Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Justice League characters. They belong to DC comics and their respective creators.
AN: The idea for this one-shot came from several places: reading Batman: HUSH and Batman: Heart of Hush, along with reading some SM/WW fanfics that were also peppered with Batman and…oh (expletive), I forgot (Actually, I didn't forget, but I won't say the woman's name yet, but if you've read "Best Friends" by Hellacre and/or "Gods and Heroes" by Wentworth360, you'll know who I'm talking about). Based on those inspirations, I wanted to try and do a fic that gets inside Bruce's mind a little bit and flesh out his feelings on certain things that I know go through his mind every now and then. Specifically two things. One that revolves around his two good friends and their so-called "friendship", and the second in the form of a woman that always seems to invade his subconscious no matter what he does. Plus I'm also just getting really tired of seeing this glut of BM/WW fics here. I know it's only fan fiction and whatnot, but seriously? Batman and Wonder Woman? Together? Give me a break. If these two people are true to characters and to each other, there is no absolutely no way it can happen, and it really can't. And if anybody wants to list the JL/JLU animated series as proof that it is possible for these two be together let me drop a little bomb shell on said BM/WW fans: Bruce Timm hates Superman and Wonder Woman (or at least he comes across as not respecting them in any way). And together even less. Not only did he purposely have Clark be written as a dumb jock and a total pushover (two things he is definitely not) through most of JL/JLU, but he also had Diana written so horribly out of character it was pathetic. Wonder Woman is not somebody who is arrogant, hostile, quick with her fists, or obsessed with giving Batman the eye, as Hellacre said best. If Timm had read the proper source material, he would know this. Why Timm didn't bother to look in the proper WW source material I will never know, plus Timm saying he didn't know what to do with Diana at all during the series makes him look like an idiot who can't get past his Batman fetish to give other characters the same amount of respect. Now it's one thing to say you didn't know what to do with the character if you're gonna fix the problem, but to just leave it that way and not fix it? I'm sorry, but to me as a fan, I find that very inexcusable. Not only that, but the fact that people are okay with Diana and Clark written out of character because that approach is "new and different" is enough to make me laugh, but only because that kind of thinking is pretty pathetic. There's nothing wrong with having a different take on the characters, but at the same time you shouldn't try things that, while new, might undermine who said characters are. That's just taking the coward's way out and trying to be smarter than the source material. Two things Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve did NOT do. When in doubt, learn from the masters, Timm.
Timeline: Main comics canon, but I've taken some pieces from the animated series as well as the films.
From A Dark Knight Point Of View
You can almost call it hypocritical.
It's almost laughable, isn't it? Batman, The Dark Knight, the "World's Greatest Detective" realizing that even he himself is a hypocrite.
Good thing Wally's only got high speed and not telepathy like Jonn, because if he did, he'd probably laugh himself to death, if not tease me about it until Kingdom Come, and that's probably not even counting the rest of the members in the league and JSA.
Now just how exactly did I come to this final deduction?
Those who know me the best would think that it wasn't hard for me to figure out, given that I am one of the most analytical people out there, and as a result have yet to find a mystery that couldn't be solved, but this is something that isn't so much mysterious as it is subtle and in its own way, is quite obvious if you know where to look.
Just what is this thing I'm talking about, you might ask?
Well, you can sum the whole thing up in three names. Two of which are close friends of mine that are so unknowingly intertwined with each other it's not even remotely funny, and the other being of someone who for some reason is still able to touch a part of me I thought I had sealed away a long time ago.
And it's these names that tend to remind me of my own little double standards when it comes to how I am with my colleagues in the League/Society and even in my own "circle" of allies.
Clark, Diana, and Selina.
As to what is it exactly that connects these three people to me, and just how Clark and Diana's little "tango" seems to mirror me and Selina in several ways is not something you can sum up in one word. You can almost call it several things, but I think the term, "Unresolved Sexual Tension" would probably be the best way to put it, whether it's with those two or Selina and myself.
But to really understand why I'm putting it that way, let's take a look at Clark first.
Whether you call him by that name, or by his Kryptonian name Kal-El (which has an interesting meaning in Hebrew), or just Superman, they all pretty much mean the same person.
