A/N—This story takes place about six months after Destroyer. I am tweaking Donna's origin story to fit in with the animated universe.
Spoilers—Maid of Honor, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Disclaimer—I don't own Justice League or any characters in the DC Universe and I don't own the lyrics to "There She Goes" and am making no money from this story.
There she goes, there she goes again
She calls my name, pulls my train
No one else could heal my pain
And I just can't contain
This feelin' that remains
—"There She Goes" by the La's
Chapter 1-There She Goes
"Clark, why the late meeting? I have dinner plans in an hour." Diana asks tersely, her normally soft, velvety voice hardened with impatience.
Batman stops as he hears her voice and pauses to the side of the open conference room door.
"Batman has found important information on a new drug being produced in Bludhaven so he called an emergency meeting."
"Figures," Diana sighs. He hears her dialing her cell phone then she starts speaking in a soft tone.
"Hi King. I'm sorry there's been a last minute crisis with the League so I may be a bit late."
Batman hears her chuckle softly.
"That's right it is always like that in this business. So instead of picking me up at the embassy, I'll meet you at the restaurant when the meeting is over. That way I shouldn't be too late."
She laughs softly again and her voice takes on a husky note "Yeah, I am really looking forward to seeing you too. Bye."
Batman stares blindly at nothing as he feels a tightening in his chest.
'Diana was just flirting on the phone with King Faraday. She has a date with him. When and how did this happen,' his shocked mind screams.
'What did you expect? She is a smart, beautiful woman. Did you think nobody noticed but you, genius?' A sarcastic inner voice quips.
But. 'But nothing, you've strung her along for years, drawing her in and then pushing her away when things became serious. And in the last year you've only seen her maybe ten times and only spoken about half a dozen words to her at best at each meeting.'
Because of Tim. 'Keep telling yourself that. She tried to be a friend to you during that ordeal and you shut her out. She has always been more of a friend to you than you have been to her. You can't blame her for moving on.' the inner voice sneers.
"Forget how to walk through a door, Batman?" the jocular voice of Nightwing cuts through Bruce's reverie. Nightwing had joined the League a year ago at Bruce's request, to help cover for him after Robin's kidnapping and torture by the Joker.
Bruce glares at him, then turns and walks into the conference room.
His eyes immediately seek out Diana. She sits in her usual chair, with her legs crossed and a slightly impatient expression on her face. His senses swim at the sight of her. He always feels a little better after seeing her. It is practically the only reason why he has come to the Watchtower in the past year. He hasn't seen her in two months and is unprepared for his reaction to her.
In the past he usually has buried his emotions down deep before seeing her, but her phone call to King rattles him. Diana looks up at him and raises an eyebrow. It is enough to make his heart race. He smoothly sits down and starts going through his notes, his exposed face revealing nothing of his feelings. He sees nothing he is looking at but it gives him time to get himself under control.
'She can't be dating someone else,' he denies to himself. He has made a point of noting her relationships with other men. Clark and she have always been close but more in a brother sister sort of way, though he sometimes wonders how much he owes Lois Lane for this occurrence. He shudders to think what their relationship would be if not for Lois's choke hold on Clark's affections. Ditto for all the other original male leaguers, especially Flash. Long Shadow had had a crush on her but Diana seemed to view herself as more of a mentor to him than anything else before he died.
He had worried when they asked Ollie to join the League that he would go after Diana. Bruce couldn't have been happier when he showed an immediate interest in Dinah Lance. Most of the other new male recruits seem too awed by her to flirt. In fact, the only person he has ever seen her seriously flirt with was himself.
How has King slipped in under the radar? She had mentioned him in passing a few times this past year but it always pertained to work. He actually likes Agent Faraday better then most of the government operatives they've had to work with. He didn't have an agenda, he treated situations fairly and he was pretty good about sharing information.
Bruce's mind is reeling with the thought of Diana dating and he cannot seem to concentrate on anything else.
'Get it together, you're about to conduct a meeting and you're acting like a jealous teenager. Remember focus, control and breathing. Pretend she is not there like we always do,' the Bat finally asserts himself. Just in time, too, because Superman is starting the meeting.
"Batman and Nightwing have called this meeting because Nightwing received information about a new drug lab in Bludhaven," he begins.
"A new drug lab anywhere is awful but how does this affect the League? Usually you handle drug dealers yourself," Diana states, irritation apparent in her voice.
"The type of drug they are producing is an age reversal drug. Nightwing was able to procure a sample, and after analyzing it I have identified several chemicals usually only found in a Lazarus pit," Batman states in a cold voice.
"So you think Ra's al Ghul is involved," Superman quickly interjects. "We haven't heard from him in over seven years and we thought he was dead."
"Ra's is a long term planner and seven years is nothing for him, but it could also be another member of the League of Assassins." Batman states.
