Summary: Wary comrades, loyal teammates, fierce friends, painfully dim love interests…and then? Lovers? Best friends? Family? Plotless BMWW, GLHG, SMLL and friendship all-around piece.
A/N-This is supposed to be plotless and sweet. On purpose. Just so you know.
"You want…?" He, somehow, had been nominated to try his best to communicate, as no one at all truly spoke Themiscyran who lived away from Paradise and he, at least, spoke Ancient Greek. Close enough…mostly.
She began miming hitting something. "The aliens are gone." He stated.
Diana looked at him as though he was an unfortunately dull little brother of hers who had recently wet his pants, and then proceeded to mime some more violence. A threat? A memory? He promptly realized his mistake, began to think like her. The time of day…Oh.
"Dinner?" He asked, in ancient Greek.
She thought about it, and then looked hopeful. He mimed shoving food in his mouth rapidly.
Clark stared and giggled so softly it sounded like a hiss.
Diana, however, lit up and nodded. Yes, her head flew up and down, unmatched enthusiasm.
"Dinner," he said in English, annunciating clearly.
"Dinner," she repeated, pride in her voice.
No one really knew what to say when she returned to the Watchtower ten minutes later, and flung a freshly-slain Angus cow on the meeting table.
She learned fast, faster than anyone at all. Within days she was forming small sentences, within weeks she understood when Flash was and was not hitting on her, within months she was proficient, at the end of a year she spoke English more accurately than the average graduate student.
He tried to ask her, why, how.
She met his eyes, with a half-smile on her scarlet lips that he would someday come to recognize, and paused for the barest moment to gather the right words to her tongue, "God-blessed." Her tone was teasing, her eyes amused.
This, this is what she told the atheist.
He thought he'd had people down pat, so she assumed that he didn't know a damn thing. Lives were started and ruined every single day under their watchful eyes, and none of them really seemed to take notice, to appreciate the miracle of the thing they gave everything to protect.
"I want my mom," The boy, he was so little, was sobbing so hard, but his words were clear and he grabbed at the black cape, pleading.
"I know," There was unexpected gentleness in this, "I'm going to get her."
"Don't leave me alone."
He glanced around, all busy. Everyone was carrying something, burdens heavier than those trapped in flesh. Anyway, this was his sector.
"Please," and those tiny hands tugged at the gloves again.
He acknowledged his complicity in no other way. "Hold on tight."
He clamored back through the rubble, forty pounds of extra weight and a tiny arm wound tight about his throat and tugged a bloody-but-living woman out. For a second, a smile, triumph.
So rare, so savory.
Diana watched with no small amount of interest as the two faced off against each other, gently. Bruce began to form an incredibly obvious diagonal chain of pawns. Clark attempted to break it with his queen.
"So…" Clark cleared his throat, yet simultaneously looked majestic. The effect was…interesting.
"Out with it.." The queen was finally finished by a rook, her wake of destruction coming to an end.
"I asked Lois to marry me."
Diana looked up with renewed interest at this. "Maybe you've seen her on the news, she's," Clark searched for the correct phrase, "accident-prone." Diana nodded and smiled easily.
"And?" Bruce said, betraying no other sign of interest. Clark's rook defeated his bishop.
"She said yes," A goofy grin that didn't appear nearly often enough lit up his face, "Well, actually, she said 'I guess so', but it's…well, a lot like yes."
A tight smile flew across Bruce's face. "I'm glad." He expressed this in his subtle checkmate, a spider's web that had to be looked for to be seen.
"As am I." Diana's enthusiasm caused her accent to be that much more apparent. She grinned at the two of them. "Ice cream? For…celebration?"
The chess board was left, lonely and forgotten.
Bruce would have sworn he said no, only to find himself, an hour later, finishing off a double scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough with two people he would later realize, uncomfortably, were the best friends he would ever have.
"Let me help you with that." Just like that, she was standing oh-so-close to him, and had the door of the javelin they were repairing off in a single moment, during which he forgot to breath.
She smiled at him as she continued to dissemble the ship, and he almost, almost, smiled back.
When had this happened? He decided two seconds ago.
What was he going to do about it? Nothing. He was vengeance, the night…and a bunch of other really scary stuff. He did not laugh at the Flash, he did not argue with Shayera, he did not notice his coworker's legs…
He sighed, and pinched the bridge of his noise.
