Chapter 15

Clark gave Diana the space she needed. They were on the roster together for two shifts that following week and he made sure to drop a discreet word in Aquaman's ear to not team them up.

Diana, for her part, was grateful that he respected her wish. She tried to lose herself in work so as not to think of him and Steve. Outwardly she was as efficient and focused as ever. It was only at night she would lie awake and play over that moment in the elevator.

He was going to kiss me. And I wanted him too.

She turned restlessly in her pillow, trying to push away the tempting images cropping up in her head. Gaea, what was happening to her? She never felt this way before. She'd always felt confident and in control. When she was with Steve, she'd never felt so off balanced like she did when she was around him.

Clark...Kal...He was a man of contradictions. Which was real? She still wasn't sure. He could make her feel so angry yet he could get her to smile even against her will. He understood things about her, because he shared things in common with her and it gave a sense of comfort she felt with few others. He wasn't afraid of speaking his mind to her or even intimidated by her status and beauty and least of all her strength. He challenged her ideas and expectations of men in the short time she knew him more than Steve ever did. Steve had treated her like a princess and at times like a child who needed protection. In the beginning that had been fine but as time passed she found what she needed began to change.

She had wanted Superman's friendship and Clark Kent's respect from the start. Now she was getting more than she bargained for and it scared her more than anything. She did not want to make the mistakes her mother did.

He's not Zeus, her heart whispered, recalling the times he could be so gentle despite possessing so much strength. Her eyes stung a little but she rubbed her at them rebelliously. Amazons don't wallow in self pity! She closed her eyes tightly thinking of her mother and sisters. Thinking of the deity father who had abandoned her mother when he had fallen out of love with her and feeling more alone than she'd ever felt since returning with Superman from their off world mission.

The next day, she was sitting in her study when William came in to go over her schedule for the next month. They chatted for fifteen minutes when he suddenly looked up from his iPad.

"Not to go off topic but have you read Clark Kent's recent blog?"

She looked up from her laptop. "I haven't had the chance."

"Well, I don't know what happened to him but he seems to have softened his stance towards you."

"What?" She looked skeptically at him.

"Yes." William tapped his screen and pulled up the ACTION blog. He handed the tablet to her.

Diana stared at the article. It was his most recent blog written a few days ago. It was about her visits to M.A.D.

"It's a rare thing to see celebrities at M.A.D. So when Morgan Edge decided to be generous and send his brand Ambassador over, the charity was grateful for the gifts and the exposure.

I expected Princess Diana would come and do her job in a 'wonderful' fashion, with the media in tow as always. It would be all very photo friendly stuff. Mr Edge showing his savvy at choosing the heroic and beautiful Amazon…it was a royal coup. It makes the most cynical feel even charitable to Edge. It's easy to come see a few mentally vulnerable people for a short time, hand out gifts, smile and leave. And never come back. It takes no effort, in fact. So I was expecting the usual celebrity styled visit.

Princess Diana came and she did something many of us struggle to deal with if we have never walked in a mentally ill person's shoes or have experience as professional working with them. She brought with her the truth. Literally.

She did not see 'madness' as we were conditioned to see it; but as a gift bestowed upon the worthy where society were the ones responsible for defining the consequences. Truth is, sadly, what many of the residents can't see because of their illness but when given that gift, they can attain insight and peace that no medication, no shelter, no technology can offer. She did not shirk from the pain that came with truth. She embraced it and she embraced them.

The residents themselves are more eloquent than I when it comes to expressing themselves. One former resident, Malcolm, a chronic schizophrenic, who gave permission to allow me to use his name, insisted I let people know about her.

"I felt the hope and kindness in her. She made me feel a little less afraid. I had forgotten I was once a man with youthful dreams and was loved. You tell her for me...thank you...for making me remember."

Diana felt a lump in her throat. Clark had four more testimonies from other residents about her. All were glowing.

The last paragraph made her take in a deep breath.

