Diana had just finished breakfast and was going over some paperwork when a knock sounded at the door of her suite. She opened it and beamed with delight when she saw Clark standing there. She thought he looked handsome wearing a white buttoned-down shirt and dark pants. "What are you doing here so early? The press conference doesn't start for hours."
"I know. But I thought that if you didn't have any plans, we could spend some time together before you leave."
"Oh? And how would we do that? I don't think it would be a good idea to be in this room alone for that long." The twinkle in her eyes brought out a grin to Clark's face.
"That's why we're going out. I want to take you on a personal tour of Metropolis."
"Clark, people will recognize us." Diana shook her head. "We've been featured all over the news, remember? As soon as we step out onto the lobby, we'll be intercepted by the press."
"That's why I got us each a pair of these." He pulled out black rimmed eyeglasses from his pocket, and set his pair on his face. "As unbelievable as it seems, people will not recognize us if we put these on. I tried them on earlier at the Planet, and the people I work with said I look completely different. I had to tell them that I was blind without glasses, so I'll be wearing these from now on. And in the lobby just now, no one questioned me about you. Just change into something plain and simple. And maybe put your hair up." She still looked skeptical, so he added, "Diana, this will work."
She wanted to believe him. "Very well. We can try this."
Diana went to the bedroom to change. She emerged a few moments later dressed in a white knee-length wrap dress with capped sleeves. And even with her hair pulled up, she was still breathtakingly beautiful. Clark had second thoughts that she would be able to pull off the disguise.
"Will this suffice?" Diana asked as she stood in front of him.
Clark gently placed her pair of glasses on her face, and then gave Diana a lopsided grin. "Yes, that'll do." He took her hand in his, and led them to the door. "Come on, let's try this out." He opened the door and brought Diana to look at her guard.
"Princess?" Delleia did a double-take when she saw Diana.
Delleia's reaction to her appearance was what Diana had hoped. "I'm going to spend some time with Clark today. I'll be back before I'm scheduled for the farewell press conference."
"Forgive my boldness, your Highness, but I must protest. Your safety is my responsibility."
"No, Delleia. It's not. Your duty is to ensure that I am not approached with unwanted attention. I am responsible for my own and our people's safety. And that includes you."
"Then I really must accompany you where you go." Delleia insisted.
"You almost didn't recognize me. The eyes of an Amazon are much keener than mortals, and I doubt people will recognize me the way I'm dressed. You know full well that Clark will aid me should something happen. And I cannot wander freely around the city with you following me where I go."
"You're right, your Highness. On all accounts." The guard bowed and offered her a knowing smile. "In that case, I will deter anyone from requesting an audience with you today."
Clark and Diana could not believe it. Delleia was willingly working with them on allowing Diana some privacy with Clark. They grinned as they made their way to the elevators. They did not have long to wait as they stepped into an unoccupied elevator.
Clark looked at Diana.
"What is it?" She asked.
"I didn't give you a proper hello." Clark kissed her, soft and lingering.
"If you call that a proper greeting, then I should be mad at you for not doing that sooner." She smiled at him. "I'm sorry I couldn't meet you for dinner last night."
"It's just as well. Media crews were still hanging around the farm until my mom left. A few stuck around including Lois and Jimmy. And Lois wouldn't stop hounding me for answers."
The elevator doors opened up to the main lobby.
"Ladies first," Clark offered.
Diana took a deep breath and sighed as she stepped out of the elevator. Clark was right behind her. She looked around the lobby to find various hotel guests and some media people lounging about. So far, no one was paying any real attention to her and Clark. They made their way towards the main entrance and people still ignored them. Once they had gotten several feet away from the building, Diana took Clark's hand as he led them along the sidewalk.
"Hera, I can't believe that really worked!" Diana whispered.
"It goes to show that people only see what they want to see. So, where do you want to go first?" Clark asked.
The Museum of Art was their first stop. Clark wanted to show her the new Greco-Roman exhibit. There, Diana found some pieces that truly fascinated her. She had also never seen so many pieces of art in one building. Some of them she thought were brilliant, while some of the more modern pieces left her questioning the sanity of the artists.
Another one of their stops was the Imperial Building, the tallest building in Metropolis. Like the other tourists around them, Diana and Clark looked at photographs and metal tablets that recorded the building's history. When they got to the observation deck, they had a panoramic view of the city. Being inside this building and looking out over the city gave them both a different perspective than floating in the open skies.
