AN: It's very hard to find inspiration nowadays. But sometimes, when it rains, I remember a time when I used to look forward to weekends just to get a glimpse of my favorite couple.
"What day is it?"
"It's the thirteenth."
She tilted her head slightly and noticed that there was a hint of a smile lurking on J'onn's face which was a few inches away from hers. It was a simple indication of amusement that, because of her very frantic schedule, she was not even able to remember something as mundane as a date.
"Figures…" her voice trailed as the familiar pang of antiseptic touched the sore skin of her swollen cheek as he cleaned an ugly wound. "The unluckiest of days…aaww!"
J'onn gave her a surprised look.
"It hurts." And it really did. There was even a moment of vanity when she was a little bit concerned that she might have lost a tooth.
"Look at it this way…" J'onn's pause and stern look told her to stop squirming as she sat on one of the beds at the med bay. "You are still fortunate that…we are having this conversation right now."
It was her turn to smile in a grateful way, acknowledging that his statement was a fact. "I know."
From his orange eyes, her sweeping gaze took in the bloody gauzes while the numbness at the side of her jaw was starting to dissipate and in its place was the start of a very persistent throbbing. And she involuntarily shivered at the remembrance of an explosion, a thick slab of steel that used to be the left wing of an alien craft coming at her in full force that all she could do was to turn swiftly to her left. But it was too late, her right shoulder bore most of the impact, jagged edges of a foreign equivalent of steel cutting through her skin, her face.
She could not help but think along a dreadful line.
"It's best not to think that way," J'onn warned, apparently aware of her thoughts.
"But…it's a possibility," she whispered.
The Martian's movements seemed to have slowed the slightest. "Sometimes…the idea crosses my mind." The green hands finally finished dressing the unsightly gash on her right arm. "Having these…powers does not mean we should not consider our mortality. But honestly, I'm concerned, right now…for you."
"Three nights in a row you've kept yourself from sleep, don't disprove because I know, Diana," J'onn was quick to add when she opened her lips to protest. "You've been to Asia, then to the North pole…"
"Someone had to make an…appearance."
J'onn regarded her thoughtfully. "We are not just seven anymore. We have other members of the league who are capable of handling---"
"I'm not underestimating their capabilities… "
But…Her sigh was as good as heard by her friend.
"But some of them have families, a husband or a wife, even children who depend on them…" J'onn finished for her. "So you make it your personal mission to make sure…someone else will not grieve, in the unlikeliest of situations…"
Flexing her injured arm provided the momentary comfort of averting her eyes from the steady and honest gaze of the Martian.
"Are you absolutely certain no one will grieve for you?"
Her answer was a mere mental shrug. Though she had thought about it for a few times, all of those instances, there was only one conclusion. Give or take a year and people would move on. She would just be a fond recollection, a fading photograph, a line written on a cold slab of stone.
People move on.
"Diana, your motives may be selfless to you. But it may seem selfish to those who care deeply for you." She found her hand disappearing into a green one. "Think of yourself sometimes. And the fact that you cannot save all of us."
She smiled ruefully at the truth in J'onn's words. "It's official, I've been hanging out too much with Kal."
"I can't argue with that," J'onn mused. "But I'm very well prepared to stubbornly argue if you don't slow down. Take a rest, at least for tonight."
Rest…she had to admit it was an entertaining prospect. Her back was starting to complain from not being able to feel the comfort of her bed. And to enunciate the point further, a heartfelt yawn burst from her as her lids started feeling heavy, with her body slowly giving in to the weight of exhaustion that was seeping in.
"Can I crash in for the night?" She was sure she would not be able to drag her tired limbs to the safety of her quarters.
J'onn's grin could not be wider. "Sure."
His trained eyes searched the small area of the table where J'onn said the item he requested would be. Finding it in a few seconds, he was about to walk out of the clinic in haste to go back to the cave when a faint sound momentarily distracted him.
