7 Justice League Twice Shy
Diana Prince entered Clark Kent's apartment to find him wearing his costume while packing a duffel bag. He was delighted to see her, "Hello Diana. You need to get ready. Pack a bag and prepare to dress lightly."
"Where are we going?" she managed to ask.
"That's a surprise." He mischievously smirked, "Perry gave me two weeks' vacation and we're going travelling."
"And you're not telling me where we're going." She surmised.
"You'll know it when we get there." He promised, "Now scoot."
"All right, I'm going." She promised. In contrast to him, Diana was wearing blue jeans, a sleeveless turtleneck, a leather jacket, and ankle boots. Also in contrast, she could adopt her costume simply be twirling in place. She did so after packing and met him on the balcony.
"Follow me." He instructed and they flew off together.
Mary Batson set the Orb-14 down in the deserted section of the parking lot. Kara In-Ze, Kyle Raynor, Ray Terra, Billy Batson and Courtney Whitmore all exited the vehicle. Courtney put on her Ray Ban Wayfarers, "Hello Bermuda!"
The beach stretched out in front of them. All of them had worn civilian clothes. Now was the time for fun in the surf not super heroing. They'd brought their swimwear and now they could see the changing booths at the edge of the beach.
Ray, Kyle, and Courtney had brought boogie boards for body surfing. After changing, Mary and Ray immediately went into the water. He showed her how it was done and they soon took turns taking rides.
Kyle and Kara frolicked in the surf, taking turns splashing water at each other and picking the other one up and throwing them into the tide. Billy held back, watching them play. His scrutiny was disturbed by a beach ball bouncing off of his head.
"Loosen up, mister." Courtney laughed, "You are in dire need of having fun."
"Why did you do that?" Billy wanted to know.
"It was my immature way of getting your attention." She said.
"Why would you want my attention?" He asked.
"Because I have a crush on you and it seems the only way I can get you to look at me is by annoying you." She accused.
"You have a crush on me?" Billy couldn't believe his ears.
"Oh come on, haven't you thought about asking me out?" Courtney wondered.
"Yes…I mean, not really." He fumbled.
She wagged a finger at him, "Ah hah! Your secrets out. And don't lie and say you didn't mean it. I saw the look on your face. You meant it."
"Okay." Billy conceded, "I did mean it."
"How often have you thought about it?" Courtney asked.
"What?" Billy was horribly confused.
"How often have you thought about asking me out?" she clarified.
"Let's just say it was more than once." He tried to be sly.
"So all the time." Courtney said smugly, "Oh, don't give me that look. Mary's told me all about you. Besides, I've watched you. You're not as cool of a customer as you like to think."
"So I'm noticing." He said ruefully.
"So why haven't you asked me out?" she inquired.
"Well, like you said, I've never been a cool customer." Billy said.
"So?" Now it was her turn to be confused.
"You're a popular girl. Popular girls go out with popular guys. It's a high school thing." Billy complained.
"Billy, you're a world famous blogger and your weekly YouTube show is viewed by millions. I think you're popular." Courtney dryly rebutted, "Besides, I'm not a normal high school girl. I have a secret identity. You have a secret identity. That's the start of a match made in heaven."
"Let's say you're right. I don't have time for a girlfriend." He complained.
"Billy, no one has time for romance. They make time for it." Courtney explained.
"Supposing I do want to make time, where do we go from here?" he asked.
Courtney smiled, "First, we go down to the water and I show your Midwestern butt how to boogie board. Second, you show me the sights of the island later on. And third, you get used to the fact that I'm now your girlfriend."
"Isn't that awfully fast?" Billy had to ask.
"I believe in fast." Courtney explained, "Now c'mon chum. The water's thataway."
"Do I have a choice?" he idly wondered.
"No." she declared. She took hold of his arm and began dragging him to the water.
Diana recognized the outline of Italy as they flew over the Mediterranean. Superman guided her to a villa carved out of a Tuscan hillside. He produced a key and unlocked the door. It was fully furnished and the pantry was stocked.
It's wonderful." She breathed as she beheld the view through the main windows.
"So are you." Superman admitted.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. He smiled when she finished, "Now it's time to get out of these costumes. For the next two weeks there's no Superman or Wonder Woman. There's just Clark and Diana."
"I can live with that." She cheerfully confessed, "Since you've done all of this scheming, what's on the agenda?"
"I thought we'd wander the hillsides, show you the modern Rome, and enjoy a day or two on the beach." He listed his agenda.
She smirked, "As long as there are plenty of kisses and snuggling involved, I'm game."
"Your wish is my command." He bowed, "Now for these clothes."
"We could always forgo the clothes altogether." She suggested with an impish smile.
He merely clucked his tongue at her and headed off to pick a room. Diana pouted for a moment but she eventually headed off to the master bedroom to change her clothes as well. The next two weeks sounded promising and she couldn't wait for them to begin.
