Clark stirred slightly, kicking at his tangled sheets. His bed was not cool, as he preferred it, but warm. Still hot from what he had done earlier in the deep night. He blinked to glance around his room. Ah, so it hadn't been a dream.
The room was destroyed. Furniture lay twisted and broken, what few decorations he'd had on the wall were now shattered. As for the walls themselves, well...several holes had been punched through, and there were striped burn marks thanks to his own heated eyes. He only shrugged to himself as he surveyed the damage. It had been passion, angry, new and strange.
Diana was nestled against him, her head resting on his chest. She was not asleep, her eyes were staring forward and distant. She was far, far away. Clark blinked at the sight of her face. He had never seen her appear more open or young.
She had come to him hours earlier, furious and violent. There had been no words, only the landing of blows without reason, a battle without cause. She had changed things, twisting thier fight into something tenfold more dangerous and exciting. Clark had to know why.
His hand lifted to stroke her hair. "How do you feel?"
Another woman might have lied. But Diana was nothing if not unique. She hesitated and color came into her cheeks. "Strange. I've never felt this vulnerable. This exposed."
Clark raised a dark brow. "Never?"
"No men on Themyscera. I've only ever been undressed with the other Amazons. I've never even seen a man naked before tonight." Her eyes turned to his, then down again in a new embarrassment. Princess though she was, Diana came to the realization that she was a full woman now. It was a frightening and poignant moment.
Clark frowned slightly. "Were you afraid?"
Her fingers drummed lightly over his chest as her hand stretched, exploring him respectfully. "At first. When I saw your...ah, it. This hurt me, Clark. In a new way that I've never felt before. I hadn't known it would feel that way. I don't blame you," she reassured quickly, when he began shifting, intent to stand up and soothe her. "I know it wasn't you, Clark. It was only natural. I know you wouldn't hurt me."
Clark cleared his throat, somewhat chagrined for the way he'd acted. He hadn't even thought of her virginity until now. "I haven't been with many women." He confided. "I'd always been afraid of hurting them. It's been years since I-"
"I understand, Clark. Was I...did you enjoy it?" She asked, both hopeful and wary.
His hand moved down her back, to the dip of her waist. "Yes. You're a beautiful woman, Diana. Strong. But there's something..."
"I don't regret what's happened here tonight, but you didn't come here because you wanted me. You came because you were angry and wanted a man. Why?"
The truth of his words stung. Perhaps she had not thought this through. The last thing she wanted was to hurt Clark in her selfishness, he didn't deserve this, least of all from her. Again, he was surprised at her honesty when it came, full and true. "You're right. I wanted Bruce. I told him that, and he turned his back on me. I saw him on the news just before I came here. He was attending a gallery opening with a woman, this woman who does nothing but model clothes for the pleasure of men. Bruce only wants that kind of woman, and I offerred myself, I am the world's greatest fool." She buried her face in his chest, hiding this angry shame.
Princess of the proud Amazons, Wonder Woman herself, broken over a man?
Clark was not surprised by what she'd told him. Bruce had been deflecting her infatuation for months now...still, he wasn't thrilled to be informed that he was only second best.
She cleared her throat before going on. "It was just something Vixen said. That a woman should offer herself, that it was what men prefer."
Clark sighed, stretched. "Sometimes. Not always. You didn't offer yourself to me."
No, she'd only burst into his chambers, demanding he fight her. He'd refused but had been drawn into her rage and given her the battle she craved. Thinking back now, Clark realized he'd been played. Diana had fought him hard, twisting her body against his in an effort to arouse him. It had worked, and she had triumphed in her mad goal of having him take her to bed.
Diana blinked, forcing herself to meet his eyes. "I'm sorry, Clark. I was upset. I never should have come here."
She sat up, pulling the sheet up to cover her chest. He smiled slightly, thinking how odd it was that now, now, she wanted to be modest.
Clark didn't like to see her upset and tried to lighten her mood. "Don't apologize, Diana. It was wonderful."
She caught the joke and laughed with him. "It was super."
The tension lightened for a bright moment, and two very close friends were able to laugh at a very strange situation. She wondered if this was what it was usually like between lovers, laughing after hours of heated passion. There was so much she didn't understand.
Diana shook her head and moved to leave the bed. Clark held her back. "Diana. You don't have to leave. You can stay."