One of the most distinct things about Clark is that if you were to ever meet him, even if only for just a few moments, you instantly feel a kind of genuine humbleness and goodness about him, and it's not the kind that's a front for something sinister, or even anything that's whitewashed. It's something that's more genuine than what you would think someone like him would have, given what he can do. And in spite of my own doubts and paranoia I had when I first met him, even I couldn't help but feel the same way everybody else did (and now having gotten to know him better over the years, I'm glad it was one of those few times where I didn't listen to my paranoia for once).
The surprising thing about that trait is that Clark is completely unconscious of it. He doesn't see himself as somebody that's larger-than-life, but as someone who is genuinely here to help, nothing more and nothing less. Even though there have been times where I've inwardly wished that Clark would impose his will so as to get to the task at hand already and not discuss it anymore than what's needed, I'm glad he doesn't.
Of course there are some, particularly Lex Luthor and Darkseid, who seem to think that his humbleness and easy-going nature is a sign of weakness and as such think he's a pushover. Even I thought that way myself to some extents, but just like Luthor and Darkseid, even I couldn't be more wrong.
Though he's humble and one of the kindest people I know (and probably one of the best of friends you could ever ask for, but don't ever tell him I said that part) he is anything but a boy scout.
He's a very rustic person, meaning that he prefers the simple things in life and doesn't care much for the extravagance of things. However, at the same time Clark knows the value of hard work (along with knowing the harsh realities of life) and isn't afraid to do (in his own way) what it takes to get the job done, but he won't cross lines to do it, even though Clark knows there are exceptions.
He may come across as a bit of a wimp to some people in his bumbling "disguise" when he goes to work at the Planet, but I know the real him can't help but peek out through that façade of his at times when he's there. I almost envy how he's been able to pull that off over the years but I know all too well from my own experience that it's got to be convincing to a T, or people will catch on for sure and begin to suspect something else.
But then again, I suppose there is some truth to the saying where people only see what they want to see.
Another thing that some people tend to dismiss (and I'm guilty of this too) is just how sharp of a mind Clark has got. I know that I have one of the most analytical minds out there, but that doesn't mean I have the end-all-be-all analytical mind in spite of what some people might think. Though he usually tends to follow his instincts first (or as I like to put it, fly before looking), Clark is more than capable of mapping out all possibilities and results and going over them enough to know what he has to do (if Kryptonians had the kind of logical mind that they did, then Clark is no different), but as always with his nature, he won't announce that and will let everybody else have their say before he steps in.
Just like everybody else, he does have fallibilities and weaknesses. But I've found that while kryptonite and magic are his two main ones, those are not his real weaknesses. Not really.
His real weakness is his own heart. Granted, it may be alien, but given who raised him and brought him up, he feels emotions just as deeply as we do. So even though he wouldn't hesitate to get in front of a bullet (or in some cases a whole bunch of them) or a tidal wave of fire, nothing could protect him from seeing someone die on his watch, especially when it comes to someone he cares about. That's when the "Man Of Steel" melts away and reveals the man underneath. The man who isn't afraid to show emotion and empathy for everyone, even the ones that deserve it the least…the man who cares…some could say it might be too much, but given how people are with each other in general these days (my own city being a prime example), is there really such a thing as caring too much when people are caring for each other less and less?
Next is Diana, Princess of Themyscira. Also known as Wonder Woman.
At a glance, she's pretty much a goddess come to earth in human form, which is interesting since a goddess (make that several) did actually bless her.
But if you think that makes her a porcelain doll, think again.
Diana may have been born a princess, but she was born to an island of immortal warrior women that have been around since the days of ancient Greece (almost hard to believe, but it's true).
As to why nobody's heard of them is because the Amazons have lived in isolation from the rest of the world for three thousand years until just recently (about fifteen years ago, if I'm not mistaken). The circumstances that led to them isolating themselves were…not exactly pleasant for Diana's mother or her sisters. Fortunately they were able to break out of the bondage that Heracles and his men had put them through and were able to escape, and then some time after that (I don't know how long) Diana was "born".
Because of how Diana came to be and who blessed her, and how she was raised and trained, it really is easy to see her as a true demi-goddess in every sense of the word, and one who could easily kill you without even breaking a sweat.
