Author's Note/disclaimer: they're not mine, and they're not gay. But they ARE nice to look at.
I've been giggling over this idea for the longest time. This is set very early on in the JL cartoon timeline… Diana is fresh off the island and has had very little interaction with "normal people" in Man's World.
Wondy goes to Wal-Mart
Wonder Woman wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Superman seemed optimistic. Hawkgirl just looked pissed. GL was frowning and concentrating and trying to ignore the Flash, who was being obnoxious and needing to feel needed. J'onn was standing by solemnly, sympathizing with everyone. And Batman looked like everyone was wasting his time.
"Uhn!" the green light from John's ring fizzled out.
"Well? Can you fix it?" Flash asked, eagerly good-natured.
"Oh, I can fix it," John assured him. "But not just with willpower. This job needs a roll of duct tape, a knife with a gut-hook, three popsicle sticks, four feet of 30-amp dryer cord, a caulking gun, a USB cell phone charger, a ping pong ball, a lithium ion-powered wrench, a carbon filter, a bug zapper, and a rotisserie chicken."
For a moment, not even Flash could come up with anything to say.
"What?" John asked defensively, meeting his teammates' blank looks. "The chicken's for dinner. This job's goin' to take awhile."
The sound of snaps being unsnapped and velcro being unvelcroed suddenly drew everyone's attention to Batman, who stepped forward and wordlessly deposited most of the requested items at John's feet.
Everyone stared. Superman looked exceptionally concerned.
Batman's voice and expression were utterly emotionless. "Belt," he stated, the obvious answer to the unasked question.
There was a collective "oh" from the other League members, although most of them still looked a bit incredulous.
Flash looked at the pile of stuff, and then gave Batman a huge grin. "Aww, no bug-zapper?" he teased.
Batman scowled. "I've got one at the cave," he muttered. "I'll be en route."
"Don't worry about it, Bats, I can just run over to Wal-Mart real quick and get the last few things. I'll be back in a—well, you know."
He was about to take off when Wonder Woman spoke up. "Wait," she commanded. "I've heard of this 'Wal-Mart'. Is it not an inter-dimensional realm which supplies required items?"
Flash smiled at her. "Uh, yeah—basically that's exactly what it is," he said brightly.
"May I accompany you?" She asked, her wide sapphire eyes compellingly vivid. "I'd like to see this 'Wal-Mart' for myself."
"Sounds great!" Flash said, even though he was looking to Superman for permission as he said it.
Superman nodded. "It'll be a good experience for you," he said kindly to Diana. "I have to warn you though, Wal-Mart's not exactly 'inter-dimensional'. It's just a store. Just a big store full of people and the things we need to buy."
Diana beamed at him. "Sounds fascinating," she said.
It started in the parking lot. She grabbed his arm, which both startled and delighted him. "Flash. What is that?"
Flash looked, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. "What's what?"
Wonder Woman's stare had an unnatural intensity about it. It bordered on predatory. "That." She didn't point, thank goodness, but Wally followed her gaze and realized that she was referring to an extremely obese man sitting on a motorized shopping scooter.
"Oh, uh, that's a special…cart, kind of. You know, for people who can't get around so easily on their own. Wal-Mart's got like, a couple acres of floor space, so..."
"Not the cart," Wonder Woman specified. "The being riding on it."
Flash rubbed the back of his neck. "The being, huh? Umm… looks like a regular, uh, person, to me," he said uncomfortably.
"Surely not a human person," Wonder Woman said.
One look at Wonder Woman told him that she was serious, and Flash stopped in his tracks. "Come on now, Princess, that's uncalled for."
She turned those eyes on him. "What do you mean?"
"You can't go around saying people aren't people just because of how they look. Sure, that guy probably ate a sumo wrestler for breakfast, but he's still human."
Diana blinked, amazed. "I had no idea that humans could look like that," she said. There was nothing disdainful in her tone—she was being completely straightforward.
Flash laughed. "Give me a break. You think everybody has the body of a Greek god?" he froze, remembering who he was talking to, where she came from. "Wait. Come to think of it…" he floundered for a minute, wondering how to ask his question. "…Aren't there any… fat people… on Themyscira?"
"Of course not," Diana replied. It was a simple statement of fact.
"Uh, wow. I mean, I didn't really think there were, with you all being Amazon warriors and everything. But yeah. Out here in Man's World, Princess, people come in all shapes and sizes." He grinned confidently, patted her shoulder. "You'll get used to it."