It's easy for me to be cynical. I guess when you don't know someone you can be. You can judge them on what they do in public and think that is all there is to the person. I still don't know Princess Diana in any real personal way but I've met her...three times now. She told me one does not have to be a small man to appreciate the pain of a small man. Or woman. And the rich and poor do feel pain alike. But can ruthless business men like Edge really have any lack of self in them? She seems to believe that everyone had some good in them. It takes a purity in perspective to see that every one of us in the world deserve love and empathy. Maybe we need more people like her who can still see there is a lot of wonder still left in this world.

She looked up at William with a slightly stunned expression.

William nodded impressed. "You must have made quite an impact at M.A.D. or else Mr Kent must have fallen and hit his head to be so gracious in his blog."

Diana uttered, still bemused, "I never expected he would write about my visit..."

He smiled. "Well, I'm not surprised. One only has to meet you and be around you to see how use his pun...wonderful you are."

Diana rolled her eyes good naturedly. "I'm just doing my job."

"Seems Mr Kent isn't immune to your charms. Falling in love with you, no doubt, like all of us."

She felt herself blushing. "I doubt it. He's just being fair to the residents. He's very much involved with them. Likely he trusts their words than my actions." She handed over the iPad.

William studied her face. He wasn't fooled by her attempt at nonchalance. Diana wasn't a woman of the world yet to fool him. He could see she was gratified by the article.

He said astutely, "Perhaps. But we aren't made of stone and those that care for you take pride when people praise you. Before we finish there is something I must ask you."


"What's going on with the Captain?"

Diana stiffened. "What?"

"Diana, since the charity dinner...there's been gossip. He's not shown up here for the whole week and you and he are expected at a gala tonight at the White House and here we have another excuse from him that work has cropped up."

"He's really busy." She squirmed a bit. Lying was not uncomfortable.

"Too busy to come and see you? He's in Washington.

"I've spoken with him on the phone."

"Hmm, well, the tabloids and blogs are speculating and no doubt will gossip more when you show up alone tonight."

Diana stood up and said briskly. "They're always gossiping. I've learned not to pay much attention to them. I take it that's it?"

He stood up. "Yes. I'll go give this to Claire to update your schedule on the website."

As he left Diana sank upon the chair and leaned back chewing her lip. She needed to let William do a press release at some point. The longer they waited the better she rationalized. The press would continue to speculate and by the time they confirmed it, well, hopefully the impact would have been diminished. Diana had seen that happen with other famous couples. Scandals and scoops made more money when no one suspected anything.

She leaned forward and looked for her bookmarked page for ACTION. She pulled up the article and read it again.

She sighed.

Clark tried to keep his head down and work on his blog and do his job at the Daily Planet. He came home late after an arduous day of chasing sources, trying to make his deadline, and doing his job as Superman.

He dropped his bag and kicked off his shoes. The first thing he did was to blur to take a shower and change into a t-shirt and loose shorts. He came out and went to the kitchen. He opened the fridge and grimaced. There was left over mac and cheese from two days ago, milk, one egg, butter, half a loaf of bread, condiments and half a bottle of orange juice. He had hotdogs in the freezer. He needed really needed to go to the supermarket. But right now he really was in no mood to fly out. He went to the cupboard and picked up two cup of noodles and using his heat vision cooker them both and then poured it into a deep soup bowl. He grabbed a fork and went to his computer.

Clark checked the blog for comments. It was one of his highlights to see what people would say. He got his share of praise and censure and valued both. While slurping his meal he skimmed them. It was nice to see that most people responded positively to the subject.

Pulling up another page he checked his e-mails. When he opened his inbox he coughed at once. His eyes instantly registered the e-mail address of the Themysciran Embassy.

He put the bowl down and clicked on the message.

It was short.

Thank you. Diana

Two Weeks Later

Morgan Edge and Sam Lane stood with Lex Luthor and the team of scientists as they looked at the creature. It had demonstrated a growth spurt in the last month that had been astounding. It seemed it had reached full maturation. They had moved it from the tank and place it into a sound and shatter-proof capsule while testing its abilities for the past week.