He looked up, and there she was again. "Something wrong?"
"Um…no." He'd really just done that. He'd really just said um. "Thanks, though." Oh, goodness, and then thanked her. He didn't thank people, either, he was too angry.
She nodded and glided away…He'd really just thought that, hadn't he?
Instinct prompted him to look up. Shayera was there, staring at him, her mouth an "o" shape, comprehension and amusement marching across her eyes.
So he'd avoided her, for months. It wasn't mature, practical or efficient…but….it kept him from feeling stupid, that is, kept him focused on his work. The mission, yes, the mission.
So he was sitting quietly, in his dank little cave, attempting to track a serial killer who stole small children who wandered too far away. A regular good old day, hunting down someone genuinely deranged in a deadly sort of way.
Without warning, a beautiful face flashed up on one of the minor screens. "Batman?"
He looked up, did a nearly-imperceptible double-take and replied calmly. "Yes?"
"We're trying to track down some nuclear weapons, and we're at a complete dead end." She, through the webcam, saw a bit of what he was doing. "But if you're busy, I guess-"
He interrupted her, which was typical. "I'll work on two cases. Send me down whatever you've got." Agreeing to help was anything but. Inwardly, he swore softly.
"Thanks," Her face lit up on the screen, and it occurred to him that she had a beautiful smile.
He wondered whether or not he'd still think so after 130 hours without sleep.
(Friends): 12 Minutes later
A different face, one largely obscured by a mask, appeared on the smaller screen shortly thereafter.
He turned slowly. "Yes?"
"Two things." Shayera paused, perhaps for emphasis and inhaled deeply. "I know your real name."
He sat up ramrod straight and stared her down. If she was going to threaten or blackmail him, this was a moronic way to do it. If she didn't actually know and was just trying to test him out, then she should similarly have waited until they were face to face, so she could have picked up on any subtle physical cue he gave away. So it must be something different, perhaps less sinister.
"Just so you know, if someone really nasty ever gets a hold of me alive," She half-smiled and rolled her eyes to indicate that though this was possible, she considered it unlikely, "then that's one of the things they might get out of me."
"OK. I appreciate that." He kept his voice carefully neutral as they both skirted carefully around the only two words that had the power to destroy his life.
"Also, it was my idea to get Diana to ask you. Sorry about that, but we really need to find those nukes."
He flushed slightly, and very nearly wriggled in his seat. Shayera laughed. "What is it about her, anyway? I mean, I expected the other three, but even you? You don't even like people much. That's… something."
He should've denied it, but it wouldn't have worked and he decided to have a real conversation with one of his teammates instead. "The other three? You're not counting J'onn."
"He is the wrong species. Truthfully, he's never seemed interested in much."
"True. You know, John is the same way."
Shayera took the bait. "About women in general?"
He smirked at her slightly, and she knew that he'd evened up their score that much more with those words. Both knew who the other was interested in, and as Shayera had proven minutes ago, it was very useful information. "No," he answered, her eyes holding his, "Just about Diana."
Shayera sighed. "We're even? I'll tell you my name right now, if you want."
His smirk grew. "Not even a little bit."
"I thought that. The good news is I know you don't have any stray kids running around now, no wife."
"So I can wish you good luck." She signed off without a word.
(Coffee: Eighty Hours Later)
The reason, the big secret to how he finds the things that no one else can is simple persistence. Nearly inhuman obsession, following every last lead to the bitter end, all the while watching carefully for that tiny clue, always trying to put everything together, threatening every last one of your informants all day and all night, if that's what it took. However, that strategy allows for neither adequate sleep nor a social life.
He always told himself that it was worth it.
So all of a sudden he smelt sunshine and had to resist the impulse to pound his head against very expensive equipment, because yes, he had just thought that. The chair next to him was all of a sudden very full of very attractive Amazon.
"Hello," She said simply, and, some detective, he noticed that she held two cups in her hands. "I can't imagine when you might have slept lately, so…"
She shoved one of the paper cups into his hands. "Cream, no sugar, right?"
A tiny curve on his face, but she didn't miss it. "Right."
"What are you doing now?"
He sighed softly. "Waiting for him to mess up."
"How long until then?"