"I'm afraid that this will upset the others."
"If you don't want to, we won't tell anyone."
"You mean lie?"
"No. I mean keep this private, between the two of us. There's no one else in this room, Diana, it's your decision. If you want, this can go on for as long as you wish."
It was Clark offering himself to her now, leaving the possibility of something more than just friendship within her reach. There was great respect and honor between them, they would die for each other and very nearly had on several occasions; it wasn't the romantic love they had once hoped for with other people, but it was something worth consideration.
She hesitated before asking, wondering if he would even know. "...will doing this always pain me, Clark?"
"You have to understand that I will not come here as suits you. No Amazon jumps at a man's call."
"Diana. Giving yourself to me won't make you less of an Amazon. You'll always be Wonder Woman, but here, in this room, this bed, we're just a man and a woman."
"Or, a Kryptonian and a Daughter of Olympus." She smiled awkwardly.
"Or that. But as I said, it's up to you how we go from here."
"I need time, alone."
"I can walk you back to your room."
"What if someone sees us?"
"They won't suspect anything. They'll just see Wonder Woman and Superman walking through the ship. We only need to act natural."
"Something tells me you've done this before."
They moved off the bed, dressing quickly. Clark noticed the economy of her movements, her determination to cover herself so that he would not see more of her body than he already had. He could understand. As an Amazon, giving herself to a man, losing herself to passion was a sign of weakness. Diana was anything but weak, though Clark didn't know how to reassure her.
"You ripped my shirt. Do you have another?" She asked him, gesturing to the shreds of the shirt she'd been wearing earlier.
Clark nodded and moved to the heap of twisted metal that had been his dresser only a few hours before. He remembered that she'd slammed his head into it, and then he'd flipped her back and pinned her on the floor...
He pulled a sweatshirt from the wreckage and handed it to her. Diana kept her eyes down, afraid to see the condemnation she imagined she'd see in his gaze. Diana felt like a fraud, the weak type of woman who played men against each other, the very worst sort of woman. The kind of woman that undid all the Amazon ways.
Diana turned from Clark, dropping the sheet and pulling on his sweatshirt. Clark reached forward, bringing his arms around her waist, pulling her back against him. She did not resist.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of, Diana."
He didn't know why, but he dipped his head to plant a small, soft kiss on her clothed shoulder.
Diana said nothing, but left the room with him and did not fly away.
Clark kept track of any perceived suspicion from the people they passed as they crossed the ship. A few of the human workers gave them funny looks, though he soon realized that they were only surprised; it was a rare thing to see Superman out of his cape, even stranger to see Wonder Woman without her golden armor. They were both in sweats, for all intents to make it appear they'd been training together. However, Clark was relieved that the humans only took a look, shrugged and went on about their business.
Diana had been quiet during their long walk, her mind fixed on what she had done and how she felt. She glanced up to see J'onn walking in between walls and she started, fearful of his psychic abilities. She backtracked into Clark, who caught hold of her arm. She looked up at him to protest, but his eyes were cold steel. 'Act natural', she recalled what he'd said before they had left his room.
Luckily, the Martian only waved at them before walking through a wall. Diana let out a breath.
"Do you think he knew?"
Clark shook his head. "No. He has no reason to think we weren't just sparring with each other."
"Weren't we?" She was smirking at him now. Her voice had taken on a teasing edge. She sounded more confident, proud. Clark hoped Diana was returning to herself.
He smiled back to her. "In our own way, yes."
Her smiled faded slightly. They were before the door to her quarters. She crossed her arms protectively over her chest. "I...I need to be alone. Please, Clark."
Respectfully, he nodded. He did not try to embrace her, or press his luck for a good night kiss. There would be no point in pretending this had been a night of love between them. He stood before her, absorbing the rare sight of her face veiled in vulnerability. He didn't believe that he would see her this way again.
"Good night Diana."
Once inside the safe haven of her own space, Diana moved to her shower. It wasn't that Clark had repulsed her, she only wanted the heat, the steam, to aid in clearing her mind. In a fit of anger and this strange new jealousy, she had attacked Clark, first with the need to fight with a worthy opponent, but then it had all changed. She had kissed him, and Clark had taken things further- she would not play the victim. It had been Clark who had taken her to his bed, but she had not refused him.