It was in a state of sedation when they had begun its conditioning. At first they had been in a state of confusion as to how they would begin to breach its tough exterior to even put in probes into its skull. Fortunately, they found a vulnerable area just at the base of the neck where they could inject nanites. The nanites acted like little satellites picking up the signals and transmissions of the reconditioning program.

"Has it intellect?" asked Lane. He did not like the idea that any alien could learn. Learning meant it could not be controlled.

Lex said, "Yes. It can reason. But we've made sure to control its motivational system with a reward-punishment mechanism. It will follow orders."

Edge folded his arms. "What can it do? Have you tested that?"

"Yes, we have. Apart from the obvious invulnerability, super strength, speed, healing factor, it apes a couple of Superman's other powers by adapting it to some of it's own in a truly surprising manner. I'll show you all the taped sessions we had. It's illuminating.

"Why does it look like that?" asked Lane distastefully. "I thought you choose the characteristics you wanted. The government isn't going to care for Super soldiers who look like monsters."

"Yes, alien DNA is a tad unpredictable. Unfortunately it started off looking human and then began to mutate. The original alien species was dominant. "

Edge asked, "What if it refuses to act or get out of control and breaks free of your control mechanisms?'

"Or is even neutralized by the League," added Lane sourly.

"If it breaks that control, the nanites will also be our fail safe. It will self destruct."

"When are we going to send this thing out?" asked Lane impatiently. "The alien is becoming somewhat popular these last few months. He was even thanked publicly by the General Secretary of the UN. The longer we wait the more powerful a unit that Justice League becomes."

"Timing matters, gentlemen. It's all down to timing."

Monthly meetings for the Justice League were mandatory. Every member was expected to attend if they could. Diana had not been to a weekly one for a while so she made the effort this time to keep her schedule clear for it.

She teleported into the Watchtower and found the conference room buzzing with members. Most of them were there. The only person she could not see was Hal. He was off world still on an important mission with the Corps.

She smiled and greeted them all, weaving in and among them, making small talk with Mera and Cyborg before she took her seat

Her eyes caught sight of the red cape out of the periphery of her eyes as she sat down. He was standing near Aquaman, looking down at some reports, and he raised his eyes to meet hers.

She tried not to stare back at him. But the feeling of his gaze on her made her shift in her seat.

What should I do? Smile? Nod? Say hello? You said thank you already. No need to make him feel like it is water over the moat so soon.

"Alright, everyone, sit down and let's get down to business!" began Arthur loudly.

Diana breathed a sigh of relief.

Everyone took their seats, flipped opened their personal laptops and the meeting got underway.

An hour later the meeting was adjourned.

"For those on shift, you all need to report to the Monitor Womb. Steel will be on duty and there are a few situations we are keeping an eye on. The rest of you can either clear out or do whatever you like."

Diana followed Cyborg, Mera, Superman, the Atom and Batman to the Monitor Womb. They stood looking at the satellite feeds and holographic projectors as Steel brought up to date with the current situations they were observing.

"There was a series of thefts of antiquities from various museums in the last fortnight. Someone broke in at the British Museum and took a sword that reputedly was the sword that Arthur himself pulled out of the stone. Batman, can you follow that up?"

"On it." He walked to the platform to be beamed out.

Steel looked at Cyborg, Superman and Mera. "I think you three should take this one. There was a emergency landing of an Airbus over the South Pacific ten minutes ago. These are the coordinates of the last SOS. "

The trio hurried to the teleporter

"There are reports of trapped miners in northeast Penn."

Wonder Woman volunteered. "I can take that, Steel."

Steel nodded. "You want to take Ray with you?"

"Dr Palmer?" she asked.

The shy professor put his hand out. "After you, Diana."

Steel monitored them all via their comlinks and the news reports. Superman, Cyborg and Mera fortunately reached the area where the airbus went down before it could sink. Many of the passengers were still inside and being evacuated down slides and into rafts when they appeared.

Batman was able to interview museum staff, check CCTV footage and look for clues.

