why do I really need to use a sword ?I have heat vision. I can melt my opponent's sword..."
Her father interrupted,"That may be,but it takes discipline to follow on through and complete a task. Your gifts are of no use to you if you take them for granted. Now go get Phoebus,clean up his mess,and stable him. Find Oenone and apologize and then finish your session with the Captain...and do it without flying."
"But Papa..."she wailed."That'll take all afternoon!I could do it in minutes if I fly and come back and spend time with you before you go. I missed you so much!"She batted her blue eyes at him. He had to bite his lips from laughing.
"You could but remember neither Euboea or Oenone can fly and it takes them hours to train your subjects and cultivate the gardens. Now run along. I'm not going anywhere today and here's Epione to treat Terry."He gave her a gentle shove and she slouched away looking back forlornly as if her sad puppy dog look would make him change his mind.
Euboea,her lips twitching,said,"Thank you,Superman."She bowed and walked away.
Terry observed,"I thought you'd give in for a second."
"I know. But what she use to get away with, she shouldn't now. Diana had to remind me that she isn't eight anymore but fifteen going on sixteen."
Epione met them on the steps of the Senate and they walked to the Palace,where they headed for the guests' quarters. As they mounted the spiraling steps,they heard puffing and panting and saw an eight year old boy running up the steps as fast as his legs could carry him. Two guardswomen followed him.
"Wait for me!I'm coming!"
Superman's face broke into a grin and he bent and held out his arms."Come here,tornado!"
The boy had soft black curls,vivid blue eyes and dimples in his cheeks. He was lifted up high,and kissed on the cheek."Well,look at you. Been playing in the mud again?"The boy had muddy streaks all over his white tunic and blotches on his cheek. Superman hoisted him atop his shoulders.
The boy beamed at his guards."My Papa will look after me now."
Superman gave them a nod."I'll take him."
They bowed and withdrew to wait at the bottom of the steps. Terry looked at Superman with a knowing quirk to his brow."Another Kent?"
"Yes. Terry this is Jonathan. Jon,this is Terry,a friend of mine."
Jon acknowledged the younger man with a curious glance but was solely interested in his father. He rattled away,as they entered the guest room,"Papa,did you catch any aliens?"
"Aliens?Who told you I went to catch aliens?"
"Lara said you went to fight White Martians."
They sat together on a divan as Terry was attended to by Epione."Well,she was right. I did."
"Is it really you?Lara said they could change into you and come for me. Do they really eat boys' brains?Lara said they liked them the best"
"Did she now?"His lips twitched."That's not true. Your sister was teasing you."
"Yes, Mama said she was joking and that she could tell from a mile if you are real. But how can she tell,Papa?I need to know."
"Your Mama has Hestia's lasso of truth. With it she cannot be fooled,even by White Martians.."
The boy digested this piece of information and seemed satisfied. He announced,"Did you know that Phillipus let me shoot arrows last week?She said I was very good."
"I have no doubt you would be."
"How come I can't fly yet?I tried and tried and still I can't do it..."
"I hope to god that you're not going on the top of the roof and trying to jump again?"he said sternly. A year ago Jon did just that and if it wasn't for his super strength,he surely would have broken his neck. He had sustained only a broken arm and Diana had been furious with his minders,who had let him slip away from them in the first place. But Clark knew that Jon small as he was,was a wheedling imp and had most likely lulled the poor women into a false sense of security and ran off the minute their backs were turned. The women had been mortified and in Clark's mind that was just punishment. He had to remind Diana of the need to get Jon to take responsibility for his actions.
Jon tugged at his arm to emphasize his earnestness."No...no...I tried from the ground...I promised not to do that,remember?"
"Yes,I remember. Don't worry,son,I didn't fly until I was sixteen."
Terry was listening to this exchange with amusement. Epione had her pouch of herbs and had salved and bandaged the wound,and soon all pain and discomfort had gone. Terry thanked her as she rose and left him with the Man of Steel and his son. He looked out the window. He could see the ocean. He looked at Superman.
"This is pretty nice. I guess it's near perfect. Why ever leave it?"
Superman rose."Nothing is ever perfect,Terry,and one can't wallow in paradise while the world is suffering it's own hell."
Terry looked sombre."No I suppose not. But you'd want to shield your children from it's horrors,wouldn't you?"
"Yes,I'd like my children to experience only joy in life but that isn't possible. And like I told Lara,one can't take power, or happiness for that matter, for granted."He picked his son up in his arm and said,"You'll find everything you need. Even a change of clothing. Ring for anything. Have a rest and we'll see you tonight."