Diana walked proudly through the store, observing the people around her. She got a few stares back, mostly due to her costume. She was still pretty new to the super-hero scene; not many people recognized her. They knew the Flash; they waved and smiled and greeted him. But they just stared at her.
Superman had warned her that going out in public in her usual outfit might attract some unwanted attention from the men. But Diana found that it was actually the women who stared at her most harshly—in criticism of her fashion sense, in jealousy of her figure, even in outright contempt—one elderly woman looked at her bare thighs and called her a tramp right to her face.
But that didn't bother her. Not really. No, what bothered her was the fact that wherever she looked, she saw another human being who, in her eyes, didn't fit the mold for was supposed to be 'human'. There was one woman who was skin and bones; the knobs of her spine protruding from the back of her neck like spikes on the back of a dinosaur. There was a slender, supple teenager, with long hair and long limbs, whose very gender was indeterminable. There was a man with one leg shorter than the other, and one arm curled permanently to his chest. There were old people- wrinkled, hunched, sagging, shuffling old people. Degenerate people- greasy, red-eyed, foul-smelling people with potbellies and brownish teeth and dirty hands. And obese people were everywhere. Even some of the children were fat.
It angered her, only because she hadn't known. Why hadn't anyone told her that so many regular people were so… ugly, so deformed? She hated thinking of them in those terms, but the standards for human beauty were clear. They'd been set in stone millennia ago. Carved in marble.
Sculpted from clay.
When they made it back to the Watchtower, Diana was quiet. She left Flash to help GL with the repair project, and made her way to the monitor womb.
Superman and Batman were in there, talking to each other. Batman looked somewhat less imposed-upon than usual, listening as Superman told him about something that had happened earlier in the day. He glanced over as Wonder Woman walked in, and nodded to her once before returning his attention to Superman.
It occurred to her that she wouldn't have been aware of his recognition of her presence if she hadn't been looking for it. Superman looked up and smiled.
"Diana," he said. "Welcome back. How was Wal-Mart?"
"Enlightening," she said crisply, and took a seat at one of the consoles, pretending to be interested in what was on the screen.
Apparently satisfied with that answer, Superman looked back at Batman and continued his story. "So anyway, like I was saying…"
As their conversation continued, Diana found her eyes constantly drawn to them. There was no doubt about it—after her excursion amidst the patrons of Wal-Mart, she was seeing her Justice League teammates in a whole new light.
They were tall and strong, of course--Batman looked taller at the moment, since he was standing, while Superman was sitting on the edge of a console, his legs stretched out in front of him, one crossed over the other at the ankles. Superman's bright colors captured her attention first, but she quickly dismissed him. He was physically perfect, but like her, he had an excuse. Hadn't Krypton been an advanced civilization? Perhaps there never were any malformed Kryptonians.
Batman was a different story. She turned her focus to him, studying the shape of his torso. She'd seen his armor, admired the chevron-shaped seams that allowed the panels to flex, to crease when he moved. It was all very form-fitting and sleek, but when he was wearing it, the plates protecting his chest and abdomen prevented her from seeing the true shape of his body.
Her eyes trailed lower. His hips were slanted, his left leg straight, his right leg bent at the knee. It was a natural pose, completely candid—and it just so happened to be providing her with a perfect view of his legs.
The man had amazing legs. There was no armor there, just muscle.
If 'the body of a Greek god' set the standard, Batman exceeded it. And now Diana was conscious of just how rare an exception that was. She knew now that a body like Batman's just wasn't normal. Not even close. Was it one out of a thousand humans who had legs like that? One out of ten thousand?
She was still staring. Batman glanced at her and frowned in annoyance, and then casually hunched his shoulder so that his cape fell over it, effectively curtaining off her area of interest. He paused for an instant to see if she's react—she had to know that he'd caught her staring at him.
But without so much as a blink, all she did was slide her eyes over to Superman. Batman bit the inside of his cheek a bit and decided that he didn't care.
Superman was still talking, and Batman got back to listening to him.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman was staring at those famous blue tights. It seemed to her that Superman's legs weren't quite as bulky as Batman's. Maybe it had something to do with his flying ability. She suspected that Superman didn't actually have to use any of his muscles to fly around, but of course Batman had to rely on his legs to carry him and all his gear wherever he went. Unlike Superman's, his muscles were used. Perhaps overused.
Batman glanced at her again, but she was too focused on Superman to realize it.
