Diana opened her eyes and let out a lazy but satisfied groan. The bed never felt so good under her. She almost did not want to get up. But there was the sun's rays teasing her eyes and urging her to acknowledge the day. For a moment her eyes blinked, slightly confused, at the window facing her. It didn't look like the Embassy window. The curtains were not that color. Nor were the walls...
She rolled from her side to her back and her eyes scanned the room and memories came flooding back as she registered where she was. She looked to the left of her and saw the empty space and the dent in the pillow. She could smell his scent on the sheets. It surrounded her. It was imprinted on her skin. She sighed and closed her eyes.
To use Clark's favored utterance several times last night. Wow.
She sat up, yawning and stretching as the sheet slipped down from her naked body. Her eyes fell on the alarm clock on his bed side table and she saw it was 8:46 am.
She certainly had slept in later than usual. She normally was up with the dawn. She shook her head a little sheepishly. She and Clark must have fallen asleep around 4 am. She patted the bed as one would a good steed as she swung her legs over.
She smiled. "Well done, bed."
She cocked her ears and could hear movement outside. Her nose could also pick up the waft of coffee, cinnamon and onions. Clark had promised to cook her breakfast. She put her hand to her stomach which growled instantly.
Diana stood up and looked around. Her clothing, which had been washed by Clark, was folded neatly on a chair, along with her purse and glasses. Next to them she could see a clean towel, a large t-shirt and an unopened toothbrush in a packet. She smiled at his thoughtfulness.
Picking up the t-shirt, towel and toothbrush she headed to the adjoining bathroom.
Clark had just put several toasted cinnamon and onion bagels on a large platter and was about to divide the green pepper,mushroom and ham omelet between two plates when the bedroom door opened. Diana emerged. It was a sight to make any man's morning and stop him from what he was doing to just stare. He almost pinched himself for a second to check that he was not dreaming.
His large t-shirt swallowed her smaller frame with its wide chest and large sleeves but it reached her upper thigh, leaving a fair amount of toned limbs for him to appreciate. Her raven locks were damp and curling. She smelled of the body wash he'd especially bought just for her. Coconut, hibiscus and Tahitian gardenia flowers. He suddenly had a desire to forget breakfast and feed on something else. But the eager look on her face at the sign of food made him grin. Jumping her would have to keep.
"Good morning." She smiled as she approached, looking at the spread on the counter-top and what he was plating up. "Mmm."
"Morning." Clark put down the pan and reached for her hand. He kissed her fingers and led her to a chair near the breakfast bar. "Slept well?"
"Very well. You could have waken me though. I could have helped you make breakfast. Is there anything I can do?" she asked as she helped herself to coffee. She saw he already had one from the half empty mug on the counter-top.
"I'm done actually. I know you're quite hungry."
He gestured to her stomach. "I can hear it from here."
"It's your fault, you know, I could eat the proverbial horse," she laughed. And you, she thought. She eyed him with an appreciative gaze as he moved around the kitchen. He was in shorts, slippers and a simple t-shirt. His hair which had been washed was uncombed and unruly. He looked relaxed and delicious.
Clark chuckled. " Oh, I accept full responsibility. I made enough to hopefully replenish your energy reserves. There are bagels, jam, omelet, yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee. If you want cereal, I've got Cornflakes, Fruit Loops, and oats." He put a full plate before her.
"Smells wonderful." She dug in with relish. " Mmm. You must give me the recipe for this."
Clark pulled a chair next to her and sat down. He loved watching her eat. In fact, Diana was one of the few ladies he knew that ate without fretting about her weight and was not on an infinite diet.
"I have a full day planned for us," he announced a few minutes later.
"Yep. I intend to show you around the city today. Metropolis has some interesting places to visit like the museums, art galleries and city park." He gave her a list of options and Diana settled on the Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Park.
"Tonight we can take in dinner and a movie?"
"Okay, that sounds good. Can we see that new one with the dragon?"
"Sure. I'll book us tickets right now. We don't want it selling out." Clark reached for his cellphone that was lying on the counter and swiftly did the booking. "We also have to stop by a friend around 3 pm."
She looked up curiously. "A friend?"
"Yes. John Henry Irons."
