Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Um, I don't really know how to explain this. I have been going through a phase where I kind of hate the way I write. So that explains the present tense below. It's not permanent. I'll just keep it in this series of stories, which are all related to some color. I think. Maybe they are just random one-shots.
Thanks again, KN, for beta-ing this. In gratitude, I'm giving you a fishing pole and life vest. And a lime green tackle box. Weee! For Hepburn, who lets me send her my unfinished stuff, I give a Hamm sandwich. :D
No stranger to heights, Bruce's current position, precariously perched high above the floor, does not faze him. He leans forward, causing the ladder to tilt, hand outstretched toward the can of light green paint on the ladder next to him. A slight burn travels up his forearm as he carefully adjusts his weight, enabling him to finally dip his brush in the container.
"What are you doing?"
The sharp tones break his concentration, upset his balance, and he feels the ground rush towards him. Out of reflex, he shuts his eyes, twisting his body, preparing for the jarring impact of flesh against wooden floorboards.
A metallic clang fills the room, declaring that the ladder and can of paint have fallen victim to gravity. His descent, however, is halted by her capable and soft hands. He opens his eyes and sees past her. The sage green stain seeps into the floor and he can do nothing but glare. "You should have got the paint instead."
Diana follows his gaze, looking over her shoulder then back at him. "The floor can be replaced; you can't."
Extricating himself from her arms, he blandly says, "It wasn't even fifteen feet. I've survived worse."
The curve of her brow indicates how little she cares for his reasoning, or perhaps it is the floor she does not like. She is so difficult to please these days.
"Which brings us back to the original question, 'What are you doing?'"
Gesturing with the paintbrush, which he somehow managed to hold on to in spite of his tumble, he says, "Isn't it obvious?"
"Obviously not, or I wouldn't be asking."
"Look, I just wanted—"
"To not consult me. To have things your way. Show me I'm incapable of doing anything."
He waits until the tirade is over, squeezing the life out of the brush's handle all the while. That he had done this as a favor for his rather stressed other half is easily forgotten. Eyes narrowed, he forces out, "I wanted to surprise you."
The admission does wonders for her face. The wrinkle between her brow irons out; the squinted appearance of her eyes is counteracted, and now the blue orbs stare back at him, wide and wet, as her lower lip trembles under some unspoken strain. She turns and walks to the window, cocooned in silence and her arms, shutting him out yet again.
Ignoring the quickly drying paint, Bruce approaches her. Unsure of what to do or what kind of reaction he will receive, he draws side by side with her. The manicured lawns of his estate are spread out before him, darkened by the gray clouds of an afternoon drizzle.
He clears his throat, tries to clear the air and hates that he failed. She takes a step forward, a step away, and he knows the action is designed to draw attention from the small sniffle that just sounded in her nose.
Shaking his head, he draws near again, wrapping his arm around her waist. His hand rubs her stomach before settling under its swell. The rounded protuberance still makes him smile. Her silent sobs, on the other hand, do not.
"The color is called peas in a pod. If you don't like it, I can paint it over with something else."
"It's not the color; it's you."
Those two words bring up all the old questions, all the anxieties and insecurities. Their magic works more effectively than any stick, stone, or broken bone has ever done. The physical weapons and pain could slow, perhaps temporarily stop him. But it is her words that still him, and he thinks if she leaves, if she abandons him, there will be no scars because the wounds will never heal.
An aching rigidity seeps into his bones as he stands there waiting for her to withdraw from his world and tell him everything has been a mistake. The seconds pass, bringing with them even worse terrors and scenarios, but she does not move, and so neither can he.
Finally her head tilts back and finds purchase on his shoulder, and her body sags against him. The weight and its implication—he is wrong—would make his knees buckle if she didn't need him to uphold her. "You've been so perfect, and I'm a wreck."
Still in the throes of relief, he can just barely make the excuse, "Diana, it's the hormones." It is half-hearted, and he knows she can tell. She turns into him, hiding her face in his chest. "I hate being like this. This emotional rollercoaster is humiliating. How can you stay so calm?" He can barely make out the words muffled in his chest, but he hears them and feels them, and they bring an ironic twist to his lips.
"Because you need me to." Because you need me, too.
"I do." She stares up at him, eyes full of gratitude, and he again feels stupid for thinking she would ever leave him.
"So, this color is really called peas in a pod?"
"I thought it fit." He can't help himself and runs his fingers against her swollen stomach one more time.
"I like it."
"Good, because I think it's permanently stained into the floors."
A/N: I know it's weird. Please don't hate. :D