Bruce took a dainty sip of the coffee. It was scalding hot, but pleasantly so. "Right now." He gestured at the tiny blip on the screen. "It's Luthor."
She nodded and chugged the coffee. "Late night visit?"
He stood up, and stretched. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."
It occurred to him on the way down that he'd never spoken truer words.
Avoiding her never could have worked, not indefinitely. He'd been there, as often as he could be without someone untoward (read: Wally) noticing.
He tried to remember why that was a bad thing.
He felt the hand wedged under his cowl, felt his broken leg, felt his bruises and abrasions, felt the blood pooling at his feet and swore to himself quietly.
Diana stared down the man, an upstart of the Injustice Gang who was now rambling at her.
"You see, I'll pry off this mask and the picture of his face will be at our satellite--that's right, we've got a satellite--in seconds and not even any of you will be fast enough to stop us." He grinned, and looked proud. "This will make my reputation forever, I'll be the guy that finally took down the Bat."
"Yes," Diana said in what Wally called her 'teacher' voice, "but you've forgotten something."
He looked at her suspiciously and Bruce tested his good leg. He saw the dozens of cameras all over the walls. They couldn't miss something as obvious as his face. So he tensed, and thought about everything except the people he could never make it home in time to save.
"What?" The thug shouted at her, his too-loud voice echoing off the sides of warehouse.
"Have you ever seen a dead body that had to be scraped off of the pavement?" Her tone was that of someone making small talk.
The man heard the indifference and turned a milky white. "N-no."
"Yes," she continued, "You'll be the most sought-after pile of quivering organs the criminal underworld has ever seen." She began cleaning her fingernails, one at a time, as thorough as you please.
The thug had a completely natural reaction to imminent death: he began to shake, first a little, then a lot. "But if I let him go…"
But a moment later his surrender became unconditional; as his instincts took over he stepped away from Bruce nervously, edging towards the door. A half a second later he was unconscious on the floor.
Without a word she hooked one arm around Bruce's waist and began walking both of them towards the door, pausing a moment to sling the thug unceremoniously over her opposite shoulder.
Bruce opened his mouth once, twice, three times, but nothing but air came out.
"You're welcome," Diana said with half a smile.
He inclined his head slightly, a gesture of gratitude. "Nice bluff."
Her smile gained a predatory air. "Who was bluffing?"
Homeless. She'd known the word for a year, and so she tried to speak it, think it, hear it, in reference to her own person. It hurt worse than anything. There was a gaping hole in her chest where home had been, and now that she was…unwanted there, she didn't know where to begin to fill it.
The tally thus far:
"That's so unfair": 2
"If you need anything, I'm here.": 3
A black figure sat next to her. He looked very uncomfortable. He sat there, for ten minutes. He got up, left, and then came back with the only words that could take her mind off of it.
"Would you like an iced mocha?"
Shayera sat with her, helped her rummage through the bag on her lap. "What is any of this?" Diana moaned softly.
Shayera opened up the lipstick, attempted to rub it on Diana's cheeks. Diana looked in the mirror, had never been less pleased. She had a busted lip, a black eye, and badly bruised shoulders. May Bizarro get a bad upper-respiratory infection, somehow.
As she had explained to the four males who had edged out of the room slowly some time back, she was supposed to go speak to a roomful of battered women about how they could turn their lives around, about how they were strong enough, how all men were not horrible.
She could not go in there and remind all five hundred of them of the worst times of their respective lives. She would rather eat laundry detergent.
Diana began caking cover-up all over the particularly ugly bruise on her neck. Shayera was the only other girl here and Thanegarian make-up apparently involved real blood.
For the umpteenth time that hour, she sighed and began rubbing at her neck.
So it took her nearly a minute to notice the dark figure standing over her, gingerly sorting the sample cosmetics bag into piles.
He knelt next to her chair. "If you don't mind…"
She nodded, and five minutes of gentle sweeping motions later she looked completely healthy, if a little overdone.
She gaped at him. "Thanks."
He nodded and disappeared softly.
Diana slowly inspected all of her visible skin. No trace of anything… "Wow…" she muttered, turning various angles and still unable to detect the cover-up.
"He sure is nice to you." Shayera said, a guarded observation.
"Yes," Diana said, suddenly uncomfortable for some reason, "He would have done the same for any of us."
"I don't think so," Shayera said, catching her eyes.