She brightened at the thought of seeing Steel. "Oh, I would love that. How is he?"
"He's bored out of his skull. But the bones are healing nicely. It's just a matter of time the cast comes off and he rejoins."
"I'm so glad. You've lost a valuable member in him."
"We also lost a valuable member in you."
"Two weeks again and I can come back. Did we hear anything from Maxima?"
"No. Hal and John Stewart were sent but we're still waiting for them to come back to see where we stand."
Diana sighed as she took a sip of water. "I'm sorry for the trouble I caused. I hope she doesn't hold any grudges."
"Maxima will try the patience of a saint so don't beat yourself up over that. We can only hope she does not hold grudges."
"She said some malicious things to me about my mother and parentage."
"I heard," he said gently. "But you know, she was simply trying to anger you. It amounts to nothing but words."
"When she used her telepathy on me, she saw my memories. Some with Steve." Diana looked at Clark with a rueful look. "I wasn't a very good lover. Steve told me I was like...a plank in bed."
"Jerk," Clark muttered and put his fork down with a clatter and took an annoyed gulp from his juice.
She said wryly, "To be fair, I was a bit wooden. I didn't feel...I tried to...It worked up to a point. I mean, it was nice to have some connection but it wasn't complete. I really thought even at one point it didn't matter if we could have sex or not. That if you loved each other...it would be enough. Steve, to be fair to him, tried to be patient and then explained to me that love shouldn't be that way. It should be even a little selfish and shouldn't be always about control. It needed to have passion in it too. I didn't understand what he meant. Then you were there...complicating everything, challenging me as Clark and by making me feel as Kal."
Clark put his juice down and gave her his undivided attention. He didn't expect her to tell him the details but here she was opening up even more to him.
She looked up at Clark to see his expression had changed from annoyance to a gentle look of encouragement.
"Since we got together you've made me appreciate the passion between a man and woman and that there was little to fear from it. Last night..." She turned to face him and cradled his cheek with her hand. "I truly understand what Steve meant now."
Clark covered her hand with his own and looked deep into her eyes. He whispered, "Okay, so he's not too much of a jerk. Diana, being with you was everything I hoped it would be...and more. There are few moments in my life where I get to have everything for myself...to be free...last night was all that. You surely did your Amazon heritage proud, Princess. I was thinking you'd never fall asleep though."
She blushed a little and laughed seeing the twinkle in his eyes when he said that. "I didn't hear you complaining, Kryptonian," she retorted.
"What man in his right mind would complain?" he grinned. "But I think I came away with the edge."
She raised her brows haughtily. "What edge?"
He gave her a sly smile. "My recovery time is way better than yours. I left you sleeping and worn out."
"Yeah, you were out like a light after we...mmmfhff."
Diana responded by wrapping her arm around his neck and kissed him deeply, passionately, hungrily, tasting the tartness of the juice from his tongue was enough to take his breath away and leave him dizzy when she decided to break the kiss.
"You were saying about your recovery time?" she whispered, with an arched brow.
Clark shook his head with an exhaled breath as if to think straight. "Ah...erm...eh...whoa...hmmmhmm..."
"I'm sorry, Clark. What was that?"
He grunted. "Hnnnn...well... if you're going to ambush me..." Clark's hand sneaked up her thigh and under the t-shirt and to his satisfaction found bare flesh.
Diana gasped as she felt him caress her lightly. She bit her lips to stop a whimper of pleasure. "Should we start this now? Don't we have to get ready to go to the Gardens and the Sanctuary? It's already after half past nine...oh..."
Clark's fingers moved up her stomach slowly and cupped a warm breast. "Like I said, I have good recovery time..." Diana gasped as his thumb stroked the peak to hardness, then he stopped and drew back.
"But if you feel you don't want to because you might be too tired to go sightseeing..."
"Very droll, Clark," she replied and collared him and crushed her lips against his.
Hours later, a panting Clark and Diana looked at the clock. It was nearly two pm.
Clark rolled off her so she could move to lie with her head on his shoulder as they caught their breath. "Well, I think it's safe to say this is working out to be a tie."
Diana giggled. "That's quite magnanimous of you. So one could say we are equally matched?"