Clark and Diana also took a stroll along the Met Pier. It was once part of an old Naval Base where numerous restaurants and novelty shops now lined the pier. They even stopped at one of those restaurants to have lunch.
And as they waited for their meal to be served, Diana said to Clark. "I must admit these simple glasses certainly make it easier to blend in. They will be easier for you to maintain your human persona. All you need now is an appropriate battle suit."
"A battle suit? I don't think that's necessary."
"You don't have to call it that. Perhaps a uniform if you prefer. What you wear can also be a symbol of what you stand for. It should be something completely different for when you're fighting villains and helping people. That way you don't have to hide anymore." Clark did not look completely convinced, so she added. "You tried to reason with Etheon before you fought him. Even though he didn't care to listen to you, what you said to him shows the depth of how much you care about people. Show the people of Metropolis who you are and what they can do to help you make this a better world. You can inspire others to be better than who they are."
"If you can convince me to get a uniform, I'm sure you can convince people to give peace a chance." Clark slowly nodded. "All right, then. I'll take your advice and come up with something. Maybe I'll get my mom to help. She's got better taste in clothes than I do."
"I would also give some time for people to get used to seeing you with glasses. And maybe get rid of some of current pictures of you."
"That won't be a problem." He grinned. "But there is another that comes to mind. What happens when they ask me for my name?"
"You're Kal-El of Krypton. Just tell them the truth. Use your true name. But if someone decides to call you by another name, I suggest you accept it as graciously as I have mine. I'm still uncomfortable about being called Wonder Woman. As I understand it, people want to connect with their heroes. And when I do see you in your uniform, I'll probably just call you Kal."
There was something about the way she said Kal that thrilled him. Clark reached out to take Diana's hand in his. "You're the most magnificent woman I've ever met, Diana." He was pleased to see Diana blush. "Not only can I not take my eyes off of you, but I've never seen anyone with your skills. Yet you're incredibly compassionate and wise. You really are amazing." He continued to hold her gaze. "I, uh, want to say something else. I know that I said we shouldn't have a relationship for all the obvious reasons why. But all I can think of is being with you. I want to see you as much as we can. Whether we get every few weeks or months, as long as we can be together from time to time, I'll be a happy man."
Diana had not said a word. She got up from her seat, and gave him a kiss that caused many raised eyebrows and curious glances to head in their direction. She broke off the kiss and she whispered to him, "I'd like that, too."
When they finished lunch, Clark and Diana headed to Metro Park, an expansive park in the middle of the city. Along the way, they passed an electronics store that featured various televisions at the window. Diana stopped them for a moment. On the television screens, scenes from the clash of terrorist attacks and military forces were shown in almost every news station. Photographs of the casualties and innocents caught in the middle were also taken and exploited.
As soon as the first station broke for a commercial break, Diana said. "Those people don't have to live like that. If I can just speak to them, they can change their lives for the better."
"You've got your work cut out for you. Let me know if you need a hand." Clark offered.
"I appreciate it, but this is my mission." She turned to Clark. "I've seen enough for now," and they both continued on their way.
The park was a lovely place despite being in the middle of a bustling city. As they strolled further along a winding path between wide open fields and bountiful trees that were scattered about, the sounds of motors and people seemed to disappear. Little ponds, flower beds, and water fountains were also scattered throughout the park. They stopped along a small lake to enjoy the view.
"This is a beautiful park. Thank you for bringing me here." Diana said.
"It was my pleasure." He smiled. "Truthfully, I've never had the chance to take a walk like this until today. So, I should be thanking you for the opportunity." Clark leaned in to kiss her.
But Diana pulled away from him.
"What's wrong?" She looked away from him and remained silent. He tilted her chin up. "Diana, I know something is bothering you. Tell me."
She sighed. "It's just that everything was so perfect today. I don't want it to end."
There was tone to her voice that told him he was not going to like hearing her explanation. "Neither do I."
"There's just so much I need to do. So much more I need to learn of your world…I want you to wait for me, Clark. I really do. But I can't let you do that. It's not right."
"I said that I'd wait for you and I meant it. Look, you're not making me do something that I don't want to do. You're worth the wait, Diana."