Now I know that some people like to wonder if I'm as attracted to Diana as anybody else (since I'm always stoic and like to give nothing away), and all I'm going to say is that while I may be the most disciplined person out there, even I am no more immune to her than any other straight guy out there would be, so I'll let you figure out the answer for yourself. However, even in spite of that, I know for a fact (make that several facts) that it wouldn't work at all.
For one thing, Diana came to this world (or what she calls the Patriarch's world) to help bring peace to it, whereas my priority is first and foremost Gotham. Now don't get me wrong, I am well aware of how selfless her mission is, but the way Diana wants to go about it just doesn't coincide with how I go about things. Now granted, bringing genuine, real hope to Gotham is something I do believe in very strongly (and is one of the main reasons why I do this), but given the state Gotham is in, there's just no way it'll work, or at least not in the way Diana would do it, as opposed to places like Metropolis, Boston, etc.
To me, in order to be able to bring Gotham to the great city it can be, people there need dramatic examples in order to shake them out of the apathy they are in (much like what Clark does in Metropolis), and doing it via the usual means just isn't going to work, and as much as I hate to say it, Diana's means to her mission falls in the "usual means" category. Even me being a billionaire/philanthropist outside the Batsuit doesn't carry the weight necessary to make the drastic change that's needed in Gotham. However, in the suit…as a symbol meant to tap into criminals' fears…a symbol that can't be corrupted nor compromised, nor even be predicted…now that's a different story.
Now let's say hypothetically I was bold enough to pursue Diana, and give a chance to a possible relationship, that would also mean I would have to deal with Diana's mother, Queen Hippolyta, as well as her Amazon sisters. Now I may be someone that knows how to plan for every single scenario, but that's one of the very few scenarios I would not really know how to plan for.
Given what Heracles had put Hippolyta and her "sisters" through, do you really believe that she would allow herself to be completely vulnerable with any man again, let alone allow her own daughter to? Scars like that may heal, but they don't really go away, so it really isn't a stretch to see her being wary of any man she meets, not just for her own sake, but also for her sisters, and especially, her only daughter.
Now I may have mastered the ability to intimidate any criminal I meet, but to think that I would be able to keep my calmness and collectiveness down while meeting Hippolyta face-to-face would test me beyond my limits. I wouldn't be doing any intimidation; she'd be the one doing it. Plus she wouldn't need the Gauntlet of Atlas or the Sandals of Hermes to deal with me, just a regular sword.
No, you weren't hearing things. I did say it. Limits.
Go ahead and laugh if you want to. But even I know (and this is something I really hate to admit) that I do have limits.
It's amazing how what Alfred said back when I was just starting out as Batman resonate even now.
"Know your limits, Master Wayne."
"Batman has no limits."
"But you do."
"Well, can't afford to know 'em."
"And what's going to happen on the day you find that out?"
"Well, we both know how much you like to say, 'I told you so.'"
"On that day Master Wayne, even I won't want to, probably."
I have gotten into heated discussions with Clark, Dick, Tim, and just about everyone else in my own circle up to the JL/JSA more than once over the years, but one person I know better than to argue with is with Alfred. Like it or not, he always knows what to say regardless of what the circumstance is, and even for all that I can do, that's one skill I don't have, but then again that's one skill you have to be born with; you can't really learn it. And as the years have passed, I don't think Alfred had any idea just how correct he was. From Jason Todd's death at the Joker's hands…to Barbara being paralyzed by that monster…to especially having my own spine broken by Bane, I know for a fact that I do have limits. Unlike Clark and almost everybody else, I don't have any powers. I can't re-energize myself completely by standing under a yellow sun, let alone use magic like Dr. Fate or Zatanna. The only thing I have is my own intelligence, body, and will. And while that does go a long way (especially against my own "rogue's gallery", since I know how they think and I know how to plan for them), that can be a whole different story when it comes to things that are out of my "zone" of familiarity, whether it be against Clark's big time foes like Doomsday or Darkseid, or Diana's own foes like Ares. Even if I had some degree of prep time, the best I'd be able to do is keep them at bay, but it wouldn't be for too long. The only real way to stop those kind of bad guys would be to engage them directly, and that's just not something I would really know how to do, especially against Ares or Darkseid. But then again, knowing those two they'd probably be able to match my own backup plans with plans of their own easily.