He stroked her back and said casually "Yeah. Mind you, it's different when one does not have to worry about one's surroundings..."
Diana looked up at him with narrowed eyes. "What do you mean?"
"Doing it in the apartment would be different than say at my unbreakable Fortress."
She propped up on her elbow and looked down at his naughty look. "You know, you are very sneaky. Now you're upping the ante."
He reached up to wind a tendril of her hair around his finger. "My beautiful goddess, there is no ante. You and I both win no matter what. But, maybe tonight if you're staying with me we...you are staying another night, right?"
"I guess I am."
He continued, "We can go to the Fortress to test my theory. I always wanted to show it to you anyway."
Diana smiled and leaned down to kiss him. "Okay. But is it too late to go to the Gardens and Sanctuary now?"
He said wryly, "Kinda. John's family will be expecting us at 3 pm and then we have dinner and movie to get to. We'll have to take a rain check on that."
"So we have an hour to dress and get there." She sat up. " We both need to shower though." They were sweaty and smelled of the activity they had been engaged in.
"We could maximize our time by doing that together," he suggested and got up as well.
When she turned to give him a skeptical look he said innocently, "We don't want to be late."
They ended up being late. Clark had to do some quick repairs after a broken shower head, collapsed door and cracked tiles.
They arrived in a taxi at John Henry Iron's home as Clark Kent and Diana Prince around 3:45 pm. Diana was in her clothes of last night and Clark was dressed in jeans and a blue shirt.
The door was opened by Blondel who let out a cry of surprised delight to see Clark and hugged him and gave Diana a warm welcome. When he and Diana went inside they met the rest of the family sitting in the living room. They were all there. Clay, Natasha, Jamahl, Mama and John himself who was sitting on a recliner with his broken leg, in a cast, resting on a stool. Once the introductions and initial chit-chat was over, the kids and Clay left because he had promised to take them to the mall to do some shopping. Blondel went to the kitchen to bring in refreshments while John and Clark sat chatting about the work. Diana could not just join in because as Diana Prince she had never met John Henry.
John kept glancing at Diana, who was now sitting across from Mama. His raised brow made the reporter smile. Clark leaned over and murmured, "Yes, it's Diana."
John looked relieved. "Wow. Nice disguise. How...?"
"Ah. Thank goodness. I was going to ask you if you wanted another drumming from Wonder Woman. So you decided to take the plunge with her, huh?"
"I'm glad. Don't be like the rest of us and mess up something that has the potential to be great."
"I'll try my best."
Mama was regarding Diana with a pleased expression. Any woman to date Clark Kent had already passed half the test in her eyes. Plus the girl was pretty and she got a warm, honest vibe off her.
Mama asked, "So, Diana, how long have you been dating our boy?"
"We've known each other a while but it would be several months since we got together."
"Ah, that's good. Clark often starts off with someone and then after a few weeks it's over. Months definitely means this isn't some flash in the pan. He seems quite taken with you. That's a hell of a hickie there on your neck. Looks quite fresh too. No wonder you two ran late."
Diana blushed. "I..."
"Oh, no need to look so self conscious with me. I'm not one of those old fashioned types who frowns upon relations before marriage. But he intends to marry you, right?" She raised her voice. "Clark, you're going to marry this girl, I hope?"
"Mama!" reprimanded Blondel who was coming carrying a tray of cold drinks and slices of cake. "Stop being nosy."
Clark looked nonplussed. "What?"
"Don't 'what' me. You've been seeing her and her alone, right? What do they call it these days? Exclusive? Oh shush, Blondel. Look at them, they smitten with each other. It does not take one long to figure out when you find the one. When Clark introduced her you could see he was bursting with pride. Took me one week with Butter, god rest his soul and you and Clay knew it from the time you were in middle school. I don't want Clark letting this one get away. Or putting a bun in any one's oven before marriage...You're how old now, Clark? Going on twenty nine? I am sure your dead Ma and Pa wouldn't like that..."
John groaned. "Mama..."
Diana looked at Clark who seemed a little speechless. Blondel sighed and sat down.
"You know you don't have to account to her, both of you," she said shaking her head as she passed out the cake and drinks.