All he had to do was turn slightly and take a few steps forward. Slowly pushing aside the white drapes, he was suddenly stilled by what he saw. He was told of what had happened, but his imagination did not prepare him for this reality.
Her eyes were closed, though he knew very well she was not comfortably asleep because of the bruises that marred most of her right side and he could very well guess the extent of her injuries that were hidden by the thick gauzes that covered her face and arms.
Though there was a small voice of consolation that told him none of her injuries would leave a mark by the next day, there was a thought of concern that her wounds might be deeper than they all thought. Because experiencing life, viciously at times, like she did almost everyday would surely leave a mark, visible or otherwise.
She could have stayed in the island and lived the life of a princess.
But she traded all of that for this, a life that was lived for others.
And on that thought, he asked himself…how many Christmases and New Years did she volunteer for monitor duty, so that the others could spend it with their loved ones? How many vacation days did she pass up to go on a goodwill mission or simply battle a monster with a bad day?
And, simply…how many times did she try to make conversation with him, after a busy day, and all he ever did was grunt or utter uninterested replies at best?
He suddenly felt guilty.
She was a very remarkable woman. But he did not quite make her feel so.
He knew of the feelings that were directed in his direction, maybe that was why he was arrogant enough to ignore them at present…because he knew she would always feel strongly about him.
But what if…she was suddenly not there anymore?
He shivered at the thought and tried desperately to fend off the feelings he had long been denying himself, feelings he knew he must someday find the courage to admit. Because, as much as he owed it to himself to consider even the slightest chance at happiness…she, Diana, deserved to know the truth of his feelings even if that reality alone might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
She shifted slightly, the frown on her sleeping face reflecting the agony of the moment.
He knew the word was clouded with uncertainty. But, at least, he did not close the door on the possibility.
Batman…J'onn's voice echoed in his thoughts.
Did you find what you were looking for?
Yes. In more ways than one. He almost shook his head at the erroneous habit of thinking more than he was supposed to when talking to J'onn who could very well hear every word.
What time is it?J'onn asked.
His eyes scanned the area for a clock. It's almost two a. m.
He smirked at the greeting but dared not return it. He was about to leave when…
She looked a little embarrassed that he had to see her that way. So…fragile.
"I just came by to pick up something." And was looking at you for almost ten minutes now. "How are you?"
"I'm…okay. The worse has passed." She tried to smile. Bandages and all, she was still as beautiful.
"Do you need anything?" he offered.
Instead of answering immediately, she just met his steady gaze for a while. She looked as if she was desperately searching for words to say to him and there was a moment during her indecision that he wanted to take the mask off just to make her feel certain.
But just like he was, she was not that brave enough yet.
He knew it was a subtle term for you can leave me now, I will not be offended if you want to go.
But strangely, he wanted to stay. So he had to say something, quick.
Her face registered confusion at first, before breaking into a grin. "Oh…it's the fourteenth." It seemed she was a little conscious now of her appearance as she shifted slightly. "Same to you. No…date?"
He pulled up the nearest chair. "Get up from there and I'll buy you breakfast."
Her snickers seemed a little painful. "Just like you to offer when you know I can't accept."
"Well then…I'll give you a week's option."
She pretended to consider what he knew she thought was light banter. "A week?"
He smirked at her raised brow while considering his options. She would totally have healed by then so that meant he should make good his offer.
Days ago he would have reconsidered. But not now, not after knowing, or for that matter not knowing, what tomorrow might bring.
Besides… he was already making a mental list of the menu for Alfred to prepare.
"I'll…think about it."
"Fair enough, I'll wait," he answered. She still sounded doubtful but never mind. Then he leaned forward. "So…care to tell me where those bruises came from?"
She regarded his expression for a while, as if searching for any sign that he was really interested in knowing. Satisfied of what she found, she finally smiled, and the way her eyes lit up was temporarily free of the pain her injuries brought, the scars that marred her body and spirit.
And as she relayed the events, it was the first time in a long time that he did not even grunt. Instead, he listened to her every word. And tried hard once in a while to keep his hand from holding hers.