Not only that, but there's also the intimacy issue (Yes, I'm going there.).
Given that Diana is not only one of the most beautiful women out there, she's also one of the most strongest, meaning that while every guy (married or not) would like nothing more than to be with her in that department, they don't take into account that Diana's super-strength could easily break them in half without even meaning to while they're "doing it". So even though any guy would be giving his all, Diana would hold back out of fear of hurting or killing them, and that would be something that any guy would eventually come to resent.
Of course, said resentment would only get worse if they knew who Diana gives the look of genuine longing towards, and it isn't to them or anybody else…except for one corn-fed farmboy.
And now we come to not only the third person, but also the main reason (in my case anyway) as to why a romantic relationship with Diana wouldn't work out at all: Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman.
Now to say that she is irritating yet intriguing and jaw-droppingly sexy all at the same time would be a little bit of an understatement. That, plus the fact that she is the only one who still manages to occupy a large corner of my subconscious even after all these years.
From all that I've learned about her, she had come from an abusive childhood. Her mother was emotionally distant and spent more time with cats than with anyone else, and her father was an alcoholic, both of whom committed suicide pretty early in her life. As such she ended up taking to the streets which didn't last long for she got caught quickly and was sent to an orphanage and then later to juvenile hall, where she had uncovered some funds that the administrator had been secretly embezzling. Though the administrator tried to kill her, she managed to escape and go back to living off the streets, particularly in a place called Alleytown where I know she had to have met "Mama Fortuna", who had been heading up a gang of young thieves there for a time. As to what happened after that stint I'm not sure, but rumors that child prostitution were common in that area of town weren't unheard of, so it wouldn't surprise me if Selina had gone that route to support herself along with learning thievery from said gang before she left.
Now, just what is it about Selina/Catwoman that sets her apart? And just why is it that, of all women, I feel more for her than anyone else when I really shouldn't, given that she is/was/is/was a thief?
I've asked myself that question more times than I can count, and while I've tried to figure it out and come up with reasons that made some sense (or at least in a way where I can deal with it), it really wasn't until my former friend Thomas Eliot, a.k.a. Hush, literally cut out Selina's heart that I realized what I had already known deep down but was too scared to admit.
I love her.
Call it whatever you want, whether it's "madly", "unconditionally", or even "irrevocably", but either way, it still boils down to that fact and that fact alone.
"I know what that gutter slut means to you, even if you deny it to yourself. It doesn't matter whom you're with-diplomat, socialite or super-powered freak-there has only been one woman that really held your heart."
I can hate Tommy for what he put Selina through, and I can disagree with his belief that I am just an arrogant playboy that's self-indulgent of his every whim, but I can't bring myself to disagree with him on those words, because in spite of everything, Selina does indeed have my heart. In more ways than one, and more than I can ever say.
Now I've dated more than my own fair share of beautiful women over the years (even well before Selina came into the picture), but somehow…from the very first time I had laid eyes on her in that cat-suit…there was just something about her specifically that just stirred something in me, and at first I wrote it off as me just being caught off guard by her attractiveness and sexiness, but as the years would go by, it would turn out to be a whole lot more than that.
Not only is she breathtakingly beautiful, but I've seen enough of her fighting skills to realize that in terms of hand-to-hand combat and everything in-between, she's almost as dangerous as I am, to say nothing about that whip she carries with her.
She's nobody's fool, and can be blunt, yet at the same time, she can also be subtle and secretive without letting on that she might have something up her sleeve.
Even though she has stolen, and done some time in jail (though not in Arkham, which I am relieved by), she does have a conscience and has done her own fair share of heroism at various points. But even that didn't seem to completely keep her from getting the urge to steal every now and then. But I have a feeling that she really only did that to get attention, specifically mine. And not only did I always seem to let her do that to me, but in a twisted way, I enjoyed it.
Go ahead and call me a hypocrite if you want (you'd be in the right since I have told various JL/JSA members to keep things on a professional level on more than one occasion), but let me ask you, who else out there can really keep me off my guard and only guess as to what her next move is going to be? Who else could annoy me to no end and yet at the same time intrigue/attract me countless times even though part of me knows that I shouldn't let her get away with that? Not even Talia or Jezebel Jet have that kind of effect on me.