Diana took her plate with a thank you and earnestly said, "Mrs Irons..."
"Mama," the older woman corrected.
"Mama. Yes, we're exclusive but this is new to both us. We just want to take our time and enjoy it..."
Clark coughed. "What she said."
Mama sniffed. "Take your time, eh? Well, don't too long taking your time. You give the milk free to a man, he won't buy the cow."
"What? What cow?" The adorably baffled look on Diana's face made Clark stifle a laugh and long to go and kiss her but when Mama turned to look at him pointedly he sank deeper into the chair in some embarrassment. "Though I am sure Clark is not that kind of a boy taking what he can get with no thought to the consequences."
John looked apologetically at Clark. "Sorry."
Mama turned back to Diana. "Your folks know about you two yet?"
"I...No." Diana replied.
"What are you waiting on? Are you ashamed of him?"
"No. Of course not. My family resides abroad as you know and I haven't been able to visit for a while."
"No doubt busy with work and study but you must never let too much time pass before visiting family."
Diana colored. "I know. I...had a bit of a disagreement with my mother. I was a bit hasty and there are other things that happened, making it a little tough to take the first step."
"Oh, I see. " Mama reached out and took her hand. "A mother always forgives. It's what we do. Don't go home because there is a tragedy. So many people simply return for a funeral or sickness. Go home because of joy. Spread your good news to them. I am sure they will be glad. Tell your parents..."
"I have only a mother and sisters. But...they met Clark once when we were only friends and they did not take to him."
Mama frowned. "Why?"
"To be fair I don't think they would take to anyone. They are just very protective. But it really doesn't matter to me whether they approve or not. " Her eyes met Clark's and she nodded at him with resolution and promise in them. "I will go home and tell them. Soon."
Clark smiled at her tenderly.
Bess Irons nodded in satisfaction, then sniffed "Good. Now if only we can find a woman for John Henry here so he doesn't die an old maid."
John groaned. "Mama!"
Dinner was at a lively Bar and Grill on the harbor and the movie was at a Cineplex not too far down the pier. They emerged from the cinema around midnight and decided to fly straight to the Fortress of Solitude.
When they arrived, Clark had Diana's body scanned and her data entered into the security system to allow her unlimited access.
"That way you can come anytime you want, " he said as he took her on the grand tour.
Diana was very curious to see the menagerie of animals they had rescued from the Preserver so Clark took her there first. She smiled admiringly at him as he showed her the various species and was especially happy to see the snake. The reptile seemed to remember her as it moved and responded to her presence.
"You know something...when you agreed to take them in...I think, that was when I began to look at you in a different light. I felt really very attracted to you then," she confessed as they moved away from the menagerie and headed back to the living quarters.
Clark slipped an arm around her waist. "Yeah? Well, I admit I may have done it because you asked. Not sure I would have done it for anyone else."
She elbowed him. "Your kindness is one of the many reasons I am with you. You would have done it anyway. Don't pretend you wouldn't have."
He chuckled. "Know when I started thinking of you in a different light?"
Diana mused, "When you kissed me on the ship?"
"Nope. Guess again."
"When we sparred?"
"Hmm, it was nice being pinned by you...but no."
She frowned curiously. "When?"
"When we were shackled and you wanted to go to the toilet."
Diana stopped and looked at him in disbelief. "What? No. Really?"
"Oh yeah. It was the first time you seemed so...vulnerable. You always seemed so in control. You had this very regal, unflappable way about you. When I asked you if you were going and you said, 'No' in that adorably embarrassed manner...I had this real desire to just kiss you." Clark drew her closer, sliding his arms around her.
She smiled and linked her fingers around his neck. "And here I thought that would have turned a man off. But I will never forget what you did for me that day. I appreciated the way you allowed me to keep my dignity and the way you comforted me when I found out about my parentage."
Diana tiptoed and kissed him on the mouth in gratitude.
Clark murmured against her cheek. "My pleasure."
"And thank you for including me as a part of your circle of friends and your life. I am going to clear my schedule this week and go and see my mother and tell her about us."
"And what about Zeus?"