Diana scrubbed at her skin, oddly pleased to find bruises on her hips and waist, where he had held her, directing her movements, showing her what it was when a woman gave herself to a man.
But did I give myself? I am an Amazon- I belong to no man!
She felt confused and afraid, an emotion so alien that it troubled her to name it. She feared what would happen if the others were to find out; she was ashamed, afraid to see Clark again. She had acted like a fool before him, blatantly using him as a substitute for Bruce. It had been a cruel thing to do, the guilt of hurting her friend weighed heavily on her heart.
Still, despite the pain of the act, and the anxiety she now faced as a consequence, Diana had to admit to herself that she had not found the act itself so terrible. It had only hurt for a few moments, and the rest of the time...
Would it happen again? Clark had said it was in her hands, that he would continue in this affair with her if she chose to take things forward. Diana sighed, unsure and frustrated now- it was true what Shayera had once told her, sex did complicate things. Yesterday she had been dreaming for the courage to approach Bruce, now she was faced with the choice to continue an affair with her friend or a return to the normalcy of spending her every night alone.
Did wonders never cease?
She thought of her mother, who had disgraced herself after being drawn in by Hades' charming words. Since learning of Hippolyta's weakness, Diana had feared the day would come when she too would succumb to a man and make a fool of herself.
Of course Clark was not Hades. He was not evil or selfish or cruel. He was...he was...Clark.
It would be a long night.
Across the ship, the Kryptonian was pondering the Amazon in the same way. Clark leaned against the door frame leading into his quarters and sighed as he surveyed the damage with fresh eyes. He and Diana had had no trouble at all in destroying his room, there wasn't an inch of his space that wasn't battered, shattered or burnt.
Next time we'll go into her rooms- no, wait, there probably won't be a next time.
It was a glum conclusion, but to Clark it made the most sense. Diana was already ashamed of what they had done, feeling she'd betrayed her heritage and their friendship in becoming intimate. He had already resigned himself to the thought that she would not let it happen again. Why should she? It was Bruce she wanted, Clark was simply the only man in the entire League who could have withstood her fury. That their fight had become something else was just an accident of passion. Their night had been little more than a one night stand.
It wasn't that he was in love with her, and he knew damn well that she didn't love him...it was only that he had grown lonely. It was not his style to see other couples and become upset at his own lack of a mate, but being the only one of his entire species had been weighing even more heavily on his mind since Kara had disappeared. Apparently his younger cousin had found a boy she liked enough to cross time with.
All Diana had to do was cross the ship and he would willingly enter into an affair with her, for as long as she wanted him. Perhaps they were just using each other, but it wasn't as if there were any illusions between them. The reality was that she was curious about men and he was lonely for a woman. Would it be so wrong if they satisfied each other for a time?
He sighed as he moved forward, heading to the smashed wall, his eyes scanning the floor. There it was. He bent to retrieve the framed photograph that he'd kept on a wall. His surprise that it had survived was muted slightly. The glass in the frame was shattered but the picture itself seemed all right. There, a 3x5 picture of Lois Lane. Jimmy had taken that picture and given it to him with a wink of understanding. Clark had often wondered just how much that kid understood.
In the picture, Lois was smiling, her typical vivacious self, so alive and beautiful...and married to her career, he reminded himself. Lois was no longer an option, if she'd ever been. She'd never known his identity, and they'd only seen each other while he was saving her life from one disaster or another. The woman had a knack for getting herself into trouble and he'd always been there to save the day.
She didn't even know his real name. He'd always just been Superman to her. Clark Kent was little more than an acquaintance to her.
He shook his head and set the broken photo frame aside. He would have to explain this mess to someone if he didn't clean it up by the time the teams assembled.
Quickly, Clark got to work.
Nearly a week went by without any word from Diana. Clark was not surprised, nor was he particularly upset over her decision. He'd expected as much. Why would Diana wish to continue seeing him when he was not the man she truly wanted? As for him, well, it would have been nice to have a woman who...but it was her decision to make, not his. He had to accept her choice and let them continue on as they had since the beginning. The Justice League was meant to unite heroes in protection of the earth, not act as some sort of networking service.