Wonder Woman and Atom, on the other hand, had a slightly difficult situation. They arrived to find the mine shaft unstable and the authorities at a lost how to get down without compromising the structure and the fifty people below. Several of them were not in the best physical condition. There were six dead due to the initial collapse.

It took Ray to shrink down to size and go down via the electrical cables to join the men and try to work out structurally the best way for Diana and rescue crew to come down the shaft without causing a cave in. They had to actually create a new tunnel and to do this meant they needed to bore into the mine from another angle.

Cyborg was called upon by Steel to join them. The trio, with the rescue crew, was able to create a new tunnel with the aid of Apokoliptian lasers and carefully lay down explosives and then lift out the miners to safety.

When they returned to the Watchtower some hours later, all three were covered in coal dust.

Superman and Steel were in the Monitor Womb when they stepped off the teleporter. Superman was writing up a report. He turned in his chair at the sound of their arrival.

"Wow, it was a messy job," commented Steel.

Cyborg grimaced."Yeah. I think I have soot in every crevice. So excuse me while I go get myself cleaned up."

"Me too, "said the Atom.

"Take your time. Your report can wait until tomorrow. You okay, Diana?" asked Steel, seeing she looked a little subdued. He knew from Cyborg one person had died after the miners had been taken to hospital numbering the causalities to seven. Diana had been with the man when he had passed away.

"I'm fine," she replied. She was keenly aware that the Man of Steel was simply gazing at her. "I'm going to clean up too."

She followed the others out of the room.

Steel said somberly, "Sometimes I wonder if she regrets coming out of Paradise? Our world must be very tough to get use to."

"Even Paradise has snakes," said Superman.

"Yes, I heard about the Zeus thing. So she's never going back home?"

"I don't know. She thinks she needs to stay away for their benefit."

"So she has no family here?"

"No. She's pretty much out here on her own now."

"Hmm, must be tough."


"She's with that Steve Trevor though, right?"

"I believe so."

"He seems alright."

"I guess if she's with him he must be alright." Superman logged off and stood up. "I'm done."

Steel studied his expression. He viewed Clark as one would a younger brother and he never shied away from sharing his mind with him. He had wanted to say something to him for a while regarding Diana. "Clark, I don't know what's going on between you and Wonder Woman...maybe it's not my place...but..."

The younger man guessed where it was going. He sighed."What, John?"

"I never got why you gave her such a hard time on your blog. I mean, I know you have issues with Edge but you've been hard on her."

He rubbed the back of his neck. "I know, John. I'm trying to make amends."

"I saw your recent blog. It's a start but if she finds out you and Clark are one..."

"She already found out," he interjected.

Steel looked a little surprised. "Oh. How did she take it?"

"Not well at first. She was very angry. I extended the olive branch but she met it with a fist. Literally." He filled him in on their exchange, adding wryly, "That happened two weeks ago. Since then she's cooled down a bit. I've been trying to give her some time and space."

"I see."

"I don't want to push it. I'm hoping she'll come around. She didn't glare at me today so that's something."

"You know I'm thinking she probably could use a friend right now. To just talk."

"I don't know. She might see me as being presumptuous. She's got her boyfriend, you know, to talk to."

"If I'm not mistaken the said boyfriend was on the news this week. He's on some Global Security Summit in Berlin heading the US delegation. Don't know if you know but there's been some gossip about them recently. They haven't been seen together for over three weeks. There's talk that things might not be going so well for the golden couple."

Clark had seen the tabloids. He pursed his lips thoughtfully. He had wondered himself about her and the Captain long before that. He wasn't so big headed to think he played any part in it but he knew something was not quite right between them. If Diana was so in love with Trevor, the look she'd given him in the elevator made it highly suspect. But there wasn't much he could do. She was with Trevor.

He said with a shrug, "Gossip. They exaggerate everything."

Steel added, "Maybe. But thing is, she's alone and has no one right now to just off load. I don't know her all that well to offer. Did you see her face when she came in?"

That settled it for Clark.