"It doesn't matter. I'm not going to hold it against her anymore. It's better he does not know. Many people live without having the approval or disapproval of their fathers, right? It will keep the island safe from Hera's wrath. You were right...my mother and my sisters raised me and are responsible for who I am today...not him."
Clark saw she was trying to be determined and practical but he knew there still would be the child inside her that would hurt about her "father."He recalled his own unreasonable anger at Jor-El and Lara for sending him away when he found out about his real parentage. Thoughts like they could have built a bigger rocket or they could have let him stayed with them had coursed though his mind. But in time he'd come to accept they did it because they loved him and wanted life for him, not death. And interacting with the AI that contained some essence of his father had helped eased that pain.
"He would be proud of you if he knew. I am sure of it."
"Proud? Can someone like Zeus be proud?"
"I know he's a douche-bag but there're stories of him caring what happens to his children, right?"
She held him tightly to her. His words were like a balm because he understood. Steve never could give her the comfort Clark seemed to be able to give.
"Maybe. It doesn't matter anyway." She pulled back slightly and gave him a coy look. "Don't you and I have something to settle?"
The sudden playful look in Diana's eyes and the way she anchored and pressed her lower body into him made him grin. "We do?"
"Yes. Something to do with recovery time." She leaned in to nuzzle his neck and allow her hand to wander downwards.
Clark grunted in appreciation at her touch,"Ah. I remember vaguely...erm, our...little bet."
"Not so little if you ask me, "she whispered softly against his ear and nipped it while her strong fingers caressed deftly elsewhere. "In fact, quite large. Are you ready to ...what's that saying? Put your mouth where the money is?"
He chuckled at her misuse of phrase and bent and kissed her. She was learning fast, he mused. In the space of a weekend Diana knew how to inflame his desire with just a word, look and touch. It did not bode well for their wager. He suddenly backed her up against a metal column.
"Oh, I'm ready to put my mouth somewhere...everywhere," he whispered.
She gasped as she felt his hands move to cup her bottom and lift her.
"Here?," she wondered. They were still out on the corridor. " Shouldn't we go to the bedroom...?"
It was only a few yards away. And there would be a bed they could use. The corridor was...well...a corridor.
"Unbreakable," he reminded and showed her.
Steve Trevor, true to his word, arrived at the Embassy on Monday morning to see Diana. He had spent the entire weekend feeling guilty as hell for acting like a jackass to Diana. It wasn't her fault she'd finally found someone who was able to make her feel the things he couldn't. And not only physically it seemed. Emotionally as well.
He should be happy for her. Even Lois seemed to think a lot of the guy. So Kent couldn't be all that bad.
The Colonel was allowed in without fuss by the guards who knew him well and greeted warmly by Claire.
"This is a surprise. What brings you here, Colonel?"
"I was hoping to speak with Diana. You think she'll see me?"
"Oh I'm sure she will." Claire beckoned for him to follow.
The Princess was in the kitchen. She'd risen a little bit later than usual having flown in to the Embassy in the early hours of the morning. Claire knew she'd spent the weekend with a certain someone and from the radiant smile on her face when she came downstairs, one could only surmise it went very well.
Diana was sipping her coffee when she saw Steve enter. Her look of surprise made him pause.
"I know. I'm the last person you must expect to see."
She put her mug down. "This is true. Why are you here, Steve?"
Her voice was as stiff as her posture.
"I came to apologize."
Diana frowned giving him a suspicious look. "What?"
He came to stand before her. "Look, I know you have every right to be mad with me after my behavior on Friday...but it's just that I was shocked to see you dating Kent...given how much we were ridiculed by him...I never would have thought you'd be interested in him."
"That was before I knew him," she said coolly. "Before he knew me. He is actually a kind, smart and caring person. Appearances can be deceiving."
"Yeah, Lois told me that too. She insists he's a good guy." Steve rubbed his forehead. "I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt plus I am sorry for my attitude. You're free to date whomsoever you want."
"Well, that's kind of you to come all the way here to tell me that. You could have sent an e-mail," she retorted dryly. "It's not like you're so invested in my well being after we broke up. You treated me like a stranger."