The Man of Steel was luxuriating in one of the built-in circular baths in the marble flooring of the royal apartments. He leaned back and closed his eyes and allowed himself to revel in the warmth and the scent of the rose petals that floated around him. It was a welcome relaxation after going to New Genesis to help with the was a far cry from being Clark Kent and living between a town house in Metropolis and the Fortress with Diana all those years ago. But despite it all,they had been content. Lara's birth had been the happiest time of their lives,and there had been many a debate about where they would stay. Hippolyta would have had her on Themyscira in a flash,but Diana had been adamant. She had married Clark Kent and yes,although she wanted her child to know her heritage,she felt it was vital Lara started life normally and not in marbled halls. She could visit and then go for training when she came of age.
Hippolyta's sudden death in the last Crisis had prematurely set things in motion. Diana had been pregnant when her mother died. It had been a hard time for all. But Jon's birth had been a blessing. He gave them all the impetus to move on with their grief and take on the greater changes in their lives. Clark felt a twinge of regret that his father had not lived to see his grandchildren. Martha Kent had held both children in her arms,but died shortly after Jon's first birthday. He sighed. He missed his adopted parents.
"May one join you,Mr Kent?"
Clark opened his eyes and saw the Queen standing at the top of the steps to the bath. She was in a robe and her hair was loose and she wore no crown.
He inclined his head with a twinkle in his eyes."Your Majesty need only command her loyal subject."
She threw off the robe and stepped down gracefully."Well,then prepare for some company."
Clark smiled."With the greatest of pleasure."
She waded towards him and he drew her into an embrace and kissed her."Finally I have you to myself."
She sighed."The banquet is in half an hour."
"Oh, I think we can make that work..."
She laughed and leaned her back against his chest He wrapped his arms around her and she said,"Bruce called."
"Oh yeah?Did he have any news?"
"Yes. He found us a three bedroom house on the outskirts of Metropolis. Jimmy has gotten Lois to get Richard White to agree to you leaving as foreign correspondent and picking up freelance and..."She paused with an excited look," a publishing house has given you an advance on your book!"
Clark turned her to face him."Really?Bruce didn't pull strings, did he?"
"No,darling,"she replied, knowing full well what he meant."The publishing house he sent it to has nothing to do with Wayne Enterprises. They loved the book. It's great work. I told you so. All we need is to work out a good pseudonym for you. With everything going digital,Bruce does not see your identity as being any problem. Readers nowadays don't care about autographs. They just like to have online chats and join forums to debate topics."
Clark said wryly,"The world has changed. Now what about this house?"
"Bruce wants us to come take a look next week. There is a High School two miles away. Lara is already enrolled and Jon will be tutored at home by myself until I think we can trust him to go to school without breaking his or anyone's neck."
"Are you sure about this,Diana?"
She nodded."I spoke to the Senate about it. The Representatives know that I want to give the legislative and the executive equal power. I can trust Phillipus with my life and I'm leaving the running of Themyscira in her able hands as Chancellor. I'll be only a call away if I'm needed. The New Senate is nearly complete. The Bana are very happy with the arrangement also. They have their own autonomy as well as a say in the affairs of the island. No longer decisions will be made upon the whim of one person. I can't pretend to want to give power then veto when I don't like what my advisers tell me. The children are getting older. Lara is nearly sixteen. She is already beginning to show a kind of self importance regarding her gifts. It has been an age since she has been outside and seen normal children. She needs to experience what you did,my love. I believe your grounding is what made you into the unique,compassionate,wonderful man you are today."
"Careful,Majesty,my ego won't be able to go through the doorway if you continue in that vein..."
She kissed his hands."It's the truth. I'll be able to be Diana Kent once more. I can't wait actually."
Clark mused,"It sounds as if it might work."
"Bruce is setting up all the paperwork. No one will bat an eyelid. He has the Kents as just returning from southeast Asia,where you were foreign correspondent and I was doing humanitarian work."
Clark remarked,"When you came up with this idea last year,I must admit I was taken aback. But it's sounds as if going back out into the world is what this family needs."
She said,"Our children have a great heritage and if they even want to follow in our footsteps they need to come out of seclusion and experience the world. I don't know what Lara wants...if she even wants to be Queen or join the League...but it'll be her choice. And Jon,bless his dear heart,so wants to be like you...Well, living amongst all these doting women is only serving to spoil him. Experience has taught us that we cannot control everything,even death. We'll face our fears together."
"The wisdom of Athena..."he murmured.