Diana showered and changed into clean civilian clothing. She took her spoiled uniform to the cleaning bots. While waiting for them attend to it she went to the galley to get herself some refreshment.

The galley was quiet. She poured herself some juice and sat down at a table and took a few sips. She was staring off into space and did not see the tall figure floating in behind her.

It was the blue armored sleeve appearing before her that made her blink. A tub of ice cream was plunked down before her. Diana swiftly looked up to see Superman standing at her side.

He held out a spoon to her and said, "I know strawberry is your favorite flavor."

A short silence hung between them. She looked at the offered spoon. Her expression was a little difficult to read. She seemed a little taken aback as if the last thing she expected was company, much less his. He hoped she wasn't going to throw the tub at him.

She did not take the spoon right away. She replied flatly, "It is. I don't recognize this brand though."

"It's homemade. From Smallville…where I grew up. It's thought to be the best in the whole state."

"You flew out to your hometown to get this?"


"At this time?" Diana was aware it was three thirty am in that part of the country.

"The folks who make it sell it to the local twenty four hour gas station. That's the great thing about Smallville. You can get the best homemade ice cream after midnight."

Diana looked at him bemused.

"So, are you going to taste it? It will melt, you know," he said, with a raised brow.

She took the spoon and surprised him by saying, "I will if you'll have some too."


It was her turn to arch her brow at him. "Are you going to stand there? It will melt, you know."

He gave a lopsided smile and went to pick up a spoon. Diana was opening the tub when he pulled up a chair and sat opposite her. "I'm a cookie dough sort of a guy but this is really good. It's been made with the freshest ingredients and the best strawberries in the county."

She dipped her spoon in and took a taste. Her eyes widened and she let out a breath. "Gods, that! It's better than Ben and Jerry's or Haagen Dazs. Homemade, you say?"

"Yeah, homemade is always better."

She pushed the tub to him. "Mmmm. Thank you. It is the best I've had since I came out of Themyscria."

"You're welcome." He dipped his spoon in and pushed it back to her.

She eyed him curiously. "Why did you do this?"

"You look like you could use some company. I know your mission was a little tough."

Diana did not deny it. "I guess I do and it was. But I wasn't very nice to you before."

"No but you were understandably upset with me for deceiving you regarding my double identity. I guess if a lot of my other friends found out right now...they'd not be quite happy. But I do it for a reason, Diana."

"I know you do, Kal...Clark...Superman..." She frowned over his names.

He interrupted gently, "You can call me Kal. It's okay. In fact, might be best seeing not all the people here know I have another identity."

"Kal."She paused as if to savor the way it felt to say it as she absently licked her spoon. He found his eyes drawn to her full, rosy lips and the sound of her melodic voice saying his birth name was almost mesmerizing.

He pulled the ice cream towards him so as to focus on something else. Rao, did she have any idea how tempting she looked?

She said earnestly, "I never wanted or expected you to disclose who you are to the world. I know and accept you need to protect those closest to you. But your pushing friends away to protect them or lying to allies who you work alongside to protect this world...that is what I didn't understand. But mostly, even if you had issues with me as Clark you never were honest enough to tell me as Superman. You made me believe you wanted to be my friend and then there was this other part of you that kept pushing me away. I thought you were amusing yourself at my expense."

Clark replied as honestly as he could, "No, Diana, I wasn't. I see now it was wrong to think you needed protection and I should have told you who I was after we came back from Almerac. It's just when I tried to have a normal life in the past...the mere fact I was this alien with all this power and brought only tragedy and showed me I couldn't really just think I could have that. There are a few people who know my secret. Bruce and Steel. You. Your mother. Circumstances dictated that rather than me telling the truth."

"Truth and trust use to be the center of my world. My mother broke it and then you..."

His blue eyes held hers and he finished her sentence wryly, "I made it worse."

"All I wanted was your respect, "she said.

"Which you have," he replied emphatically.

"What you wrote on your blog about me recently...thank you...But why did you do it though?"