He sat down and looked at her earnestly. "Diana...I...it was hard knowing for a while you didn't love me. I could see and feel you drifting away from me even while we were together while I still loved you. Do you know how painful that is to know and then accept? I couldn't be around you after we broke up. I needed to sort my own crap out. I'm sorry for blanking you out of my life. But the time apart gave me fresh perspective while Lois and I became closer than ever."
"I would never grudge you being with Lois or anyone else you choose to be with. While it was perhaps naive of me to think you could continue being my friend after we broke up I thought you'd at least be happy that I found what you told me I was missing with us. Even if the one I found it with did not please you. This shouldn't be about you and Clark. It should about you and me."
"I know and I am owning to that now."
"Are you really? Or are you just doing this because Lois told you to?"
"I did a lot of thinking over the weekend. I realized how selfish I've been. You put your life on the line for me so many times and put your trust in me when you came into this world...and I repaid your affection and loyalty with pettiness and ingratitude. I'm sorry, Diana. I would like your forgiveness. That's from me. Not Lois."
Diana saw the regret and sincerity in his eyes and voice. She was never one to hold grudges. Anyone begging her pardon usually got it. Steve looked at her worriedly. She looked so serious.
"Did you eat breakfast yet, Steve?'
"No...I...just had some coffee."
She reached over to the intercom and pressed it. Claire's voice sounded. "Princess?"
"Claire, can you tell the kitchen to send in some fresh coffee and bagels?" She looked at Steve. "You still like your morning bagels, right?"
Steve blinked. "What? I...er...yeah."
"Bagels with smoked cream cheese, ham and...I'll have a fruit bowl and toast and jam."
Steve looked confused.
Diana leaned back in her chair. "Well, we might as well have something to eat while you fill me in on what you've been up to. I am quite interested in how you and Lois hooked up."
Steve's jaw dropped a little. "You mean...? You..?"
"Well, certainly, Steve. We have to start somewhere." She gave him a gentle smile.
Steve sighed in utter relief.
Diana gently landed on the shores of Themyscira. She let out a deep breath and looked around at the beautiful pristine waters and the green lush vegetation. She turned her face to the sun and allowed it to caress her skin.
It was almost strange to be back after her painful departure. She had missed it.
Today she was going to see her mother and try to reconcile with her and tell her about Clark.
She was met by two guards half way up the beach who gasped in shock to see her. They fell onto one knee.
"I have come to see my mother."
Hippolyta was in her chamber when the news came to her. It was brought directly by Phillipus herself.
Hippolyta dropped the book she was perusing and stood up.
"Diana...?" she whispered, her hand reaching for her friend's arm in disbelief.
The General nodded and patted it. "Yes, my Queen."
"Merciful Gods. Show her in."
Two minutes later mother and daughter faced each other.
"You look shocked to see me."
"I am. You left here last vowing never to come back."
"I...was angry then. I had some time to think and reassess the situation. I would like us to talk."
Hippolyta stared at her in wonder. Diana looked...different. She looked even more beautiful and radiant than ever. The rebellious girl of a year ago seemed to have been replaced by a self possessed woman.
"Will you sit down?" she asked, gesturing to the table with two chairs.
Diana nodded and took a seat.
"Would you like some refreshment?"
"No, thank you. I'm not hungry."
Hippolyta took the other seat and looked at her expectantly. "Well, then?"
Diana took in a deep breath."While I don't condone what you did with Zeus...he is a man with a wife after all and Hera has every right to be angry...you ought to have known you were courting danger for yourself and our people. He isn't even one I'd want for a father...but...I do understand that love and passion are powerful emotions. They come out of the blue and can penetrate the fortress of one's heart. You would not be the first or last woman to fall for a douche-bag."
Hippolyta blinked. "A what?"
"Oh, Clark calls him that."
"Ah, the alien. I supposed "douche-bag" is not a complimentary term?"
"It's not. But I can't punish you for falling in love anymore than I could any other woman. At least you were in love. Zeus, on the other hand, was doing what he always did. He is a powerful God who, once he sets his sights on a thing, he has to have it. I could wish it never happened but then I know I would not be here. I cannot condemn it without condemning myself. And truth be told...I like who I am...I realize what I can do is because of him...but that is all it is. Who I am is because of you."