Superman, she had to admit, definitely fell into the 'body of a Greek god' category. Everything about him from his neck to his arms to his calves was thick, but still managed to look weightless. Batman, by comparison, always looked heavy, the way a cast-iron statue always looked heavy while a marble statue often did not.
Batman and Superman. Every inch of them iconic. And comparing them, she was realizing, was a captivating exercise. Her eyes traced the menacing hunch of Batman's shoulders, and then the proud arch of Superman's chest, and she found herself reminded of the differences between a horse and a bull. A bull could have a sort of a nobleness about it, but it was usually an angry and doomed and unfriendly creature. Its strength was dangerous. A horse, on the other hand, could be proud and powerful, but was a more helpful animal. And its strength was always graceful.
She smiled, enjoying the analogy.
Batman noticed, and couldn't help but feel aggravated. She was still staring, staring at Superman. She'd never done that before. It was completely unnecessary, completely unprofessional. It was out of character. What was she looking at?
Keeping his face expressionless, he gave Superman a once-over. That crayon-colored costume with its unintentionally monarchial cape, that alien initial on his chest—understood the world over as the symbol of the impossible ideal man. The way he slouched gracefully. Those bare hands that almost ruined the picture; they looked too human—you believed Clark Kent when he told you he was raised on a farm, with hands like that. But of course you believed him even if you didn't shake his hand. He was… believable that way. Until you got down to those ridiculous red boots. Where the hell did he get those, anyway? When was he going to start living in the real world??
Abruptly, Batman realized that Superman had stopped talking. He jerked his eyes back up to Clark's face; Clark was looking at him in incredulous suspicion.
"…are you… okay?" Superman asked him, a bit awkwardly.
"Of course. Go on." Batman growled.
But Superman wasn't convinced. He lowered his eyebrows. "Were you just…"
Batman didn't even let him ask. "Wonder Woman has been staring at you," he said, by way of deflection/explanation/accusation.
Superman looked over at her, surprised. "Diana?" he asked.
"I've been staring at both of you," she clarified.
"Why?" Batman demanded, reminding them that one-worded questions were still his specialty.
She spoke clearly and with confidence. "Because you have unnaturally beautiful bodies. I know that the Justice League is comprised of the elite, but I hadn't realized until today that regardless of our special abilities, all of us seem to be physically, aesthetically perfect."
"It took you until now to notice this?" Batman asked.
"I noticed, but I thought nothing of it until I saw for myself what normal people look like," she countered. "And now I find it interesting that having a perfect physical form seems to be a prerequisite for being one of earth's greatest heroes."
They both reacted to that. Batman grit his teeth. "The fact that I keep myself in shape is the only thing that qualifies me to be here," he stated.
Superman frowned at him. "That's not true, Batman," he said. "You deserve to be here for lots of reasons."
"But what about you?" Diana asked Superman. "Why are you shaped as you are? Wouldn't you still have all your powers if you were short, or thin, or obese? If one of your limbs was deformed, if your teeth weren't straight, if your nose was too big, wouldn't you still be Superman?"
He was quiet for a minute, and then he looked up, clear-eyed. "I hope so," he said. "I really don't believe that what a person looks like determines who they are."
If Batman had heat vision then, he would have blasted a hole through Superman's skull.
Superman seemed to feel his glare anyway. "What?" he asked, looking defensively at Batman.
"It's the fact that you exist," Batman said.
Clark smiled, made a muscle with one arm, and patted his bicep with his other hand. "I'm just an ordinary corn-fed Kansas boy," he said warmly.
Diana was confused. "Corn-fed?"
"It's a livestock reference," Batman grumbled, explaining. "It's what they feed cattle. And, apparently, things that are just as dumb as an ox."
Diana looked amused. "It's funny that you mention oxen," she said. "I was actually comparing you to a bull, as I was studying you earlier."
Batman scowled. The way she'd said 'you' made it clear that she'd compared Clark to something different. "What about him?" he asked, even though on some level he knew that he shouldn't have.
"Superman reminds me of a horse," she said, totally straightforward. "A large one. Perhaps a Clydesdale."
Nobody's eyes went anywhere. "Well, thanks," Clark said after a minute, seeing no reason to be offended.
Batman smirked. "You might want to keep that to yourself," he said to Diana.
She blinked at him. "Why?"
"Ask Shayera." He turned to leave.
"Do I remind you of any farm animals?" Diana challenged, utterly fearless.
Suddenly there was something ominously foreshadowing between them. Batman had a very, very bad feeling about the question he'd just been asked.
"No," he told her definitively, turning his back. "Definitely not."