Helena Bertinelli looked upon the food through the candlelight, "You. Cooked."
"You make it sound like a surprise." Vic Sage noted.
"You cooked." She emphasized.
"I think we've established that point." Vic replied.
"You cooked." She said in disbelief.
"Helena," he said with some indignation, "I do know my way around a kitchen. After all, I've kept myself fed for years."
"But you don't trust any foods." She blurted.
"These are all organic, naturally fertilized, and free of the tracer toxins that allow the government to slowly poison you with heavy metals." He gently explained, "The wine is from a trusted source that ferments their own self grown grapes using the same principles as the rest of the food."
"And the meat?" she wondered.
"Corn fed stock that I have butchered in a completely vetted establishment." He proudly explained, "I grill it myself."
"I always wondered why you had a backyard grill in your kitchen." She murmured.
"And the candlelight?" she suddenly asked.
"Ah, yes. I did some research on courting rituals. This seemed appropriate." Vic proudly declared.
Helena was amused, "So, we're 'courting' now?"
"Well, I always assumed that our relationship would develop into something permanent." He sulked.
"I was hoping for that myself." She softly confessed.
"So I did all right?" he had to ask since the whole concept of a candlelit dinner was completely foreign to him.
She wrapped her arms around him, "It's perfect."
Her kiss was steamy and full of pent up passion. Afterwards, Vic was a little breathless; "The dinner isn't the only thing that's perfect. Being here and sharing it with you is divine."
Helena smiled, "Y'know, every time I think you're a complete basket case you do something like this and redeem yourself. You always manage to say and do the right thing, Q. That's why I love you."
"I believe I love you too." Vic admitted, "Having never been in love before I have no frame of reference so I can't…"
"Shut it Q before you ruin the mood." She ordered.
"Shall we eat?" he sought a neutral topic.
She smiled broadly, "Let's."
Dick and Ulla walked the Jersey Shore. Their plans were set. In a few days they would fly to Chicago and they would look for places to live. They were looking forward to getting closer without the Queen's interference. Little did they know that another Bat person had recently settled in Chicago.
The scene in Fate's tower was one of frustration. Kent and Inza Nelson, along with Zatanna watched as Amazo-Prime tried to reintegrate Amazo without success. The Avatar was resisting and so far his efforts had been the only ones to succeed.
Also present was an unexpected guest. The Phantom Stranger, who was no stranger to the tower, was present as a witness to these events. His purposes, as always, were shrouded in mystery.
"Are you certain you don't wish to speak with Fate?" Kent asked. The helmet of Nabu sat in its usual place of honor atop a specially crafted pedestal. Both Kent and Inza were enjoying their time together and the Stranger knew Kent actually loathed the idea of putting on the helmet.
The Phantom Stranger shook his head, "Fear not Kent Nelson, I have no need of Fate. What shall pass will pass with or without his presence."
"That's hardly comforting." Inza opined.
"You make it sound as though something were about to happen." Kent accused.
"If you pardon the expression, fate happens regardless of our efforts. All we can choose is how we face our destiny." The Stranger said cryptically.
"You're still not making me feel any better." Inza shared.
The Phantom Stranger had no reply.
"Can I help?" Zatanna asked Amazo-Prime.
"I do not see how." He sadly admitted, "Although his abilities have been pared down by the Specter my Avatar's sense of determination and strength of will have been greatly increased. I simply can't overpower him."
"So what do we do with him?" Zatanna wondered.
"Now that is the question." Amazo-Prime sighed.
A boom tube opened in the heart of the room. Ra's al Ghul, clothed in the armor of Anubis and wielding the sword of Set, was the first to emerge. He was swiftly followed by Tala and the Enchantress.
Tala saw Kent Nelson heading for the helmet of Nabu and she encircled it with mystical energy. The energy repulsed Nelson, sending him flying across the room. Inza unleashed a bolt of mystical energy and directed it at Tala. Tala erected a shield that blocked all of Inza's spell. Next she cast one of her own.
The Enchantress confronted Zatanna. She unleashed a pillar of fire that threatened to run over Zatanna. The JLer transformed the fire into wind and sent it back to the Enchantress. The winds transformed into flowers and landed at the Enchantress's feet.
Zatanna incorporated steel manacles that covered the Enchantress's hands and a cage that surrounded her. Zatanna's foe transformed all of the metal into soap bubbles. Zatanna wondered what it would take to stop the Enchantress. If she recalled correctly, June Moone's magicks couldn't' affect any living thing.
Zatanna could summon a tiger or other predatory beast but it would maul the Enchantress. She wanted to take the villainess without harming her. She finally reached a decision on how to do that.
Zatanna set out on a march. A march that would lead her to the Enchantress. The legionnaire unleashed every trick in her book and Zatanna countered every one of them. Finally, the mystical JLer stood directly in front of her foe.