She sighed,"And the leavening influence of my husband. Honestly,Kal,your practical bent and patience has helped me no end all these years. How I'd have gotten through them without you I'll never know. I love you so very much."
He turned her face up to his."And I love you...Now,how much time did you say we had,Your Majesty?"
He claimed her lips with a hungry kiss.
She gasped,"Maybe... I should sent my... apologies?"
"Well,you are Queen still..."he murmured in her ear.
Diana shivered."Yes,a Queen could be...say, an hour late?That's... reasonable tardiness,don't you think?"
"Oh that's ample time and some...".
There was no more conversation.
Two Months Later.
Lara stood on the parapet of the balcony to her bedchamber and looked out at the grove of cypress trees and let out a tiny sigh of sadness. In an hour's time she was joining her mother and brother to say farewell to the island of Amazons as they set out for America,where they were going to start a new chapter in their lives. Her Papa would be waiting for them at Heathrow airport. Uncle Bruce had said that it was important that the family was seen flying into the States. Jon was like an excited whirlwind and was running all over the place,telling all the Amazons,as if they didn't know, about his pending trip. But Lara was feeling anxious. Certainly,it wasn't as if she hadn't lived in the outside world;but that was years ago and her memory was faulty. Grandma was no more and she hadn't seen many of the children of her parents' friends for a long time either.
She had to leave Phillipus and Euboea and Phoebus. She let out a tiny sniffle.
"Amazon's don't cry,you know."
She spun around. Lounging on the stone banister,was a tall,beautiful, golden haired man. He was in a blue toga and carried a lyre.
Lara went down upon her knees."Blessed Apollo!"
He waved at her."Oh,stand up,child. I'm not Zeus. Now why the miserable face?"
She straightened up and pushed her hair off her face."I wasn't crying. There was something in my eyes."
"What?Both of them?"He gestured for her to come closer."Aren't you happy to go?"
"I...I'm not sure. Mama and Papa have said I need to do this,and that both of them know how I feel...that it wouldn't be so bad...I'm just..."she shrugged.
"No!"She looked stung."I'm not afraid."
"There's no shame in feeling anxious,Lara. You are leaving all you know to go into the unknown. No longer will you be able to hide behind your father's cape or mother's skirt."
"I don't hide!"
"Well,living in a place where there is little to challenge you,and when there are people to guard and serve you,I'd say that was cosseting if not hiding. Look,my child,you need to go into the world. Your fate demands it of you."
"Great Apollo,you are god of sunlight,music,poetry and prophesy. Can you see my future?"
"I'm not an Oracle. But you are destined for more than this. You have gifts,Lara,that make you a very special person...I don't usually bless anybody...I leave that sort of thing to my sisters and Hermes...They were very shocked when I chose to be your patron."
Lara said bluntly,"My father said you did it to annoy Ares."
He looked unabashed."There may be some truth in that. But when I choose to bless someone,I expect her to at least live up to my name. We can't have the Gods thinking it's all a big joke,especially that serpent Ares..."
"You seem to care only for your reputation than me..."
"Oh, come on. Don't be a naive baby. Of course I have a reputation to think of!But I ...as the human's say...put my money on you...and I will be watching upon you with great interest. Now,straighten that back and tilt that chin and go with grace,my child. I must go...I have an assignation with a couple of nymphs."
She bowed and stepped back. He vanished.
The Kent family arrived at Metropolis airport. Clark rented a SUV,piled in their luggage, and proceeded to drive towards their new home. All their belongings had been sent ahead weeks ago and he and Diana had unpacked and readied the house so when the children came it was only to settle in. Jon was staring at everything with great excitement. He had been awed by the airplane but not the long ride across the Atlantic. Thankfully Clark had seen to his amusement by playing and reading to him,or walking him along the aisle to see all that was going on. It helped he looked like a cherub,as most of the aircrew had fallen in love with him.
Lara had been quieter. She was now looking at the city as they drove past.
"Do you remember anything,sweetie?"asked her mother.
"No...just...yes...that."She pointed to the Daily Planet in the distance.
"Yes,that's where your father worked and still does,only this time it'll be part time.."
Jon gasped as he saw the head of the Superman memorial."Papa!That's you!"
Diana warned,"Yes,that's Papa. But remember,Jon,when Papa is in glasses you must never call him Superman, okay?"
Jon nodded. His parents had a long talk with him and Lara a month ago and he understood that his father's new identity was important as villains would try to hurt them.
He queried gravely,"Else the Martians will find out?"
Clark smiled at Diana. Jon was currently obsessed with White Martians. Diana tried not to laugh."Yes. And we wouldn't want that,would we?"