"Because it's the truth. I didn't do it to butter you up. I don't operate that way. The residents spoke for you and I simply wrote what they said. I don't know what else I can say to make you believe that. I guess if you're still upset I must respect that and..."

Diana interrupted him and pulled the tub back to her side. "Superman...Kal...I'm sharing my ice cream with you. Do you really think I am that upset?"

His lips twitched. "I guess you'd have made me wear it if you were."

She nodded with a tiny smile on her lips. "Yes. Amazons don't break bread...or share ice cream... with anyone who offends them."

"So I'm out of the dog house?"

"What dog house?"

"Sorry. I mean, am I forgiven for my trespasses?"

"Amazons forgive. We don't forget. So technically, yes, you are forgiven."

"Huh, like many women. I guess I should count my lucky stars."

"Yes, you should." She pushed the tub back to him.

He smiled. "How are you though? I know how hard it is losing civilians."

She briefly told him what happened and then asked, "Did you lose anyone?"

"Fortunately, no. We got there on time." He filled her in on his mission and for the first time in a long time he realized he was off loading himself with someone who knew what it was to face the difficulties he did as a hero. It was a novel but satisfying experience.

It was fifteen minutes later, after they had compared notes and the ice cream was long gone, when she announced, "I need to check on the cleaning bots. They would be finished with my uniform and I have to get to the Embassy. I have an early start today. I might be able to grab a couple hours sleep if I am lucky. Thank you for the ice cream and taking the time to speak to me, Kal."

"It's the least I could do."

"I appreciate it. It's not often I get to chat with someone who understands all this. The burden gets heavy at times when you bear it in silence. It's hard." She sighed and rose to her feet.

He knew he shouldn't but the temptation proved too strong. He despised that look on her face. It spoke of loneliness and guilt. It was like putting emotional shackles on the passionate person he knew her to be. It made her sound and looked so resigned. He knew he was taking a huge risk but he spoke what he felt in his heart. "Trevor needs a kick up the behind if you have been shouldering stuff like this alone."

Diana colored and amended hastily as if to back pedal on what she had unwittingly let out, "He's not that bad. He listens..."

He came to stand before her. "But?"

"But? I never said any but," she remarked, bemused.

"You don't have to say it, Diana. It's all over the tabloids that you two might be going through a rough patch."

"This isn't really a proper topic for conversation," she said stiffly. "We're not that close so why would you imagine I'd discuss my boyfriend with you?"

"I'm not picking you for information on your boyfriend. I just made a simple observation," he replied calmly. "No need to get so defensive."

"I'm not. Steve and I are adults. We can handle ourselves even if we have problems, "she replied, trying not to let him see how uneasy she was feeling at lying and miserable she really felt at the whole situation. No woman wanted, be she human or meta, to be told she was lacking in bed or that she'd duped herself into thinking she was in love and didn't know her own heart.

"So it's true?"

She scowled. "Kal! Gaea, if I wanted your opinion, observation, counsel on my personal life…I would ask. It's not as if you're an expert on relationships with your track record with that Heather person and Zee."

Part of her longed to tell him and even ask him what the hell men expected from women but she knew she couldn't very well do that. The fear of rejection by anyone was not something she wanted to repeat so soon. Her feelings for him were more complex than anything she felt for Steve.

He put his hand up. "Okay, okay, I deserved that dig. But for the record, I listened to you about Zee."

"Yes, but I never judged the women you want to date or those interested in you!"

"I'm not judging Trevor…or your choice in him….Well, not really…Oh, what the hell, I am," he said bluntly. "You don't need to stay with someone out of guilt, Diana. You said trust and truth is the center of your world. Then that should apply to this as well."

"Oh, you are too much, Mr. Double Life," she replied ironically.

"Hey, I'm at least honest with myself why I flunk in my relationships. I can honestly tell you now Zatanna and I had no spark. She knows that. I never deluded myself or her that we could work. I think you're in a bit of denial regarding yourself and Trevor."

