She must have slept, though she did not know how it was possible for her excitement. Diana opened her eyes as she felt the sun rise into the sky, the child of Apollo, and she took in the sight of Clark's home.
She had fallen asleep on a soft sofa, but she stretched her long body and rose to stand. Clark had left her here alone the night before, and she did not know if he had come back- but then, he had to have returned, for where had the warm blanket come from?
Out of a sense of respect, both for the man and for his home, Diana folded the blanket and set it aside before moving on.
Diana moved to look over the various things all over the dwelling. This was Clark's home, an everything in it belonged to the real man, the man he was before he'd been found on Themyscira. To Diana, who had always been simply and perfectly herself, it was a strange thought, that Clark was, in a sense, many men to many people. Only a select few knew what he was capable of, while the rest believed him to be a mere human.
Testing the idea, Diana was not sure if she liked the thought for herself, that she should have to pretend to be less than what she truly was for the sake of convenience.
But back to her exploration.
There were small objects made of glass set on the low tables and lining the shelves. Diana grazed her fingertips over the things, very curious but careful not to disturb his order. Clark had many books, and then there was that thing that had taken his attention the night before...a sort of black tray with lettered squares set inside of its bottom half, with the glass top half lifted up to show glowing pictures.
The thing sat alone on his desk. Diana pressed a key, but nothing happened.
She turned away from Clark's machine, uninterested for the growling of her stomach. Clark's kitchen had held the surprise of the cold chocolate the night before, what might she find with the rising of the sun?
O Demeter, I beg thee please grant a plentiful feast to break the fast of night, I pray for a blessing of the bounty of this world...
But Lady Demeter must have been busy on Themyscira, for Diana's silent plea went unanswered, ignored and in fact, rebuffed completely. She found that the big machine with the cold space inside had nothing that Diana wanted to eat. She wrinkled her nose as she sifted through the food inside; the fruit was mushy and what she assumed must have been milk at one time was distinctly sour.
Diana scowled and bit her tongue just as she was about to call for a palace attendant. No, do not shame yourself by calling for a sister who is half the world away. In this world, you will prove yourself every inch a true Amazon. You are a warrior of Themyscira, not a pampered princess incapable of finding her own meal!
Yes. She would start her day with the first kill she could bring down, and then she would explore this strange place.
From the doorway to his bedroom, Clark couldn't help but admire the sight of Diana bending over as she went through his refrigerator. The tunic she was wearing did nothing to hide her curves or the length of her legs; had they still been on Themyscira, he wouldn't have dared ogle her in this way, but it had taken every bit of his will-power not to give in. Now that he was home, perhaps he felt more free to look at her.
There was no harm in that, surely?
Clark cleared his throat and Diana turned around. "Don't worry about what's in the fridge," he said. "I'll take you to lunch after we explore the city a little."
Diana narrowed her eyes and reached for the golden lasso coiled about her waist like a belt. She slipped the tail end of the lariat over his forearm and Clark repeated himself to her.
At the promise of exploration, Diana's face lit up brighter than the sun. "We will?"
Clark nodded. "Yes, I have to make a few phone calls and check in with my boss, but that won't take long. And I didn't lead you halfway across the world just to leave you in the apartment. We'll grab a bite after you get ready."
"What should I do?"
He gestured to the bag he'd brought in the night before. "I picked up some clothes for you while I was out last night. Nothing fancy, princess. Just a t-shirt and a pair of pants- I had to guess at the size, but I can get you more things to wear today."
Following to where he had pointed, Diana lifted the clothing out from the plastic bag and tilted her head to the side, curiously. The garments inside were nothing like what was worn on her island. "How do I...?"
Clark blinked. Looking at her freely for a stolen moment was one thing, but he would not take advantage of her ignorance and undress her...sadly, no, he would not. He cleared his throat. Perhaps it wasn't a good idea for her to stay with him, she was bound to cause him no end of trouble.
"It's just...oh, here." He picked up an old copy of the Daily Planet that he'd left on the end of the kitchen counter. The front cover showed a picture of the mayor's wife at a spring fair, the issue was dated over two months earlier in the year. "See this? She's wearing a shirt like yours. Just put it on the way she has. You can use the bathroom for privacy while I make those calls."
Diana took the scroll he'd handed to her and ventured into the small room Clark had indicated. It was a cramped space of blue and white tiles, with a curtain strung up over a tub that looked far too small for a man of Clark's size. Diana didn't like it in the room; she much preferred the royal bathing pools of the palace and the waterfalls throughout the island.
For her dislike of the bathroom, she was surprised to find a mirror over the sink. Diana waved, and while her reflection waved back, it said nothing. No greeting, no compliment, no banter.
Try to remember that the things in this world are different from your own. There is no magic here, and you must behave as a human woman...Clark knows how they are here, and he can show you the way.
Diana removed her tunic and stood naked for a moment before pulling on the shirt and pants, copying the woman in the picture. The material was strange to her, thicker than the soft linen of her island tunics, but not unpleasant. The coloring was also not what she would choose for herself, but in the behavior and garments of humans, Clark knew best. He himself had dressed in a shirt and pants, so he must know.
Looking at herself in the mirror, Diana thought the clothes might serve her purposes well.
When Diana returned, Clark had just set aside the small machine he'd been speaking into. She raised a brow, making a mental note to ask him how it worked.
Clark looked her over and kicked himself- he should have bought Diana a bra while he'd been doing his late shopping the night before. This did complicate things, for him, at least.
He cleared his throat. "You look...nice. Are you ready to explore a little?"
"You know I am!" Diana smiled. Her heart was pounding at the prospect; this was her calling, the very reason that the gods had breathed life into her clay form.
"I'm glad to hear it, but what are we going to do with this thing?" Clark asked, tugging on his end of the lasso. They had been bound together by it for so long that Diana had nearly forgotten it.