They drove out of the city and were crossing a bridge that was leading them down into the suburbs. The house was set in a quiet neighbourhood that, on glance, was full of elderly folk.
Lara squinted at the small square,with people strolling or playing chess."It's full of old people."
Clark said,"Bruce chose it because of that,Lara. Old folks are less likely to be wanting to poke around and are more routine orientated."
The house was the last one in a dead end drive and it was surrounded by an iron gate and walls. As they turned into the gate and up the drive way,they saw several cars on the side.
Lara frowned."What's going on?"
Diana smiled as she saw the front door open and several people appear."We have a welcoming committee."
Bruce Wayne was the first to come forward. They were followed by John and Shyera Stewart,Wally and Linda West,John and Karla Irons,and a John Jones and Terry Mcginnis. There were hugs and kisses all round. The women, who had never seen Jon Kent, were bowled over by his adorable face.
Diana tutted at Linda, whose kids were past their teens and who was envious of anyone who still had kids under ten,"Oh, don't let that angelic face fool you. He can be an imp!"
Shyera,who was pregnant with her and John's first child, grumbled,"By the time my child get to be his age John and I will be doddering old folk."She and John had gotten together late in life .She was in her late forties and the pregnancy was not exactly going smoothly. It made her a tad cranky.
Karla patted her shoulder."You'll be perfect. Just hang in there."
Lara's first task had been to hug her Uncle Bruce and ask after his daughter Carrie. Carrie and her mother,Selina,were in Gotham and would visit on the weekend. Despite his gruffness,he had a soft spot for this child of all his friends' kids. It wasn't only because he was her godfather. He had met her all those years ago before she had been actually born when Gog had come through the Time Stream to destroy her. She represented the embodiment of his, Clark and Diana's hopes for the future. And of all the other children,she had never been afraid of him. She treated him with a kind of affection that bordered on motherly. She was always seeing to his needs and he could see that she viewed Terry with a
kind of uncertainty,as if she still had not reconciled herself to him being the Batman.
She had gone for a drink for Bruce herself. She waltzed in announcing cheerfully,"Uncle Bruce,I got you your favourite lemon lime julep!"
Bruce looked up."Oh,sorry,Lara. Terry got it for me."
Terry,who was speaking to him,turned around. He was in a teeshirt and jeans,and looked as handsome as ever. "Oh,hello,Princess. Sorry,I beat you to it."
Lara flushed red to her ears."Oh."She looked at the drink,unsure what to do with it.
Terry held his hand out."I'll have it."
She bit her lips."Okay."
Terry's fingers inadvertently brushed hers and she felt hers go numb and the glass fell and crashed at their feet. She turned redder yet.
"I'll clean it up,"offered Terry.
"No...no...I'll do it."She fled in search of her father to rescue her from what was in her mind a most embarrassing situation.
Bruce remarked dryly,"I think someone has a crush on you."
Terry laughed."What?No way!"
Bruce warned,"Watch how you deal with her. Clark is easy going but he'll break anyone's legs if they hurt his little girl,and I'll help him do it."
Terry exclaimed,"Jesus,Bruce!She's a kid!"
"All I'm saying is, be diplomatic. She's very sensitive and hasn't a clue. You're probably the first younger man she's seen since reaching puberty."
Terry sighed."Poor thing. I'll be careful."
Some time later Bruce saw Clark come in from the porch with J'onn. He came to stand along side his wife"J'onn wants to ask something of you."
Diana looked at J'onn."What?"
"Diana,will you consider rejoining the League?"
Diana looked taken aback. She began,"J'onn,the children. Jonathan is still only ..."
Lara stepped forward."I'll be sixteen in several months, Mama. You can trust me to look after Jon..."
She gave her a wry glance."Sweetheart,you've only just left Themyscira. How can I expect you to be..."
Bruce said,"Diana,some of the Titans are younger and they help save the planet many times."
Diana looked at her husband. Clark said,"She's of age to look after Jon,and it helps she can lift a two ton truck."
Shyera mused,"Diana,don't you miss it?I've been off the job for five months and feel like I'm going nuts. If it wasn't for the fact that John hid my mace I'd be tempted to go do some damage control myself..."
John Stewart grinned,put his arm around his wife's shoulders and added,"As well as her being as sick as a dog..."
Shyera sighed,"It's not fair I have to carry and make the baby but I must vomit my spleen out as well."
Linda looked sympathetic."I know how you feel. Wally would stuff his face when I couldn't even keep a glass of milk down."
Wally cried,"Hey,that's no fair!I felt for you but how could my starving help?"
