XIX

GOTHAM -- The world was left in shock after Ra's Al Ghul's somewhat successful attempt to destroy it, and apparently, "bad boy" Bruce Wayne also found this a little too bad for his liking. Gotham socialites are still reeling from the news of his broken engagement with Talia Head (née Al Ghul). Talia has left the city for New Cuba after making a ten-figure donation to relief efforts following her father's attack on six major world cities.

As for Brucie, he seems to be taking the news of Talia's departure well. Last night at a fundraiser for the surviving families of victims, he was seen enjoying the "company" of two buxom blonde women who were more than willing to ease his heartache by kissing away his pain – simultaneously.

Diana's mouth twitched. She hoped that neither of Bruce's new squeezes had super villains for fathers, or else she would have no choice but to interfere. With a smile, she folded the copy of the Daily Planet under her arm and made her way from the Watchtower commissary towards the viewing bay.

It had been three days since she had returned to the Justice League as a full-time member, and her timing couldn't have been more apt. There was much work to be done. Cities had to be reconstructed, relief efforts had to be implemented, and a fresh wave of criminals – emboldened by the daringness and scale of Ra's's scheme – had to be stopped.

And eight years away from the League had only increased her value as a teammate. Green Arrow and Flash clapped her back in appreciation every chance they got – and she hadn't stopped them from doing so yet – Shayera had wasted no time in making Wonder Woman's status as a leader known to all the members, and Clark…for the first time since Ra's's mass sacrifice, Clark smiled when he welcomed back his friend to the team.

He was already at the viewing bay when Diana arrived there. She went to stand next to him.

"It's beautiful," Clark said, the Earth reflecting in his eyes.

"It is," she agreed. Their fragile little planet was half-awash in the pale glow of the sun.

"I've been thinking," he began, "…maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Your friend is right." He motioned to the newspaper, referring to an editorial of Zari's published in the issue. "People are putting aside their differences and working together. There could be brighter days ahead."

"Of course there will be," she said with conviction.

This seemed to put him at ease. "What about you, are you doing okay?" he asked.

Diana stifled a smile at her friend's concern for everyone. "I'm fine," she promised, "Don't you do anything other than worry?"

Clark feigned surprise. "Not really, no," he played along, but then he became serious. "With all due respect to you and Bruce – you may be two of the most intelligent people I've ever met, but when it comes to matters of the heart, you both fall short."

She paused. "I think Bruce and I have finally reached a resolution."

He considered her. "Well," he conceded – the steadiness of her heartbeat was convincing enough – "both of you do seem like you're doing okay, so you must have done something right…finally," he couldn't help but add. Diana raised an eyebrow and Clark grinned in return; his spirits were lifted.

They stood together for some time longer, and when he left, she unfurled the newspaper and turned to Zari's editorial to read it yet again –

Throughout, Diana questioned what it meant to be at the crossroads of privilege and knowledge, of power and truth. This continuous struggle is precisely what makes her a superhero. It isn't her immortality or her Herculean strength or her ability to make men of all ages cry because of the way she fills out her armor. Diana is a superhero – is truly a Wonder Woman – because she demonstrates unimaginable fortitude in the face of adversity despite the limitations of her fundamental humanness.

Now more than ever we will need a new wave of such superheroes. Our villains are not criminals and aliens, however, but are our longstanding prejudices. Let us put aside our differences in the coming days as we face calamities on an unprecedented scale. Let us rise to the challenge and understand that we all stem from a common humanity. It will be difficult, and will at times even seem hopeless. But being with Diana has taught me that it is not impossible.

Thinking about Zari stung more than she cared to admit, but the prayer she offered for his happiness was sincere; the support and affection he had showered her with in their year together was enough to carry her for a long time. Her reverie was interrupted by Shayera's sharp voice. "Hey," she demanded as she stormed in, "Do you wanna wail on some bad guys with me?"

"When don't I?" Diana challenged with a conspiratorial smile.

Shayera beamed for a second, but then grew serious. "Unconnected imitation killings in three cities. Apparently there are Ra's sympathizers out there."

Diana's face grew dark. Here was one tragedy in the last few days that she couldn't come to terms with.

"We're looking into possible links to the Society of Shadows."

"The Society won't be the problem this time. Talia won't rest until she has reclaimed her father's name." Diana was unwaveringly certain about this.

"That might take a while," Shayera snorted as they headed for the hangar. "…You know," she added slyly, "if our bad guys are men, maybe they'll cry themselves into defeat because of the way you fill out your armor."

"Of course. The Herculean strength and immortality are just icing on the cake." They had learned long ago that embracing brief moments of lightheartedness was the only way they could brave up the courage to repeatedly face the horrors they encountered on the job. Fueled by adrenaline and an irrepressible sense of purpose, Diana and Shayera boarded a Javelin.

After making preflight adjustments, a voice from the Watchtower controls broadcast through the Javelin's console: "Wonder Woman, clear for takeoff."

It would be difficult, and even hopeless at times, but not impossible.


AN: Thank you to those of you who stuck with this story! It was nice to write, and I'm happy to get it out of my system.