Even though I can now see it completely, I knew that the clues were all over the place for a long time, even though there were a few that I wanted to dismiss, particularly one clue that couldn't have been a more obvious reflection of my feelings for Selina, and that's Clark and Diana.
Now I'm sure you're wondering just how can I tie Clark and Diana's little "tango" with what's been going on between me and Selina? Well, even though there's obvious differences between them and us (Clark and Diana both being heroes and me being the Dark Knight and Selina the theif/anti-hero), there's more than enough similarities when you put it on an emotional level, and one that's very pure, even for me and Selina surprisingly enough. As both of them can be comfortable around the other without needing to say much, so it seems to be with Selina and myself (even though I don't like to give that away too much and I have to force myself to not be so comfortable around her). Despite the fact that he's married to Lois, Clark doesn't seem to mind at all if Diana "hugs" him or as I've heard Wally and Ollie say, "bodywrap" him. Though I have been comfortable with Jezebel Jet at times, it never was to the same level as with Selina, and I could feel that. Plus, as I've said before, she is more than in control of her faculties and has a conscience, which gives her a genuine sense of altruism that I like to see (and usually more than I want to admit).
Going back to Clark and Diana…now I know that a lot of people have this perception that Diana and Clark are too alike and are almost carbon-copies of each other, but they're not.
There's definitely similarities between them, but at the same time there's more than enough differences too. Particularly in where and how they were brought up.
For Clark, you have a guy who grew up in Mid-Western America. His adoptive parents didn't come from any privileged lives nor had notoriety like my own folks (even though the Kent's roots in Kansas go as far back as the days of the Civil War if that counts), rather they were merely farmers who had instilled in him a sense of moral grounding and humility, whereas Diana grew up in an isolated matriarchal society on an island. Her mother was a Warrior Queen who instilled in her a sense of warrior discipline and pragmatism which she ended up carrying over to her adulthood. Granted, while there's definitely a colliding of worlds and philosophies with those two in that respect, it's not to the point where those differences can't be breached and the two can't learn from each other. And from what I've seen with my own eyes along with having worked with them over the years, they more than have.
For instance, Clark is a very easy going, good humored guy who can straddle the line between superhero and everyman better than anyone else. He's someone who knows the highs and lows of being strong and powerful, yet as I've said before, he appreciates the little things in being normal, much like the people he protects. Diana too has a great love of people and the planet and she is one of the most empathetic out of all the Leaguers. However, to reiterate another one of my points, she is almost like a goddess come to earth and her time is spent trying to learn as much as she tries to teach. She is a consummate teacher/student who's also honest and truthful. Her royalty makes her assuming leadership and the limelight something a lot easier for her. Unlike Clark, who never really feels 100% comfortable with being the center of attention, despite having faced Emperors and presidents both here on Earth and other planets and whose word is unknowingly (only in his case since he's not conscious of it) law in Metropolis and trusted throughout the galaxy. Here is where I've seen them both really complement each other and be able to give and take in ways I know Clark cannot do with Lois. Diana has a tendency to be slightly imperious and occasionally her temper can get the better of her, whereas Clark at times needs a push to step up. They also seem to be able to offer each other a great deal without having to compromise who they are as people. Neither one needs to get all dark, angry and needy just to get the other's attention. Neither do they have to lie for said attention. They are just two people who genuinely like each other and light up around each other which as a result, brings out the best in each other. Of course, this also gives more fuel to that ever-growing fire of sexual tension between them, since they're almost an item in everything but, which I'm sure has to make Clark wonder at times if he made the right choice marrying Lois.
Now, I'm not in any way doubting Clark's love for Lois, but the truth of the matter is, why is it that even after so many years, even after Clark married Lois, there's still that undercurrent of there being more than just friendship going on between Clark and Diana, even in spite of what happened with Max Lord recently? Why is it that, even as much as Clark is loyal to Lois and loves her completely, he always seems to be more inclined to be more relaxed when he's confiding to Diana about something (to the point where you would think he was her boyfriend/spouse or something), while on the flipside with Lois it always seems like he's just standing there and taking all of her crap and being more like her surrogate parent/babysitter than her husband?