Hippolyta's eyes misted and she reached for her hand. "Diana, Zeus broke my heart but not once did I ever regret you. Your birth was a blessing. For that I would never undo it. You were the best thing that could have happened to me and this island."
Diana did not move her hand. A good sign.
"I loved you. I kept the secret from you because I could not bear having you taken from me. I am sorry for not telling you the truth myself. I should have but Hera would have..." Her voice dropped painfully.
Diana's hand squeezed hers back and she said softly, "I know, mother. I know."
"I have missed you so much."
"I have missed you. I am sorry for saying what I did that day...I..."
"It is past," she replied and held her hand tightly.
They sat in silence for a minute, hands clasped, connected.
Diana finally opened her lips. "I have something to tell you."
"Yes, my daughter?"
"I am not courting Steve Trevor anymore."
The look of relief on the Queen's face made Diana smile wryly.
Hippolyta's brows rose. "What happened?"
"It just...I cared for him deeply... I still do but I realized there was not enough passion to drive what we had for each other. It was not the kind of love that made one's heart pound or mind distracted and body burn. I courted Steve out of loneliness and curiosity and because he asked. He sensed this and challenged me about it."
Hippolyta said dryly, "I could have told you that, my daughter. It was clear to me he was invested in it more than you. When I spoke to Trevor he even admitted he had not bedded you yet. I was surprised at that."
"We tried to eventually. It just never happened quite fully. In truth, I think I disappointed him because I couldn't let go emotionally and physically. I even thought we could be together without being lovers but it was important for him. He said, while I may have love him, I was not in love with him. I...he was right."
"I am a believer in letting one make her mistakes. Was he angry?"
"He was. At first. The press were not very nice either. They put extra pressure on us. But since then he has found a love of his own and we have resolved whatever negative feelings we both harbored."
"I am glad to hear it. You'll find, my daughter, love can be overrated. It is indulgence for poets and scribes. Real life is full of disappointment."
Diana heard the brittle tone in her voice. She said softly, "I am sorry, mother, you have been disappointed in love. You did not deserve what Heracles or Zeus did."
Hippolyta shrugged. "I never expected anything more of Zeus. I accept it was what it was. Heracles..." She shook her head at the distant but still painful memory. "He broke more than my heart, he broke our nation's spirit. It is why we never forget. I don't want anything like that happen to you."
"That will never happen."
"As long as you remain out in the world, you run the risk of anything happening. You're so beautiful and vibrant, daughter. People must still be tripping over themselves to woo you."
Diana smiled. "They are but I am not available."
The Queen narrowed her eyes. Her daughter had the look. The smitten look. A look Hippolyta had seen in her own mirror some twenty five years ago when Zeus had come around. "Oh?"
"Mother, I am with someone else and he is truly one of the best men I have ever been privileged to know. We are lovers," she announced with a bold lift of her chin.
Hippolyta echoed, "Lovers?" Hippolyta stared at her. So that was what was different. "I see. Who might this individual be to have my daughter boast proudly that she has surrendered her body to him?"
"I have not surrendered. I have given myself to him freely as he has given himself to me. What we have is not a battle, mother. It is warmth, caring, passion, and friendship. He understands my sense of loneliness and the self imposed restraint I have to deal with. It's so easy to just be one's self with him."
Hippolyta's eyes narrowed and she surmised, "It is Kal-El, isn't it?"
Diana looked a little surprised she had guessed so quickly. "I...yes."
She heaved a sigh. "I suppose I am not surprised. He is fine in face and form and seemed quite respectful. But Diana he is an alien..."
She frowned. "He is a man."
The queen persisted, "He is an alien and a quite powerful one at that."
"You disapprove?" Diana stated flatly.
"I don't tell you who to bed,Diana. You are a young woman. Exploring and experiencing new things. You are free to indulge yourself and sate your curiosity but if and when the time comes for you to return home...know this...you cannot bring one such as him as your Consort on the island." Hippolyta stood up. "Sow your wild oats, as they say on the outside."
Diana got up and said coolly,"They are not wild oats."
She gave her a tolerant look. "Diana, you are not even twenty five. You have had one man court you before this one. You really think this will last? You're a mere child."