To get away for a while, Clark had resumed his life of being the mild-mannered man from Smallville, Kansas, with the dream of making it in the big city. He'd followed leads for his stories, caught up on whatever work there was to be done around his apartment, and even broke up a bank robbery without having to resort to Superman. Clark Kent had been hero for a day; Lois had even run a blurb about it in The Daily Planet.
And then, there was Lois. While Superman was half a world away, dealing with one monster or another, Clark Kent was in Africa, or the Himalayas, or miles deep in the Atlantic ocean, reporting mission work and e-mailing his stories directly to Perry, where they would end up in the Lifestyle section of the paper. It was a perfect cover; and on the days when the world wasn't in peril, even he could sit back and appreciate what the world had to offer.
Lois had been happy to see him in the office again, claiming that the floor had been a little too hectic without Smallville around to dampen the excitement. She'd meant that as a compliment, of course. He'd taken her to lunch on his first day back, to the burger joint they'd always gone to when things in the world were only a little less complicated, when all Superman had to worry about was the fate of Metropolis, not the entire galaxy.
She'd caught him up on all the latest gossip and everything that had happened in the city since he'd been gone, while he told her all about the things he'd seen and experienced while across the world. Her eyes had widened, her interest truly captured on him for the first time. They had never had much of a chance to sit down and talk, really talk to each other.
"So, Smallville, you ever find yourself a girlfriend while you were out there in the real world?"
He hesitated, wondering if he should tell her anything. "There was a woman, but I don't think much will come of it. We're too different, I think."
She nodded, genuine sympathy coloring her expression. "I know all about that. I was with someone for three months before everything fell apart."
Superman knew all about that, but Clark didn't. "Really? I had no idea! Do you mind if I ask...?"
Lois shrugged in the way he knew meant that she was hiding her feelings. She'd grown very adept at that. "I'm a career-focused journalist and he was criminally insane. Go figure. Maybe you'll have more luck than I did."
"I'm not that lucky."
"Well, I guess dating isn't for everyone, and it's certainly not for me, unless the guy wears a red cape. I just meant that maybe you'll find a girl-" Lois glanced at her cell phone, she'd just received a text from a lead. "I'm sorry, Smallville, I've got to go. Take care, I'll see you later, all right?"
He could barely answer as she flew out of the diner, though he watched as she hurried down the street.
Clark opened the door to his apartment and stepped inside, though his senses came alive with the certainty that he was not alone. "Who's there?"
His eyes shot to the hallway entrance that lead further into his space. Diana was standing there, just in shadow. "You knew I was here before you even opened the door."
He shook his head, "You overestimate me, I'm not so paranoid that I'm constantly looking through walls."
There was an odd flutter going through his chest, though he tried to ignore it. Diana moved further out of the hall and into the main living room. Carefully, she looked around. "I like your home."
He shrugged and set down the bag of groceries he'd brought in. "Thanks, though I can't take all the credit. My mom helped me decorate the place when I first moved in."
Diana looked up from a photograph she'd been looking at. "Your mother?"
"Yes. She and my dad are back in Kansas. I'm a little like you, I think. I left home to do greater good." He said, sorting through the bag, putting away the food.
He saw her pause at his words. Diana set down the photograph and took a seat on one of his bar-stools, watching as he put the food away in various cabinets and the refrigerator. The habits of people who lived in the modern world were strange to her. "You know why I'm here."
Clark looked up. "I don't. Tell me."
Her black brows arched slightly as he moved to stand before her. Diana stood from her seat and looked him in the eye, all traces of her past shame were gone. "I want to...know you."
It was a bold statement, but did she really mean it?
"Me, or just a man?"
She faltered. "What do you mean?"
"Lois loves Superman but wouldn't give Clark Kent a second look. It's silly, I know, but I need to know who you're here for."
She put a hand on his shoulder. "After I learned your name I never called you Superman. You've been Clark to me. I...if I know you, then you will know me as well."
Clark nodded, understanding what she meant, what was at stake between them. "So, what now Diana?"
She glanced back, toward the hallway that she knew lead toward his bedroom. "I thought we might..."
"I mean, are you sure that you want this?"
She took a breath. "Yes."
Clark smiled. "Come here."
He kissed her then, freely and without hesitation. The woman responded, eager to learn and happy to be taught by him. When they parted, it was she who protested, commanding, "Kiss me Clark."