Zatanna punch the Enchantress square on in the face. She followed this with a right cross and then a left. Another right finished June Moone off. Zatanna was proud of herself. She'd have to thank Wildcat for those boxing lessons.
In the midst of all of this, Ra's reached Amazo-Prime. The android had struck out with every spell that he knew and Ra's just wandered through it all. The armor of Anubis granted him immunity from magic just as the sword of Set allowed him to slice through any tangible or intangible object.
Ra's thrust the sword into Amazo-Prime's chest and eldritch energy erupted from it. Amazo-Prime went down and Ra's lifted the sword high above his head in order to sever the android's head from its body.
A white energy blast struck him and hurled him across the room. Ra's rose and saw the same energy pulsating out of the Phantom Stranger's hand. Ra's couldn't believe what had just happened.
"I am immune to magic." He hotly declared, "So how is it you can affect me?"
"My powers are beyond mortal ken." The Stranger declared, "My purpose here is simple. You will not harm Amazo-Prime any further. Take the Avatar and be done with it."
"I do not like being manhandled." Ra's sniffed, "We shall meet again."
The Stranger remained aloof, "Undoubtedly."
Ra's severed the Avatar's bonds and the pair moved to retrieve Tala. Zatanna stepped up to interfere but the Avatar stunned her. Meanwhile, Tala imprisoned both Nelsons in mystical bonds. She stepped to Ra's' side as he summoned a boom tube. Taking a moment before entering its embrace, she blew a kiss to the Phantom Stranger.
As the boom tube closed, the Nelsons' mystical bonds faded. They immediately checked on Zatanna. The Avatar's energy bolt had been mild and she was already recuperating. Kent wheeled on the Stranger.
"Why didn't you help?" he demanded.
The Phantom Stranger took pity on Kent. He was, after all, merely mortal. Fate was a Lord of Order. He would understand the cosmic forces at play in this singular event.
"My purpose here wasn't to block the acquisition of Amazo but to prevent the destruction of Amazo-Prime. The days are coming when Fate and Amazo-Prime may be all that stand between Darkseid's subjugation of Earth and true justice."
"Darkseid has tried invading Earth." Kent reminded the Stranger, "He's failed on all three occasions."
"Yes, but this will be a campaign of both the great and the quiet darkness. Darkseid has discovered a weapon of great potential and he intends to use it. Earth's heroes, even aided by the New Gods, may not be able to withstand what is to come." The Phantom Stranger explained.
The Stranger's scrutiny was leveled at Kent, "You must warn them, Kent Nelson. You must inform Fate and he in turn must warn Earth's mightiest heroes. This is a sacred charge. Do you accept this role?" The Phantom Stranger asked.
"I don't seem to have much choice." Kent replied grimly.
"Of course you do." The Stranger sagely replied.
"Not if I want to live with myself." Kent admitted.
"I shall leave you to it." The Stranger announced, "Farewell…and good luck."
"Kent," Inza interrupted Nelson's sense of foreboding, "you need to attend to Amazo-Prime while Zatanna and I escort the Enchantress to our dungeon."
"Of course." He nodded. He went to Amazo-Prime and inspected the android's wounds. Nothing seemed irreparable. Mainly, Amazo's mystical energies had been disrupted. While Kent tried to assist him, the android came to and confirmed Kent's diagnosis. Amazo-Prime would be fine after a time.
Kent pondered the Phantom Stranger's words. Steeling himself, he went to the pedestal and lifted the helmet of Nabu. Slipping it on, his personality and essence were submerged in the totality that was Dr. Fate. Fate read Kent's mind and he knew he had a mission. Summoning his mystic energies, he teleported to the Hall of Justice.
Okay, so I'm finally writing a footnote. As you can tell by the ending there WILL be a Part 7 to the series. I'll get to it after I wrap up a few other projects.
Now a word to all the BM/WW fans out there. I have a reason why Batman and Wonder Woman are no longer a couple. That reason is that I watched "Batman Beyond." "Batman Beyond" was incorporated into the JLU in Season One of the JLU.
In "Batman Beyond" Bruce Wayne is a lonely, bitter old man that has been alone for almost twenty years. There is no Wonder Woman, no Bat Babies, no happy ever after. Batman has pushed away everyone he ever cared about except for Alfred…and he's dead.
Barbara Gordon reveals to Batman's successor that she and Bruce had an intimate relationship and that said relationship went beyond boyfriend/girlfriend. This is why I chronicled the rise and fall of the couple.
I have received scolding, complaints, and requests to change these facts. I have even received messages that simply told me that the people hated me for the pairings. I'm sorry that this has caused people obvious pain and turmoil but the series stands the way that it was written.
A word of thanks: For all of the people that read this story and especially to all of you that have read all 6 Parts, I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks. It was your encouragement that made me decide to do a Part 7.