Disclaimer 1: I own nothing.
Disclaimer 2: Even though I know a bit about science, I really have no clue about the heart monitoring machines and resting rates and all that jazz. I just know the phrases and have vague ideas about what they mean. So don't make fun of my quasi-medical knowledge. :D
Thanks for the beta, home fry (aka Kipling Nori). As a token of my appreciation, I give you an avocado shake!
This takes place after Maid of Honor, but before the Justice League expands. I was inspired by The Knife's Heartbeats, which really has nothing to do with what happens in my story (I can't even take one of the lyrics and put it at the beginning of the story. Nothing fits!), but I LOVE that song! Go youtube it. NOW! It will not change your life, but you might just like it! :D
From behind the two-way mirror, Batman watched as J'onn placed the electrodes over Wonder Woman's neck, chest, and torso. She was dressed differently today, her normal outfit replaced by a sports bra, running shorts, and tennis shoes. Once the Martian had affixed the sensors, she hopped off the examination table to await her orders.
"I will be on the other side of the mirror, watching as you perform the various exercises. The sound you will hear is the beating of your heart."
"Great. Where do I start?"
"Let's try the treadmill."
Diana nodded and walked over as J'onn retreated into the next room. With the door closed, a cloaked figure stepped out of the shadows.
The Martian didn't even look over. "Hello, Batman."
The Dark Knight nodded his head in acknowledgement. "J'onn."
"What brings you here?"
"Same reason as yesterday."
"I don't expect to find anything different between Superman's and Diana's tests. Even though he has Kryptonian physiology, Wonder Woman is a magical creature, and I would not be surprised if her heart remained constant throughout the trials."
The Martian Manhunter pressed the button on the intercom. "Wonder Woman, I will start the machine at a slow pace and steadily increase it, but first I need to get your resting heart rate."
She nodded and Bruce noticed that her ponytail bobbed along with her head. "I'm ready when you are."
"Alright, Diana. You can begin walking."
Wordlessly, Diana put one foot in the front of the other. There was no change in the sound of the beeps emitted by the monitor.
"I think you can increase the speed, J'onn."
Bruce watched as her walking turned to jogging. A few minutes later she was running, and by the time ten minutes had passed, she was sprinting. But her heart rate was still as slow and even as it had been when she had started.
"Why don't we increase the incline, J'onn? I'm due for a good workout."
Pressing down on the speaker button, the Martian replied, "If you wish, though we have a few more exercises to do. You don't want to use all of your energy."
Diana laughed. "This is nothing."
The front of the treadmill slowly started rising, until it was at the steepest inclination. Her face grew rosy and began to glow. Her skin, also, glistened with perspiration. But her heart rate still did not change.
"Are you alright, Diana?"
"Perfect, J'onn! The room is growing warmer, but other than that, everything is fine."
J'onn watched as Bruce silently observed Wonder Woman's physical. It had been Batman's idea to find out the bodily limitations of his teammates, and they had begun the tests yesterday with Superman. The Martian Manhunter could not see any outward difference between the Batman of yesterday and today, but he was able to read his mind, and the thoughts that ran through it were much different.
Making sure that he had turned off the speaker, J'onn turned to his fellow observer.
"Her level of fitness is amazing. She is in excellent shape."
Knowing what J'onn was hinting at, Batman gave him a look and in a detached voice said, "Almost as good as Superman."
J'onn turned his face away so Bruce couldn't see him smile. "Almost." The alien reached for the intercom button again. "Diana, I have enough information. Let's try the weights."
Diana walked over to the mirror, unable to see into the next room. She rested her hand against it, causing the glass to fog up from the heat of her hand. Bruce marveled at how perfect she looked. Not even one hair was out of place.
"Do I need to keep wearing these," she gestured to the white circles on her upper body, "things?"
"Yes, you'll need to wear them until we are finished with all of the tests."
She smiled at the glass. "As you wish, J'onn."
"I want you to lift those weights. I can digitally add to it to make it more difficult, but we'll start at five hundred pounds."
She sauntered over to a barbell and lifted it with ease. She walked back over to the mirror and grinned in amusement. "Is this it?"