Diana could not bring herself to smile at what he said. "I don't know exactly how long it will take, but it could take years. And I'm not sure if I can focus on my mission if all I want to do is be with you. It would be selfish of me to have you wait like that. And I fear that eventually, you would resent and hate me for waiting. I can't bear that thought."
Clark's hands moved from her shoulders down to her hands and clasped them. "I could never resent you for that. A few years wouldn't matter. Especially if it means that we get to spend centuries together."
"Then a few years shouldn't be a problem."
"Diana, I know what I said the other night. I was wrong. Don't do this to us. We can make this work."
"No, we can't. You were right before, Clark. As much as it pains me to end what we have between us, I need to do this." She let go of his hands that held hers.
He already knew there was nothing else he could say to change her mind. Clark also knew, had always known, that this was the right decision. He sighed, "You know that I'll always be there for you. No matter what."
She nodded. "In that case, I do have a request of you."
Diana almost choked out the words. "Please don't come to the press conference later. Don't make this harder for me than it already is to say goodbye to you."
Clark opened his mouth to say something, anything, to ease the pain in his chest. He could not find the right words, so he simply nodded.
Diana leaned up and quickly brushed her lips against his. Tears threatened to spill down her cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispered as she pushed herself away from him.
Clark watched her briskly walk away. He took a few steps to follow her but faltered. Overwhelmed by the sadness in his heart, he collapsed on a nearby bench. Hunched over, he put his head in hands and wondered if he would recover from letting her go.
The ballroom of the Metropolis Grand Hotel was filled to capacity. Diana had certainly caused a world wide sensation in the last few days, and every legitimate reporter and camera staff wanted to be there for her last press conference. The last half hour had been filled with questions that begged to be answered.
"Lois Lane, here, your Highness. Will you be back to visit Metropolis anytime soon?"
"No. Unfortunately, my busy schedule will not allow me to come back for a long time." Diana looked every bit the composed diplomat as she had stood in front of the media. It took a lot of concentration on her part to focus on the questions asked of her after the way she ended things with Clark. "I will answer one last question."
"Hi, Princess. It's me, Jack Barton. Would you mind answering my question?"
"I remember you." She offered him a cordial smile. "Of course, I don't mind."
"Then if I may be blunt, my question is about your relationship with our very own Clark Kent. You both have seemed to have gotten quite close. Are you going to miss him?"
Diana suppressed the urge to fly over to him and toss him across the room. She calmly replied, "I've made many acquaintances over the past several weeks, but very few friendships. There's nothing between us other than genuine care and respect for one another. I will indeed miss his friendship during my tour of this wonderful country."
It was apparent that Barton did not get the answer he wanted. Since Diana was not going to divulge further details of her 'friendship' with Clark, he reluctantly sat down.
Diana addressed everyone in the crowd and expressed her gratitude for the warm and welcoming attention they had shown her. Even before the rousing applause stopped, she waived and smiled to them as she walked off the stage and out the back door. As usual, she was closely followed by a pair of Royal Guards. Her pace was fast as she was eager to leave, and her guards had no trouble keeping up with her.
A familiar voice called out to her. "Diana."
Diana stopped, and turned around to find Clark standing several feet from her. "I asked you not to come here."
Delleia and Melina continued to walk towards the exit doors to give their Princess her privacy. They stopped at the doors and maintained discretion.
"And I couldn't stay away. At least, not until you hear me out." Clark took off his glasses and walked slowly towards her. They stood facing each other for what seemed like eternity.
Diana was the first to speak. "I'm sorry for the pain I caused you."
"You're not responsible for that. We both know you're not ready for a relationship. Sometimes fate can play a cruel joke on people like you and me. But if I could take back and relive the last few days, and not have fallen for you, I wouldn't do it." Clark saw that he definitely surprised her. "I almost lost you yesterday."
"But you didn't lose me, Clark."
"I know that…But it still scared the hell out of me."
"I'm not going to die anytime soon, not when I just got here."
"The point is that I still need you in my life, Diana. Even if it means we're not together. If anything, I'd like us to remain friends."
"Now you're making this difficult for me. Can we really remain friends when there is something special between us?"
"I'd like to hope so. You said so yourself. There's something special between us. If all we do is keep our friendship, then that means I don't lose you at all." Clark took one more step forward.
So did Diana. She reached up and brushed back a wayward lock of his hair.