Karla smiled,"I was lucky. My pregnancies were very easy."
Diana sighed."I was a bit queasy initially but it was the mood swings and crying that got me. Poor Clark! I bit his head off so many times with Lara."
Clark grimaced,"I'm so glad you realize that you were mean to me."
"This reminiscing is all well and good,"said Bruce with a tolerant if somewhat wry grimace," but how about we get back on track?"
John Henry announced,"We have already outfitted the house with a top of the line security system. No one can enter without proper clearance. I can even get you a couple of sentinels if you like,Diana."
Clark interjected,"How about a dog?"
Lara grasped his arm eagerly."You mean?"
"Yeah,Krypto is virtually house broken after you and Jon had your way with him."
Jon jumped up and down."Krypto!Krypto!"
Wally put his arm around Diana's shoulders."Come on,Di. It'll be like old times. You, me,Supes,J'onn,Lantern...with Bruce behind the console...and we get to pick on the newbies like Terry and Jade and Zatara...and make them do all our Monitor Duty."
Diana looked around at the faces of her long time allies,and smiled."Very well."
"Alright!"whooped Wally."Now where is the food,people?"
It was eleven pm when all was quiet in the new Kent house. Lara and Jon had been settled in their new bedrooms. Clark and Diana after seeing to some last minute unpacking ,finally went upstairs. They peeped in on their children. Jon was fast asleep,and Lara was on the net chatting online with Carrie Wayne. She promised to log off by midnight. They pair walked arm in arm to their own bedroom down the hall.
"What a day,"Clark said, as they walked into the master bedroom.
Diana kicked off her slippers and took off her glasses. She shook her hair down."Very eventful. Did you know Bruce and the others would be here?"
He threw off his own glasses and sat on the end of the bed."Yeah. Good thing too. Karla's pot roast was great and Linda's cheese cake to die for!Ah,I am tired,and happy!"He fell backwards on the bed and let out a sigh of pure content.
Diana came to lie along side him."Even the house seems friendly and welcoming. I thought I might feel funny here but it all seems so natural."
He turned his head to look at her."Never forget,we did ,er,consecrate the house in our own special way last week."
Her eyes danced."Oh yes. Though the cellar wasn't exactly where I thought we'd do it the first time."
He patted the mattress."We have a bed now. And I made sure the frame is reinforced titanium alloy."
"Titanium alloy huh?"
"Yep. It'll take the weight of two full grown African elephants...not that I'm referring to you as one,my love..."
She teased,"Two full grown elephants doing...?"
"I'll be happy to demonstrate..."
She grinned as he turned and pulled her close. She stroked the straying hairs off his brow."You're not too tired then?"
Clark kissed Diana tenderly,then with increasing passion. Her hooded top and jogging bottoms went flying to the floor along with his teeshirt and slacks. Her hands clung to his well muscled back as lips nuzzled her neck and an expert hand went around to unhook her bra. The JLA communicator beeped on the bed side table.
Clark stiffened and leaned his forehead against Diana's."Jesus Christ Almighty!" he exclaimed.
Diana whispered,"Clark,such blasphemy!"
They looked at each other and dissolved into giggles. He rolled off her and reached for the communicator."Typical."He powered it on."Yes."
It was Zatara,son of Zatanna."Sorry,Clark. But there's a hospital fire in downtown Metropolis. Since you're the nearest,I thought maybe you could take this one."
"No problem. I'm on it."
He bent over Diana and kissed her mouth."I'll be as quick as I can."
She held his arm before he could rise to change."How about some help?"
He paused,his brows rose."You mean?"
"A job for Superman and Wonder Woman?Yes."
Clark looked through the walls."Lara's still up."
Diana smiled."Then let's go,Superman."
In less than a minute both were in their respective uniforms. Lara turned in surprise as her door opened and she saw them."Where are you going?"
Her father came and pressed the communicator in her hand."We have some work to do,honey. Here,take this and look after your brother."He dropped a kiss on her head.
Diana said,"We'll be back as soon as we can,okay?"
Lara hugged her mother."Okay. You can count on me."
She watched with a kind of awe and pride as her parents climbed out her window and took to the air. She sighed and sat back down before the computer.
Carrie Wayne's message read,"WHAT'S UP?"
Lara smiled broadly and typed back,"OH NOTHING SUPERMAN AND WONDER WOMAN GOING TO SAVE THE DAY!"
Author's Note:To everyone who took the time to read this story and/or give feedback.A good story has an end but can also be a premise for a great beginning.I love the Justice League and Clark and Diana even more.I believe they are destined for each other someday in the DCU.