"I'm not in denial! Gaea, here I thought we were getting on once again…"

"Look, I have this habit of stating the obvious. It's a Clark Kent trait. Actually more like a reporter's habit that gets me into trouble at times. Ask Perry, Jimmy, Lois or Heather. If we're going to be friends I guess you'll find out I can be quite annoying when I want to be."

She rolled her eyes. "You don't have to tell me you can be annoying. I know it! As for us being friends…you're making it very hard for me to like you, Kal, when you're like this!"

"Well, I guess if you want someone who needs to handle you with kid gloves then that won't be me. I would never hold back with someone like you, Diana," he shot back.

A blush crept up her neck and cheeks. His jaw tightened and he couldn't believe he'd been so reckless to admit to that.

They stared at each other, each holding his/her breath and were it not for both their com-links going off simultaneously, neither knew what would have happened next.

It was Steel's voice. It sounded urgent. "Superman! Wonder Woman! There's a situation in Berlin. You're both needed now!"

Steve Trevor made his way out of the huge conference room of the hotel to the foyer. The fourth session of the week long Global Summit was over. It had been a packed schedule so far with presentations and debates. As the head of the delegation and Liaison to the Justice League he had been very much in the spotlight. There had been a lot of discussion about them and some of their members; Superman being one of the main subjects of discussion.

Many world governments were actually beginning to show a softening on their stance regarding the alien. Steve had to admit he couldn't argue with the fact that since his arrival Superman had shown zero reasons for them to believe that he was intent on conquest. If anything he stood against off world threats with them and put his life on the line for the Earth.

Many new countries were actually coming on board to sign an agreement that allowed the Justice League to legally enter their borders should there be any natural disasters or alien invasion.

As he stepped out into the foyer to head for the elevators to his rooms, he heard his name called, "Zipper!"

He turned to see a familiar face. He broke into a smile.

"Mad Dog? What are you doing here?"

Lois grinned. "I decided to cover it personally for GBC. I have a crew with me. I'm hoping I can get an interview with you before the weekend."

"Hmm, well, we'll see. I have to talk to the Pentagon to get the okay for that. When did you get here?"

"Only last night. I'm staying at the Regency."

"Ah, I'm right here."

"I know. You're taking a break?"

"I'm done for the day actually."

"What do you do for food around here?"

Steve shrugged. "I've been eating room service for the last few days I have so much stuff to go over. Our delegation is not the most adventurous. They prefer hotel fare."

She smiled. "Room service? Oh, for shame. Come on, we'll get you out of this stuffy place. My treat."

He smiled as she slid her arm through his. For the first time in weeks he felt genuinely happy at the thought of going out. They were barely out the door when the whole building seemed to rock. Windows shattered as something large was thrown against the revolving glass doors.

"What the…?" Steve took Lois by the waist and they dived out of the way of the large bus smashing into the foyer.

They tumbled and skidded into a corner and lay squashed together against a couch. They put their head down as glass seemed to spray everywhere.

She gasped under him. "What the hell was that?"

He raised his head to see the main part of the foyer and reception area destroyed. Customers and delegates were peering out the bar and conference room in confusion and panic. The bus was on its side. Steve could smell fuel. He rose to his feet and pushed Lois towards the doors. "Get out! Now!"

"But Steve…!"

He rushed forward shouting at the people, "Get out! This thing can blow anytime!" He went to the nearest fire alarm and smashed it.

He went to see who he could help. There were dead bodies crushed by the bus but there were several injured people needing help. He was lifting a woman in his arms and trying to get out with the crowd when he saw through the smashed doors and windows a hulking shadow descend from the sky.

The large figure was hoisting a passenger plane over its head. It hurled it and the plane went smashing into the building at the end of the street. The following explosion rocked the whole district.

He could hear screams and shouts in German.


Author's Note: It's has been a tough time for me these last couple of weeks. Real life can really toss you some curve balls. But I guess it makes you realize how strong you really are. Bear with me re: updates and if this chap has any grammatical mistakes etc, I'll try to correct in time.Thanks for your thoughts and reviews etc.