Bruce looked at her enviously. He would have struggled to even move the heavy weight, and she was balancing it on her finger, her heart continuing its languid beat. For some reason, it didn't bother him when it was Superman, but when someone who looked that delicate and graceful lifted a load that large, it seemed at odds with reality.
"Diana, I am going to double the weight."
"Go for it."
She didn't seem disturbed by the added work in the least. J'onn continued to double the weight until he was unable to add anymore. "Does it feel any different?"
"My shoulders are a little tight, but other than that, I feel perfectly fine."
"Alright, you can put it down. And you can take off the electrodes. I'll be back in a few minutes after I analyze all the information."
"See you then."
J'onn looked over at the dark spectator. "Care to join me while I go get the results?"
"No. I'll stay here." Again, J'onn had to hurry away so that Bruce wouldn't see him smile.
Bruce continued to watch the Princess. She kept the electrodes on as she walked over to a water cooler in the corner of the room. Pouring herself a glass, she drank the cool liquid greedily. When she was finished, she wandered over to the medical table and sat down. Stretching her arms above her head, she held them there for a few seconds before dropping them down by her sides. Closing her eyes, she started moving her neck around, turning it to the left and right, then slowly rolling it counterclockwise, before reversing the direction. The calm beats of her heart provided a peaceful soundtrack to her cool down.
She didn't even look up when she heard the door to the room open.
"So what did you find, J'onn?"
"Nothing out of the ordinary."
Diana's eyes snapped open when she heard those words. The rough, low voice was unmistakable, and it didn't belong to the Martian Manhunter.
They looked at each other silently for a second or two, but their attention quickly drifted to the heart monitor, which was beeping at a faster pace.
Batman walked over to the machine and began to push a few buttons. "That's odd."
Diana didn't find it quite so odd, but she was too embarrassed not to play along. "Maybe the electrodes slipped a little."
He looked up from the machine, catching the light pink that stained Diana's cheekbones. He valiantly fought against the smirk that he knew was coming. "That doesn't make sense."
Taking a few steps closer to Diana, Bruce noted with satisfaction that the beeps were occurring with greater frequency. "Even if the electrodes did shift, it isn't as if your heart contracts at different speeds at different parts of your body."
She disinterestedly offered, "You must have scared me then. I was expecting J'onn." Diana closed her eyes and began to breathe deeply, continuing her stretches as if Batman were not there. At least that is what she wanted him to believe.
But Bruce knew better.
With her eyes closed, she hadn't noticed that he was now within inches of her until she heard him whisper at her ear, "You're probably right." The room exploded with a flurry of noise caused by the fluttering of her heart.
Diana reached for the electrodes to yank them off as quickly as she could. Her actions were stopped by a gloved hand. "Actually, Princess, those need to stay on."
Wonder Woman stuttered, unable to speak eloquently with the incessant thudding of her heart humiliating her, "But the…I just finish-…J'onn said I could."
"That was before, when we thought your heart rate always stayed the same." He inched closer to her face, managing to keep a straight face as the beeps continued to echo through the room at a faster clip. "Clearly that is no longer the case and further tests are needed."
Diana crossed her arms in front of her chest and glared at him. "I don't see any need for this to continue."
"I'll try to make it clearer for you. The League needs to know your weaknesses and limitations. We wouldn't want your heart to give out in the middle of a fight. It's necessary that we know how your body will respond to the stresses of an actual battle." Bruce sounded as if he were delivering a lecture on enzymes found in the common fruit fly. It wouldn't have seemed so incongruous if he weren't also slowly moving his hands up and down her arms. "Do you understand now?"
Trying to feign annoyance, Diana looked up at the ceiling of the room, willing her cardiac muscle to stop, or at least slow down. It was torture.
She gasped when she felt his lips at the base of her throat. Torture!
"How do you know that…it's not anger that's causing...my heart to speed up?"
Bruce moved his head up so he could stare intensely at her while he asked, "Are you angry, Diana?"
Her chin lifted in defiance, and he watched as her chest rose and fell. She refused to look away, but she didn't answer him either.
