Author's note: Well I didn't think this update would take so long... but it did which I'm guilty about. But in my defence, I've been unbelievably busy, eyeball deep in work, tests and assignments. So I couldn't work on my stories for a while. This chapter unfortunately is unBeta'd, I was unable to reach my Beta and I had to get it out, before I get even busier and forget. So I apologize for any errors in advance.
Now A huge thank you to all my readers, especially the reviewers! You guys really motivated me to get this finished and posted. So thank you so much for your support!
Clark heaved a sigh as he waved the last ambulance off. He had tactfully managed to avoid Lois's questioning looks. He was certain he was going to get a piece of her mind at the office later on. And from the look Diana had given him, she too was going to have his head. Briefly he entertained the idea of making some excuse and high tailing it out of there, but even though he could probably outrun Diana she would find him eventually.
So Clark squared his shoulders and flew to her side.
"You're not going to check on your fiancé?" Diana asked when he landed next to her.
She'd asked him calmly, too calmly for his liking. That tone of voice just screamed- Danger ahead. Not to mention the look she was giving him. Who needed lasers when you could simply look a man down like that?
Clark shifted uncomfortable, no matter how he tried to phrase it in his head, it still wouldn't be a good enough explanation. But Diana was waiting, and he was so screwed.
"You know about that asking Lois to marry me thing?" he began with a nervous laugh, she did not share his humour. "You are so going to laugh when you hear about what a misunderstanding it was..."
His voice trailed off has he ran a hand sheepishly through his hair. Diana crossed her arms over her chest, "Humour me," she deadpanned.
Clark gulped. "Well you see, I did ask Lois to marry me..." he began even as he strained his ears for any sound of trouble.
An earthquake could really get him out of this tough situation. But even as the thought crossed his mind, Clark mentally berated himself for having such a horrible thought.
This was his mess and no natural disaster (even a small one really- a little shake here and there) should be his getaway ticket.
Diana for her part waited for him to gather his thoughts. Ever thoughtful, even as she probably plotted his demise. Clark mused.
"Only... Lois didn't say yes," he added when the silence had stretched too much.
"So you lied," Diana concluded.
"No!" Clark quickly said, "I just omitted the truth a bit, besides you were already out the window!"
Yeah Kent... real smooth. Blame the window.
The Amazon nodded, "So you're saying this whole lie is my fault?" she asked him, not once raising her voice. Clark wasn't sure which was scarier, a furious Diana or a calm one.
"No, I didn't say that. You're putting words in my mouth!" Clark exclaimed.
She crossed her arms over her chest, "So now I'm a Word Putter," Diana remarked dryly.
Clark blinked, "That's not even a word!"
"But that's what you said, that I'm putting words in your mouth hence a Word Putter," Diana elaborated with that dangerous calm she'd just found.
"No, you just can't make up words like that Diana," he huffed, because Clark felt English literature should be sacred and Diana was forever butchering it. She probably did it because she knew it irked him a bit.
Then Clark said something he would regret immediately after it had slipped out of his mouth, "Don't know if you've looked around Princess, but this is not Themyscira."
Somewhere in the far recesses of his mind, he heard a curse being uttered.
Eyes widening at his blunder, he opened his mouth as if to call the words back, but a raised hand from Diana stopped him.
"I may have made a stupid mistake but I'm not blind Kal-El!" she snapped, eyes narrowing as she glared him down.
"I'm sorry Diana, I didn't mean that," he tried, "It's just sometimes when I'm around you I get confused."
Diana's mouth formed an O and it would have been comical if the situation wasn't so serious, "So not only do I make you lie, put words in your mouth... but I also confuse you?"
It was a lot like watching a train rushing closer while your foot was stuck between the tracks. You knew something horrible was happening, but you didn't know how to stop it. Yet Clark, was Superman, he could still diffuse this.
"No, I don't mean it like that I-"
"No Kal, I think it's pretty obvious what needs to be done here," she told him as she cut off his feeble attempt at reconciliation.
"It is?" he asked, because he couldn't see what was so obvious and needed to be done. Nothing good, by the glare he was getting.
"We are no longer going to engage in intercourse."
She could have said the world is coming to an end, that's just how much of a shock her statement was to him. Clark was by no means some sex driven man, but he had been celibate for quite a while. It was like giving someone who'd never eaten anything sweet chocolate and then telling them they couldn't have it anymore.
It was an unnecessary cruel thing to do.
"Diana, don't you think that's a bit drastic?" he tried to reason with her. Hoping to appeal to the wisdom up until today she'd exuded in spades.
She shook her head, "Nope, not at all," she said calmly, "I think I need this, we need this."
"NO!"Clark blurted, "This is not on my essentials' list Diana, besides I'm also a victim here."
Diana arched an eyebrow, "Excuse me?"
"Diana, you wanted to have a no strings attached relationship," he reminded her.
"So that gave you a right to lie?"
"I didn't lie," Clark objected, "you were already out the window before I could explain everything."
Ah that window, really it was becoming a symbol of everything wrong with this. He thought warily.
"A lie by omission is still a lie," Diana stated.
Heaving an exasperated sigh, Clark decided to change tact, "Fine perhaps we do need time to revaluate where we stand," he said with a blank face.
Perhaps if he called Diana's bluff she'd see the error of her ways and come to her senses.
"Agreed," Diana said outstretching her hand for a handshake.
Reluctantly Clark accepted the hand, shaking on it, but not before adding his two cents, "Just so you know Princess, we both know you need this more than me," he said.