He placed his hand gently on her cheek. "Would it be okay to kiss my friend one last time?"
"Yes." It barely came out as a whisper.
He bent his head down to place a soft kiss on her lips but changed his mind when his lips touched hers. Instead, Clark poured every fiber of his being into that kiss. It was selfish of him, but he wanted to make sure that she would remember him.
Diana wanted to savor this moment, and allowed herself to give into the kiss.
There was a yearning and quiet desperation as their mouths sought to reaffirm the unspoken bond that was there. Their arms wrapped tightly around each other for the solace they needed. This was their last kiss. And neither one of them wanted to let go of each other.
Lois had just gotten past the hotel security guards that the other reporters failed to do. She was always proud of her little accomplishments for they always gave her an edge over her peers. But the smug look of satisfaction disappeared from her face when she saw the two people ahead of her engaged in a kiss. There was something about the way they clung to each other that unconsciously touched her. She should have interrupted them for comments like the tenacious reporter she was known to be. But she could not. She felt compelled to leave them alone. Lois quietly, and dejectedly, walked away.
Slowly, tenderly, they ended the soul-shattering kiss. Their cheeks were wet with tears that had flowed freely and unabashedly. Sorrow mirrored in each others eyes as they looked upon each other.
Clark used his thumb to try to wipe away the tears on Diana's cheeks. "Guess I should've brought tissues."
"You should've. You knew you were coming here." Diana tried to smile. She, too, used her fingers to brush away the dampness on his face. She took a step back to give them a little distance. "So…From now on, we're just going keep things platonic."
Clark wanted to say no, to say much more than that. But he simply answered, "Yes."
"I think I can do that." Diana glanced at the exit doors. Her guards had their backs to them. "I have to go…I…I'll see you around sometime. Goodbye, Clark."
Clark was early. And he was anxious to see her.
He had not seen or heard from Diana in weeks. Then out of the blue, she had called him. Diana had asked him to meet her that afternoon, and he agreed. She had also asked him to not come as Superman. Apparently, she needed to talk to him about an important matter. Clark thought it would be the perfect opportunity for him to say a few things he had been meaning to tell her as well. He looked around the park and the lake. It had been years since they last met there. He would never forget that day. The day they became nothing more than friends.
Clark thought back to the several years that had gone by since then. As she suggested, he waited a few months before letting the world see him for the first time. And as Diana also predicted, he was better known to the rest of the world as Superman. Lois was the one who actually penned that name for him, and it caught on as fast as he could fly. To this day, he had never been comfortable with his alias.
Through the years, Diana became his best friend. When she joined the Justice League, it gave him the chance to see her more often than he normally would. There was no one he could talk to about certain things. And there was no one else, other than Bruce, that he would gladly fight side by side with in any battle. Amongst all the other League members, Diana always came first.
They both had eventually moved on in their personal lives.
Clark had decided a long time ago that he did not want someone to fall for all the things he did as Superman. He wanted someone who wanted to be with him – Clark. After a couple of years of being in the shadow of his alter ego, Lois finally saw him as a potential boyfriend. As many times as she had accidentally - and sometimes intentionally - thrown herself into harm's way to be rescued by Superman, he had always remained polite and unattainable. Clark and Lois began dating, mostly because he was tired of being alone. Eventually, Lois found out he was really Superman. It certainly took her long enough to figure that out. Then, things became serious between them as their relationship developed. He even thought about proposing to her. But something, or someone, had always held him back. This past month had not been a very easy time for him – especially since he broke off his relationship with Lois.
Until a few months ago, Diana spent most of the past several years alone. When she was not battling a villain or attending to League business, she spent her time as a mediator between warring nations, maintaining her mission as an Ambassador of peace. For the first few years, she was successful in taking on diplomatic missions and establishing peace talks. Diana believed that she was truly reaching out to the troubled nations. She even won a Nobel Peace Prize. But, as fickle as they tended to be, those same nations would restart their fights and instigated propaganda against her.
During the past year, Diana chose a different direction in her life and assumed a secret identity to work as a government agent. As Special Agent Diana Prince, she worked as a field negotiator in hostage situations and terrorist activities within the Department of Meta Human Affairs. When she realized her position of Ambassador was needed far more than as an agent of the U.S. government, Diana returned to the original role that brought her to this world. But during her stint in the government agency, she met and started dating a fellow agent.