"Good. Let's continue." His mouth tickled her skin as he spoke against her, slowly making his way across her collar bone, "If you were angry, I would have told you that you should learn to control your temper. Your heart sounds like it's about to burst."
"I highly doubt this would ever take place during an actual battle." She meant it as an insult, but even Diana knew she sounded too pleased for it to be taken as such.
Batman's unsmiling mouth was now hovering near her lips. It was all Diana could think about, apart from the finger that was running along her cheek. "You'd be surprised. Some villains fight dirty."
"So do some superheroes. You could just tell me that you like me."
"Don't be ridiculous, Diana. Now I need to you stay very still. I wouldn't want any outside movement messing with these results."
Before Diana could ask why, his mouth was on hers. Knowing that this wasn't for the purpose of data collecting, Diana welcomed his advances. She was no longer troubled by the incessant beeps. In fact, it had been a while since she had heard the annoying sounds of the monitor. It seemed to be drowned out by other sensory experiences she was having.
She quickly lost track of time, and it was only the sound of a voice over the intercom that interrupted their last exercise.
"Wonder Woman, I have the results. Would you like to see them as well, Batman?"
Without even the slightest trace of embarrassment, the caped crusader relinquished his hold on Diana and evenly stated, "I think I have all the information I need. J'onn, make sure to send me the new information."
Batman was already gone by the time Diana looked down and noticed that all the electrodes had been removed.
Diana tried to hide her embarrassment from J'onn as he walked in the room, but it was impossible. Even if he weren't a mind reader, her bright red cheeks were a dead giveaway.
"If it makes you feel any better, Wonder Woman, Batman's suit is linked to the Watchtower's computers."
"I don't see how…"
"He did it a while back as a safety precaution. In case anything were to happen to him, the League could be called in for help."
Seeing that Diana was still confused, the Martian elaborated a bit further.
"Whenever he is in the suit, it monitors all his vitals." He looked at her significantly. "All the time."
The devious smile from Diana warmed the alien's heart. "You're right. I do feel better. Thanks, J'onn. I owe you one."
"I hear there is a new flavor of oreos."
"I'll keep that in mind."
Batman stayed behind after the Justice League meeting, curious as to why Diana wanted to speak with him. It wouldn't have surprised him if she wanted to discuss the events from earlier in the day. He smiled as he thought about it. Maybe he had gone too far in the name of science, but he hardly regretted it. It was a very informative and enlightening experiment. No, it wouldn't surprise him at all, if that's what she wanted to talk about.
What did surprise him, however, was how quickly her fingers flashed across the keyboard. Within seconds, the door to their conference room was locked. Seeing what was going on, he brought his right hand to his left gauntlet.
"It won't work, though it's only temporary. I'll fix it when we're done. J'onn showed me how to override your commands. You would not believe how much he loves his oreos."
Bruce lowered his hands to his side and, though his heart was speeding up just slightly, he kept his voice perfectly even as he said, "Make it quick. I need to get back to Gotham."
Diana pursed her lips, perplexed. "That's interesting, because according to the computer in your suit, there are no alarms. No reason for you to return." Diana stalked towards him. "Gotham won't need you for a while."
Bruce brushed past her and stood in front of the closed door. In a venomous voice, he ordered, "Let me out."
Diana ignored him and drew closer to her test subject. She gently hung her arms around him from behind and smiled at how still he stood against her. Bringing her mouth to his mask, she dispassionately said, "I was thinking about what you said earlier…about knowing one's weaknesses and limitations, and I thought you wouldn't object to a few of my exercises."
Deciding the fastest way out of here would be to play along, Batman turned around and smiled at her, trying to draw her in. "Shouldn't we move this to the medical facilities? You don't have the proper equipment in here." As soon as she opened the door, he planned on making a mad dash for the javelin.
He held his breath as she brought her hand up to his jaw and slowly, excruciatingly traced the outline of his face. "That won't be necessary. We have everything we need right here."
"Nice try, Princess."
"But, Batman, I haven't done anything. Yet. Save your compliments for later. Now why don't you take a seat?"