Diana cocked her head to the side, seeming in deep thought before a smile broke on her face. "Careful Kal," she teased, but before Clark could retort she gave him a swift kiss on the corner of his mouth, "I never back down from a challenge," with a cares to his cheek she shot into the sky leaving a baffled and slightly bemused Superman to decipher her words.
"So she's not giving you any," Wally said, rolling his eyes, "Weren't you like some celibate alien warrior just a couple of months ago?"
Clark snorted, "Wally if this talk is supposed to make me feel better, it's not working."
The Kryptonian was still going over his conversation with Diana, trying to find loopholes in a bet he hadn't known he'd agreed into until he shook on it. He'd needed a sounding board and at the time confiding in Wally had seemed like a good idea.
But the Flash for all his airhead ways had quickly seen through Clark's evasive story about a friend he had who had found himself in a bind. He wasn't sure, but he thinks his description of the woman had been a dead giveaway. How many tall, beautiful, strong and opinionated women did they know that had magical means to elicit the truth out of a man?
Clark admitted it wasn't his finest moment, in a day riddled with bad moments.
"Okay, okay, let's try a different approach," Wally suggested, he grew solemn as he seemed to mull things over in his head. Which in Wally's case, meant thoughts were running a mile a minute.
Finally his face lit up as if he'd come to a conclusion, "So you're horny, it happens to the best of us. Really I mean look at me, I'm practically sex on two extremely fast legs, yet you'd think those girls would notice? No, I mean you speak your mind, since girls claim they want that, and suddenly it's Wally you're so inappropriate. Wally, over my-"
"Uhm I think I get the gist Wally, thanks," Clark said, effectively halting Wally's rant, just as Hal walked in a smirk on his face.
It was obvious from the Green Lantern's face that he had something he was dying to tell, but rather then blurt it out Hal instead took a seat propping his feet on the console.
Clark and Wally exchanged looks.
"What's the scoop?"Wally who had far less tact asked.
Hal smirked, "Just wait for it," he said and not a moment too soon the Batman entered. For once the silence that followed his entrance had nothing to do with the scowl on his face and air of doom, but rather the state he was in.
You didn't need super vision to note how Bruce's cowl looked slightly askew. Not to mention the state his suit was in.
Clark recovered first, "Batman, what happened?"
"Wait until you find out," Hal whispered but his voice still managed to carry through the room.
Whether Bruce didn't hear him or opted to ignore him was unknown, but he let the comment slide and answered Clark gruffly, "I fell down the stairs."
"What stairs?!" Wally exclaimed, "Did they have a meat grinder at the end or something?"
The Batman gave him a scathing glare, "I was running security upgrades and had a slight incident," he said evasively.
"And then you fell into a meat grinder?" it was obvious Wally wasn't ready to relinquish his 'meat grinder' theory. And from the angry tears on the chest of Batman's suit, one couldn't really blame him.
Heaving an exasperated sigh, Batman crossed his arms over his chest, "No, these are curtsey of our hostage," he explained. He probably realised that unless he came clean all sorts of speculations would start running amok in the league quarters.
"You mean your hostage?" Hal asked, wagging his eyebrows suggestively, "She sure as hell isn't being chained to my room."
"Or mine and I've made it perfectly clear I wouldn't mind," the Flash piped in.
Clark eyed Bruce with a bemused expression. Never had he seen Bruce tangle himself like this, especially not at the expense of Wally and Hal.
Turning his back on both of them, Bruce instead addressed Clark, "I'm going to check in Gotham, if any problems arises my com-link is on," he said.
"Probably needs to change out of that suit," Wally quipped under his breath.
Diana handled the last senitel before she issued a command to end the training programme.
Grabbing a towel to dap at the sweat on her forehead she finally turned to regard her visitor, "Heard Bruce is kicking you out today," she said.
She'd just returned from her confrontation with Kal and had run into Zatanna who without any prodding had updated Diana on what she'd missed while at Metropolis. And one of those updates had been about Bruce and a certain feline captive.
Selina shrugged, "Guess my rehabilitation is over," she said leaning against the wall.
"Yep, I think he thinks by being surrounded with all this goodness I'll have some sudden epiphany and see the errors of my ways," Selina replied dryly.
Diana frowned, she'd been around Selina for a bit now. Yet from her observances Selina wasn't evil or crazy. Which raised the question why she had chosen a life of crime? Selina had even proven to be quite smart and with her skills she could easily get a good job, yet she didn't. This of course frazzled someone like Diana who believed the side of good was really the only choice worth taking.
"Have you seen the errors of your ways?" she asked really curious now.
"I obviously know the errors of my ways, that's never been my problem, "Selina answered, "It's been Bruce's, but look I didn't come here to talk about my relationship or lack of."
"You came to say farewell?"
"No, I don't do those," Selina stated with a dismissive way, "I came to give you some last pointers, because those spinsters you hang with, will only lead you astray."
"They aren't spinsters," Diana corrected warily, "...so what pointers?"
Selina grinned, "I think you're letting Superman off easy," she said.
"Yes, you've obviously fallen for that Boy Scout charm and I think it's time you upped the ante," Selina replied.
"You mean like playing hard to get?"
If Selina was surprised by Diana's frank words she didn't show it, "exactly," she agreed.
"Sort of like you and Bruce?"
"Er, no offense but from what I can see that hasn't been working for you," Diana pointed out.
"That's what Bruce wants you to think," Selina said leaning over as if to share a secret, "it's like psychology but in reverse."
Diana's arched eyebrow showed her doubts on the account, yet she relented. What harm could possibly come from hearing these pointers?