But she was not a woman without wit; she had sat on a small device that had been left out on Clark's sofa the night before, and just as she'd touched it, the black box of glass had come alive, showing Diana pictures and words. At first she had been startled, ready to attack, but then she had simply sat and watched.
With Athena's grace of wisdom, Diana had even begun to understand some of the words spoken by the images of people displayed in the glass. Her mind was strong and fast, greedily taking the words and keeping them for her lips, so that when the time came to explore this world, she would be ready.
Diana removed the lasso, fixed her stance, took a deep breath and tried to communicate with Clark in his own language with the words that she had heard the night before. "My name is Diana. This is of Metropolis City and I am woman."
Clark felt his jaw drop. Diana had spoken broken English, and her voice carried her heavy Themysciran accent, but her understanding was more than he could have hoped for. More than anything, the woman was impressive.
Still, it was one thing to grasp a language, and quite another to simply parrot what one might have heard on television. "Can you understand me?"
Diana narrowed her eyes, her mind working hard to translate and form the words.
Athena, I beseech you, grant me the wisdom to know the words of this world...
"It's a great start. If I run into anyone I know, I can just say that you're a friend who's come to visit me from...Romania." Clark improvised. He thought the odds of bumping into any genuine Romanians while they went about Metropolis would be safely low.
"I am friend of Romania." Diana repeated. It was becoming easier by the moment; perhaps the gods were with her after all.
Clark smiled. "You're really picking it up, aren't you? All right, well at this rate you'll be fluent by lunch. Are you ready?"
"Yes, I am ready."
"Great! It'll be so wonderful to see my city again, and I'm sure you'll love it here. Let's get going." Clark moved toward his front door, but quickly realized that he was walking alone. Turning back, he rushed toward the balcony after his guest. "Diana, Diana, wait, no!" Clark grabbed her ankle and pulled her back into his apartment, just as she'd risen into the air to take flight.
Clearly, there were things he had to explain.
"Maybe we should start with the ground rules." Clark sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. He'd never had to explain himself before, and he doubted that Diana would agree to his reasoning. "I'll explain. No one knows what I can do here, do you understand? They only know me as a normal man, as Clark Kent. I don't fly or do anything like that unless I really have to- and when I do, I change."
Diana cocked her head to the side. "Change?"
"Yes, I have a...they call him Superman. I'm him, and he's me, but...not at the same time." Clark said.
To him it made perfect sense, but to Diana...
"I do not-"
"When I'm Clark Kent, I pretend to be a normal man most of the time, and no one knows of these things I can do. When something happens and this hero, this Superman comes to the rescue, Clark is always somewhere else."
Diana blinked once, twice, then she frowned at him. "You lie to the people."
Her summation of his life did nothing for his ego, but he had to be sure she understood that she could not draw attention to herself with her powers. "I...yes. It has to be this way, though. In this world, I would go crazy if everyone knew my secret. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but it does."
"And I must be same?"
This was something he hadn't given much thought to. In his way, Clark had assumed that Diana would just go along with what he told her to do, being that it was his world and all. But then, when had she ever just gone along with him? Since she'd been born, every aspect of Diana's life had gone her way; being over a thousand years old and a princess had given her plenty of time to get used to being catered to.
It seemed that he would have to skirt the issue carefully.
"Well, I- you'll have to keep your gifts a secret for a while. Just until you learn more about the world."
Diana seemed to consider this, but she finally relented. "I will, but I can't do for all time."
"I know, but humor me for just a little while."
Clark showed Diana how to work the elevator in his building, for which she was grateful though she clearly disliked the close space of the chamber. It was no surprise, given that so much of her life was lived out in the open.
He was growing nervous at the prospect of bringing Diana out to the city, where so many new things awaited her. During his time on the island, Clark had found himself at odds with the lack of modern technology- all his powers aside, he had grown accustomed to the computers that made their way into peoples' lives, with his laptop in the apartment, the work-issued PDA that he now carried in his pocket.
But Diana? She had no idea of any of it, the things that Clark took for granted even while he'd lived in Smallville, the cars, the tractors, Diana had never seen any of those things, and now he was to explore Metropolis with her.
He hoped it would be an easy-going day, but he had learned a long time ago that what can go wrong, will go wrong. The doors to the elevator slid open to his building's lobby, and the couple started forward to the doors leading out, facing the city.
Diana paused just before the doors, resting her hands on the handle. Her heart trembled in her chest, jumping at the things she saw just outside.
Through the tinted glass, Diana could already sense the rapid, bustling activity. People were striding back and forth on the paved street just outside Clark's building, there were large machines of colorful steel rushing back and forth, stopping and starting, emitting a sharp racket of sound.
A great building of rock and glass was on the other side of the street, rising into the sky. Clark's city was truly a marvel, but it was all so big and loud; even Diana, for all her powers, felt intimidated.
O my Olympia, grant me the courage to face this strange place, for I face it for your glory and the understanding of my people.
Diana swallowed, feeling a mixture of fear and excitement. The new world was awaiting her, just on the other side of the glass door. She turned to her friend and asked him, "What now, Clark?"
"Yes, I must see your world."
Clark smiled. "My world. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure where I should start. What are you most interested in?"
He had a few ideas of where he could take Diana such as the pier, the Metropolis museum, a street fair that he'd read about on the Internet the night before, a park...
Diana turned her face to him fully and Clark felt his heart clench. Yes, he wanted to give her the world, one piece at a time.
"The people. Olympia created me to go into the world, to be the bridge between my people and yours. To do that, I must learn everything I can. And you are the hero of this world."
Clark shook his head. "No, I'm only one of many."
"But you are the only one I trust." Her eyes flashed at him. "You must show me Superman."