Knowing that he was better at these games than she was, he decided that he could hold out longer than her. He sat down in his usual seat and waited for her to sit next to him. She took her seat on his lap, letting her head rest against his chest. The smell of her hair drifted up to his nose, and Bruce could feel his heart beat out a furious rhythm.
After a few intense moments, Diana raised her head to look at his face, a slight pout decorating her mouth. "Well, that's not going to work. I thought I would be able to hear through your suit."
"Looks like we're through." He tried to stand, but Diana pushed him back into the chair, her eyes brightening as if she just had a brilliant idea.
"Now I need you to stay absolutely still." She smiled when he growled at her. "We wouldn't want anything interfering with the results." Bruce gripped the sides of the chair as he waited for what was next.
"I think if I can locate that artery, the one in your neck…what is it called?"
"I can't believe I forgot that." She took his chin gently in her hand and turned his face to the side, pressing a kiss to his jaw. "Thank you. Now once I locate your carotid artery, I should be able to feel your pulse." Her hands applied a light pressure as they ran over his shoulders all the way down to his hands, which she moved to her waist. "I would try the pulse point in your wrist, but unfortunately it's covered."
Her fingers now played at the fringes of his cowl before moving down to his neck. "It's a bit difficult to get access to, what with your mask practically covering it." She bit her lip in mock worry. "I know how obliging you've been so far, but if you don't mind, Bruce..."
Batman shifted beneath her. It was the first time she had called him that. Ever. Since the mission in Kasnia, she hadn't dropped any further hints that she knew his identity. They both had avoided that conversation until now, and he saw no reason for that to change. He refused to acknowledge that that was his name, but he made no move to stop her.
Diana shifted his mask to the side, making sure that his face stayed covered, but that his neck was completely exposed. Once her fingers found his pulse, she lowered her face and pressed her lips against it. She held still for a few seconds before trailing light kisses over his neck. It didn't last long.
"I'm sorry, Batman. I can't keep track of your heart rate. It's too much. But I have one last thing we can try, and then I promise I'll let you go."
She lifted his hand and kissed his gauntlet covered skin. Then she flipped open the panel he had there, staring at all the buttons as if perplexed. "Well, that might not work."
Bruce snapped the covering shut. "And with that, I think it's time for me to go."
Diana trapped him in the chair again and met the challenge in his eyes with a devastating smile. She quickly moved her lips so that, while they weren't touching his, he could feel them. "Computer, begin monitoring Batman's vitals." And then her lips crashed into his.
Three seconds later, she pulled back, looked over at the monitor and watched as the green lines spiked across the huge screen. "Your heart's racing." And then she was kissing him again. Just as she felt him respond, she pulled back. He allowed her to do that a few more times, and each time it happened she would state the beats per minute, and it was always higher.
She pulled back again and smiled. "It's a good thing you're in such great shape, Batman. Otherwise I think your heart might expl--" Bruce pulled her face down to his and stopped her gloating. Pretty soon the only sounds that could be heard were loud beeps, ragged breathing, and their lips making contact over and again.
And then a much less pleasant sound joined the chorus.
"Whooaaa! I thought we weren't supposed to use the equipment for 'recreational purposes.'"
Diana felt Bruce's body go tense underneath hers. Turning her head toward the door and away from Bruce, she smiled at the slack-jawed man standing there. "Oh, hi, Flash! Batman and I were just running some tests."
"Can I help?"
Batman glared at the intruder. "You can leave."
"Sorry for the interruption. Carry on." Flash gave them a brilliant smile before he disappeared in a scarlet blur.
Once the door was shut, Bruce issued the command, "Computer, stop monitoring Batman's vitals." The room went silent before Bruce said, "I thought the door was locked."
Diana shrugged. "I was bluffing. You could have left at any time. Well, I think I'm finished." She tried to stand up, but she was held fast in Batman's arms.
"And if I'm not?"
"Your physical is tomorrow, and I wouldn't want you to run out of energy. So no more tests."
Batman begrudgingly released her, and she walked over to the door. As it started to open, she called out over her shoulder, "But if you just want to kiss me, you can find me in my room."
After the door shut again, Bruce stood up and straightened his cowl. He waited for his heart to slow down before walking out of the conference room and over to Diana's quarters.