Diana's face was blank, then blushing.
"Ask him." Dinah's tone was frank, her eyes both amused and encouraging.
Diana sputtered, turned red, and then attempted to look imperious. "Who?"
Dinah rolled her eyes in an exaggerated manner. "Please. The whole league knows."
Dinah shrugged, unimpressed. "What else is there to talk about on those eight-hour flights to the most violent planet in the middle of nowhere?"
Diana's voice was smaller now. "Where?"
Dinah shrugged. "Coffee, ice cream, Italian food, monitor duty, whatever. You know."
She really didn't.
"You're being a jerk." Wally said through gritted teeth, whirling around a gust of flame to slam directly into Volcana's jaw. The woman crumpled with a slightly offended gasp.
"This is my decision. And it's serious. Do you actually know the meaning of either of those words?" John shot back, while attempting to concentrate on a massive containment unit for those that had been rounded up thus far.
"You're making three people miserable, and you know Shayera is really great at passing the misery right down the line…"
"She broke my heart, the left me, why do you all seem determined to forget that she hurt me!"
Wally stopped running to stare at his best friend. "All of this…is about revenge? Really, man, that's low." He shook his head slowly, and then it jerked back as Killer Croc threw a wall into it.
For a second, the silence seemed to stretch a long way indeed as the everyone stared at the bleeding Wally. Then he disappeared in a flash of blue.
Suddenly, Killer Croc found himself with seven deeply pissed off enemies.
She answered on the first ring. "Yes?" She sounded wary. Doubtless, a long series of death threats and hate mail received from every modern manner of communication would do that to someone.
"It's me." His voice was deep, and frankly unmistakable.
Shayera sighed. "Oh, hi…"
"Hi." He started, hesitating.
The silence stretched from seconds, to minutes. "OK," Shayera muttered, exasperated. "Cut the crap. You never call just to say hi, who died?"
"John and Mari broke up."
This silence stretched off into infinity. "Why?"
"You," he said simply and then sighed, "You shouldn't have to hear it from either of them."
This stunned the woman. Was this…consideration? From the dark knight? "Thanks."
A dial tone was her only response.
"I brought you a cake." Diana said, and shove the lopsided creation into his arms. "You're what, fifty now?"
To his credit, it only took him two minutes to figure out she was joking. Afterward, he smiled at her, just a little, and she laughed.
The chocolate cake was moist and tasted like drain cleaner.
He ate every bite anyway.
That day, she walked in, she hugged everyone, even the men she didn't respect, let alone like, even those who had committed the ultimate faux paus and made lewd comments about that lasso of hers.
She laughed at every solitary pun Wally could roll out with and even grinned without animosity at Shayera.
Everyone stared, but no one dared comment.
She walked with him, later, answering the mute inquiry. "Mother said I was allowed to return now."
He grunted and managed, "I'm happy for you."
He'd calculated it. Themiscyra was 4,654 miles from Gotham. That was…a lot of miles.
She bobbed her head up and down, excitement written in every movement of her body. "So, I can finally get everyone some real battleaxes for Christmas this year!"
He stared at her, tried to stop, and then failed.
She cocked her head. "Are you feeling all right?"
If he'd been a more truthful sort, he would have said that, actually he'd never felt better and may very be singing show tunes that very moment if he knew any and if he ever sang in public without…undue duress. "I'm fine…A little tired."
She nodded. "Come on, then, let's go home."
Somehow, he knew she wasn't inviting him to a tiny island in the Mediterranean.
"Waltz?" He looked at the dress she was wearing, calculating.
She shook her head unhappily. Off in the corner, John Stewart made muffled noises of pain as Shayera once more apologized for trampling his feet, and he in turn stomped on hers. Slightly to the right, Clark showed Wally the correct technique for polka. J'onn swore he was not laughing.
He nodded succinctly. "I guess we'll start there, then."
He placed one hand on her waist, and grabbed her palm with the other. He began to count, "One, two, three, one, two, three," in a steady manner, forcing her to move with him all the while.
She only stumbled twice, before getting the rhythm and swaying slowly with him.
"John?" He called across the room.
The man nearly feel over trying to get turned around. "Yes…Bruce?" All of a sudden he looked nervous.
"You're supposed to put your other hand on her waist." One of his hands was grabbing her wrist, and the other one was flailing about in an amusing way.