Well, I'm pretty sure if everything I said in regards to myself and Selina is anything to go by, along with what I've noted with Clark and Diana, I'm sure you know what the answer is.
It's pure love between those two, plain and simple. Love in spite of everything against it, love in spite of all the things that happen in between, a love that exists not because it's forced, but it exists simply because it's natural. It needs no unnecessary whining, complaining, or even second-guessing. It is just that, and that alone. And just as it's there between me and Selina, it's there between Diana and Clark, even if they want to go ahead and deny it a billion times over (I know I have with Selina), and they more than have.
Regardless of the fallout between Clark and Diana because of Max Lord's mind-control over him (makes me wonder if that had been his real intent all along, and not so much controlling Clark), something tells me that something will happen down the road to help mend the rift between the two. What it might be I'm not really sure, but those two have been through too many experiences, both good and bad to truly stop caring about each other. If Clark wasn't able to get over his feelings for Diana even after all this time, I doubt seeing Diana kill just to save him will.
As to why he reacted the way he did to Diana after she literally snapped Lord's neck I can only draw on one hypothesis, and while it's only just a guess, it's the only one that has the most reasonable explanation to it.
In that moment he saw her not as the demi-goddess he had put up on a pedestal (his way of dealing with his feelings for her, I'm sure), but as a human being. A very fallible human being, just like everybody else…just like him, and I'm sure that finally made him see her as an accessible person to him relationship-wise, but because of his commitment to Lois and everything else, he couldn't allow himself to react the way he normally would have and as such blew the whole thing way out of proportion than even I did and more than I would've expected him to. It might sound ridiculous, but let's face it, when you're on an emotional high, whether it be because of joy or sadness or any other feeling, you are flat out not going to think straight at all. And with what Hush recently did to Selina…I can speak from experience.
As to what might happen to cause the Clark/Diana rift to mend I don't know, but I can more than hypothesize as to what might lead to that. And it involves Clark and Lois. Granted, it doesn't look like anything could possibly be wrong with their marriage, but given that the two cannot be completely intimate with each other without risking Lois's life, or even conceive a child for similar reasons, along with Lois's ticking bio-clock, it's really hard not to see it as a train wreck waiting to happen. I know it sounds harsh, but when you think about the factors I just mentioned (and I mean really think about them), along with the dynamic between Clark and Diana…it's hard to see otherwise.
Whether Lois reaches her breaking point and flat out leaves him, or is either killed by a villain (not very likely in my opinion) or by natural circumstances like health causes or things like a car accident (very possible), or worse case scenario, she ends up cheating on him with someone else, (even I find this unthinkable, but it's been my experience that even the least likely of people can change, including Lois) something will happen.
Whatever the circumstance might be, I know that once the camel's back gets broken marriage-wise, Clark will go to Diana for emotional support. Granted, me being his friend as well I'll try to help him out as best I can from my end, but I am not a people-person by any means. That's Diana's department. She's the one person who can take him being vulnerable and cutting loose emotionally with no worries to herself, and out of that, the total mending of the rifts will happen, which could then lead to them going to something more.
As to how that will mirror me and Selina and our own "tango", and what that might mean for us…even I don't really know. But thinking back on what I said to her on her hospital bed after her heart was literally placed back into her body…while I don't normally think this, but…part of me is willing to believe that there might be some hope for me and Selina yet.
Surprised I'm actually saying something like that? Well, I may be a pessimist by nature, but if I wasn't completely optimistic, then I wouldn't believe that Gotham can become a great city in spite of its problems, and I know it can. And while I had originally taken it on as a solo mission, I've found others who have also taken up the cause as well. And as much I tried to dissuade them from doing so, they just kept on pushing until they wormed their way in completely, and I'm secretly glad that they did.
As before, I can't really say what will really happen between me and Selina, or even what might happen between Clark and Lois to cause him to go to Diana completely, since the future isn't written in stone (even in spite of having seen and met alternate/future versions of ourselves). But whatever it might be, I do hope that it all turns out well in the end for everyone.
Besides, I didn't exactly start a betting pool with Wally, Ollie, Kyle, and Conner for nothing.
AN: Thanks to HELLACRE13 for the inspiration.