Clark was none too pleased about that. He did not think the guy was good enough for her. He sought Diana out after a League meeting had concluded. Unable to stay silent, Clark told Diana exactly what he thought of Tom whats-his-name, which brought out a heated argument between them. That was the last time he saw her. And that was probably what she wanted to talk to him about. He was not surprised that it took all this time for an Amazon like Diana to cool her temper down.
The gentle touch on his shoulder and sound of her voice broke through his reverie. "Hi, Clark."
He turned to find her wearing a plain white dress and the black-rimmed glasses he had given her. Even in her simple attire, she always managed to take his breath away. "Diana. Hi." He smiled.
"Thank you for meeting me here. I know it was short notice but there are some things we need to talk about." She tore her gaze away from his and looked around. "This park hasn't changed much over the years. It's still as beautiful as I remember it."
"Quite a location you picked. As I recall, this is the place where I had my heart broken."
Diana looked back at him. She took her glasses off and put them in her dress pocket. "Clark, I didn't ask you to meet me here to bring up painful memories."
"Really? You could've fooled me." He was starting to get angry. This was not how he wanted to start their talk, but the emotional burden he was carrying was beginning to take a toll on him. Like her, Clark pulled his glasses off and put them in his pocket. "Diana, we've been friends for a very long time. But if this is about the last conversation we had, then maybe you should realize that we can't be friends anymore."
Shock registered on her face. "What?! Why not?"
"Because I can't stand the thought of anyone else touching you. Or kissing you. Like this." Clark captured her lips with his. She did not resist, so he enveloped her in his arms and continued to kiss her. He wanted her to know that he was completely hers. That they belonged together.
Diana moaned and opened her mouth. She was overwhelmed by the passion she felt as his mouth and tongue claimed possession over hers. She ran her hands over his shoulders and raked her fingers through his thick hair. It had been too long since she relished being on the receiving end of a kiss that could leave her breathless.
Clark abruptly broke off their kiss. "You need to break up with Tom."
"I already have. Last week." She rasped, trying to catch her breath. "That's what I wanted to tell you today."
This time, it was Clark who was stunned. "Really? But you said he was the one for you. Why did you break up with him?"
"Because I finally listened to my best friend." Diana caressed his cheek. "I realized that as much as I wanted it to work out with him, we really weren't compatible. I didn't want to spend another moment denying that I've always been in love with someone else. And because there is only one man who could make me feel the way you do."
Clark's hopes rose. But he wanted to make sure. "Yeah? Do I know him?"
"I'm pretty sure you do. His name is Kal."
He grinned widely. "I hear he's a decent guy. I have no problems with you choosing him."
Diana's expression suddenly grew serious. "By the way, I only found out a few days ago that you ended things with Lois. I'm sorry for the hurt you must've gone through. And that I wasn't there for you."
"Don't be. Lois actually told me that she was surprised I hadn't done it sooner. She said she knew that I've always loved you. I do love you, Diana." Clark kissed the palm of her hand. "Are you sure you're ready for us now? If I have to wait another decade, you know I will…"
Diana silenced him with tender kiss. "I love you. And I've been waiting to get to this moment for a very long time. I'm more than ready."
He was going to kiss her again, but a thought crossed his mind. "Is this why you wanted to meet here?"
She nodded. "I was hoping to change the ending of our date all those years ago. But if that's not possible, then we'll just create new memories." Diana gave him a smile that could melt steel.
"Sounds perfect to me." Clark smiled back.
Diana brought his head down to hers and gave him a deliberately slow and tantalizing kiss. "I think…we should…mmmm…continue this somewhere…mmmm…more private."
"I completely agree." Clark murmured as he trailed tiny kisses along neck. "Where would my Amazon like to go?"
Diana pulled Clark's head back so that they could face each other. The look they shared held many promises to be filled. "Surprise me."
Arm in arm, the super couple walked away as they looked forward to all the new days ahead together.
Author's Note: Special thanks go out to Ronnie K. for being my beta and Hellacre13 for encouraging me to write this sequel. I want to thank all of you who have left me reviews. Your support has truly been appreciated. If you have not left any reviews, please feel free to do so as I welcome feedback and constructive criticism. I hope that everyone who has read this series has enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. THANK YOU!!