Suddenly John gulped. "Right."
Slowly, John reached out, touching the part of her waist directly between her breasts and hips as though is were a grenade, and stepped back as far as he could.
Bruce and J'onn shared a glance, and then "didn't laugh" (guffawed inwardly) together.
Somehow, they were both there, then, in his home. Somehow he was smiling, being charming and open, and she was laughing and having a good time. He cradled the miracle of this in his hands, careful not to examine too close, not to crush it.
"What?" He'd missed whatever she last said.
"Your tie," She said, smiling easily. "Here." She was right, the knot was off-center.
Suddenly she was sitting so close they were sharing the same air, her head inclined as she adjusted it slightly, so the tie became even. "There," she said, and looked up at him to share a smile she so seldom got.
That time she got something else entirely. Suddenly his entire body was against hers and his arms were around her waist and he kissed her softly, for a moment. He felt her go rigid with shock, and moved steps away, a strangling shade of red slowly working its way across his neck.
"…Sorry…" He whispered, knowing she would hear, and he began to move away slowly, to completely disappear in a way only years of practice allows.
"S'okay," she said in a barely-there voice, and with nothing resembling consent from her mind, she approached him slowly. Her arm was up against his chest, pushing slightly back, and he was on the living-room couch and she was on top of him. She hitched up her dress to slightly above her knees and shifted her weight until she rested on top of his torso and he rested between her legs.
She grinned at the pronounced hitch in his breath as she leaned over and kissed his throat and jaw. He inhaled again, to say something, and she cut him off with a much harder and more permanent kiss. She barely noticed that one hand was making tiny circles on her exposed thigh, and the other was wrapped around her waist, pulling her even closer. The relatively frantic heart rate beneath her barely register, nor her own hands wandering his torso. When his mouth opened for a different reason, she noticed, almost sighed with pleasure, but a persistent mantra remained present in her mind:
He had actually kissed her, or, currently, she had kissed him and he had kissed her back.
Giddy delight radiated from both of them, and then became something else entirely.
He bumped into Shayera in the hallway, a complete accident. She looked up at him, muttering "sorry," and then really looked at him for the smallest of seconds.
"You look...happy." He really should have resented the suspicion in her voice, but couldn't seem to.
He grunted noncommittally and attempted to move on. She grabbed his wrist, and he had to consciously not break her hand and get away.
"You…" And then she laughed softly. "Did you actually make a move? Four years later?"
Silence seemed the only option, so he took it, and attempted to stare at her as though she were a particularly dull insect. The glare lacked its usual bite.
Shayera just laughed again. "Well, thank you."
This was…unexpected. He stared at her again. "What for?"
"I am now fifty dollars richer." She said amiably, and went looking for Booster Gold to collect.
"Um…hi…" Shayera cleared her throat and attempted to wrap his jacket around her completely bare torso.
Bruce kept telling himself that he had excellent reflexes and was fully capable of backing slowly out of the monitor room. Somehow, he was rooted to the spot.
"So…" John started, his red face shining even under his dark skin, but that sentence met a death as suddenly as its predecessor.
"I'll come back…" Bruce began, "in fifteen minutes."
"Forty-five," interjected Shayera.
"Thirty minutes," Bruce continued, "And then we'll all forget this ever happened."
Nods were exchanged all around the room.
No one ever asked him why he never sat in the monitor room chair again.
"So," Bruce continued, oblivious to the now genuinely concerned looks he was receiving from John and Shayera, "It's rated against standard rocket launchers, fires of up to three thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and armor-piercing rounds."
He set the cradle upon the floor with a metallic clang, while two very pregnant woman stared back at him.
He heard Shayera "whisper" (practically scream), "Is that supposed to make me happy?"
"…Define 'happy'" Diana muttered back.
"Okay, not feel like punching him in the groin?"
"Well…that's…something, isn't it?"
In that moment seven pairs of eyes hone in on one motion, the soft sound the cradle made as it rocked back and forth, once and again.
Wally though that if he had to put a name to that moment and the one following it directly after, where they met each other's eyes with something half-fear and half-hope, it would be 'love.'
A/N- I'm not sure if Bruce and Shayera were ever really that good of friends in the series, but I like the idea, so there you go. Any review of any kind would be greatly appreciated, if you please.