"Like Talia," Nightwing speaks up for the first time.
"Whomever it is," Batman glares at Nightwing, "they are planning to manufacture this drug and sell it at a high premium that only the richest people will be able to afford. According to Nightwing's sources, though, there are problems with the drug. The anti-aging effects are only temporary and prolonged use of the drug can induce insanity."
"So what do you propose the League do at this time?" Green Lantern asks.
"First off, we need to find out who is behind this drug, because if it is Ra's there is going to be a bigger more deadly plan than just making money." Batman looks around the room carefully avoiding Diana.
"We cannot shut down the lab because it is our only link to whomever is behind the production of the drug and we need to find that person to identify how serious this problem is, and I need the League's manpower and resources to surveil the lab and go though all the information that Nightwing has gathered." Batman requests.
"I have also dealt with Ra's in the past and if he is involved the League needs to be part of this investigation," Superman states. "I vote we help Nightwing and Batman, anybody opposing." The room remains quiet.
"Great. Batman, how would you like to proceed."
"I would like Nightwing to coordinate with Shayera on the information he has as she has experience investigating drug rings, and I'll work on a surveillance schedule."
"I would be happy to help, Batman, but John and I are leaving on a diplomatic mission to Kalandor in a week," Shayera says.
Batman is sensitive to the fact that this trip to another planet was more than a diplomatic mission for the recently reunited couple. He may not be able to figure out his own love life but isn't into screwing with others.
"See what you can do before you go. You're one of the best detectives in the League, and you can probably get a lot done."
"Praise from the Batman. Are you feeling all right." Shayera smirks as Diana lets out a little giggle.
Batman glares at her. "Not praise, just the facts," he replies in a cold voice.
"Well, is there anything else Batman?" Bruce shakes his head no. "If nobody has anything to add, I guess this meeting is adjourned," Superman states.
Diana leaves the room with all of the speed of Hermes, making Flash seem almost slow. To Bruce, it feels like someone is stabbing him in the heart. The world seems a bit dimmer somehow.
'You are pathetic. We decided a long time ago that we didn't want her interfering with the mission. Get over it already, she's moving on and you don't need her,' the Bat's cold reasoning took over. Bruce wishes it to be true, but he is afraid it isn't.
Nightwing and Shayera are scanning through the folders he had brought along and they decide that Shayera will go through the materials and they will get together tomorrow to go over any theories she can come up with.
"Nightwing, if you two are finished I could use your help back at the Cave," Batman says as he exits the room and heading toward the transporters. The sooner he leaves the Watchtower the better.
Nightwing catches up with Batman in the hall. He doesn't say anything but he knows something is bugging Bruce.
There is a line at the transporters as there was a mine cave-in in Tennessee, which needs immediate assistance. Bruce turns as he hears Nightwing wolf whistle.
"Man Wondy, you look hot," Nightwing blurts out.
Bruce is stunned. She is wearing the red dress. A vision of her floating down onto a balcony in Paris flashes before his eyes. Bruce's sense of loss quickly turns to rage.
"Thank you, Nightwing," Diana smiles as she replies, "I haven't seen you in a while, how are things going?"
"Between Bludhaven, work and Starfire I haven't had much free time." Dick has started dating Koriand'r again after her return for Tamaran a few months ago. "So do you have a hot date?" he flashes his most charming smile.
Diana laughs, "Why, yes I do…"
Bruce doesn't hear anymore of their conversation. 'How can she wear that dress on a date with someone else?' A furious voice hissed inside his head. That dress is from their mission in Paris and Kasnia, where he couldn't stop himself from dancing with her again*, where he waited hours for her to come back to her hotel room and where she figured out who he was.
'She's over you and Paris doesn't mean anything to her anymore. That's why she can wear that dress on her date,' the Bat states inside his head with cool logic. 'Let it go already, she isn't a part of the mission.'
Unfortunately, the Bat can't completely control Bruce's feelings when it comes to Diana. He wants to rip the dress right off her and drag her back to her room and yell at her for dating somebody else. His hands itch to do it. He clenches them into fists under his cape.
Doesn't she realize that he needs her, that she has kept him going this past year after the Joker nearly destroyed Tim.
'How is she to know? You do your best to ignore her when she is around. There is only so much a person can take. Face it, you've lost her all on your own," a sad little voice speaks inside his mind.
"Diana, why don't you go first, we wouldn't want you to be any later for your date," Nightwing offers. Bruce just glares at him, wanting to smack that smile off his face.
Diana quickly steps up onto the platform and is transported away. Bruce stares at her as she vanishes. Somehow his hope seems to vanish with her.
*I have Bruce and Diana first dancing together in my first story "Under the Milky Way"
So this is the first chapter. I will try to update soon and I hope you enjoyed the story. Please review if you get a chance; feedback is appreciated.