Diana took in a deep breath. She did not want to argue with her mother. Not now that they had made their peace. She knew she should not be shocked Hippolyta was so skeptical. Now was the time for a clearer head if she was to try to tell her mother what Clark meant to her. "I don't know what the future brings but I do know what I feel for Clark...I am so happy when I am with him, Mother...I am in love with him," said softly but very surely.
The Queen sighed. She had somehow hoped it had not gotten this far. Love made one so vulnerable and she truly did not want to see Diana get hurt. "I see. And does he love you, daughter?"
"I...don't know. We have not spoken of love. Did Zeus tell you he loved you?"
Hippolyta's lips tightened. "He said many things. None of which matter now." She came around to her and took her hands with earnest expression. "Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't put all your trust in one person."
"It must be very lonely to be you, mother," she surmised perceptively.
Hippolyta eyes flashed a little with pain. "Diana..."
Diana suddenly hugged her. "Trust in me if you can't trust any man for me. I know my sisters will not welcome him with open arms. I resign myself to that. I am with Clark now, you need to accept that."
She was a little surprised by Diana's impulsive embrace but she returned it with a mother's gratitude. "I suppose I have little choice. If he should hurt you...tell him beware...I will not abide it. I will come myself to see to him. Me and my sword."
Diana chuckled. " I will warn him."
Hippolyta drew back and regarded her with a slightly curious expression. There was such a relaxed air to Diana. She had almost expected her to bristle at her words and prepare for battle as she always used to do whenever they disagreed. Her little demi-goddess had definitely grown emotionally since she last saw her. "It is good to see you smile, child. I missed it. Will you stay for a while longer?"
"I will. I would love to hear how things are and see the island and my sisters. I missed Themyscira...the sanctuary...are the animals well?"
The Queen smiled and gestured to the window. "Maybe you should go and see them. When you come back we can visit with your sisters."
Diana nodded enthusiastically.
Hippolyta watched her fly out of the window and soar gracefully across the sky. She sighed. Diana had forgiven her. Now maybe they could go back to how things were. She thanked the stars Zeus had granted the island its magical shield to keep them invisible to the outside and any Godly eyes from being able see them from Olympus. It had kept the secret of her and Zeus' trysts and Diana's birth all these years.
The news of Diana becoming lover to the Kryptonian she could have done without. Trevor was a typical human male who Diana was only with out of curiosity. But Kal-El was different. Diana said she loved him. Who knew what he was capable of with his power? But she was wise to not to forbid her. Forbidden fruit always made one desire it more. If he was like most men in time she would tire of him or vice versa. Diana was raised and bred to lead her people one day. She was sure she would never forsake her duty. But she could not be allowed to bring him as a Consort. The Amazons had paid a hefty price for love. She would not risk it again.
Diana flew to Metropolis directly after leaving the island. It was nightfall when she fell into Clark's arms as soon as she stepped into his apartment.
He looked into her shining eyes. "How did it go?"
"We are reconciled."
"That's great, sweetheart. Was it hard?"
"No. It was a relief. I missed them so much."
"Did you tell her about me?"
She smoothed the collar of his plaid shirt. "She sends her, er, greetings."
"What did she say?"
"It doesn't matter...she knows." Diana turned to look at the kitchen. "Did you cook? It smells yummy in here."
"Diana..."He caught her wrist gently and pulled her back to his chest. "What did she say?"
"She said she can understand why I am with you and it is my choice but if you hurt me in any way she will come castrate you herself."
Clark blinked. "What?"
Diana chuckled at his face and tapped his nose. "You know she'll have to come through me to touch a hair on your head. So relax."
"Relax? That's comforting," he sniffed. "Did she threaten Trevor too?"
She smiled. "No. Only you."
"Oh, lucky me."
Diana cupped his cheek. "The only reason she has done is because she knows you mean more to me than Steve ever did."
"Oh. Hmm, there is a bizarre compliment in there somewhere I'm guessing?"
"Yes. You have the capacity to hurt me deeper than Steve, Clark, simply because of what I feel for you."
"I would never...I would die before hurting you, "he swore huskily. It felt a little dramatic in his own head but it was the truth.
She reached up and pressed her lips to his own, her passion and hunger, speaking of her confidence and love in and for him. Maybe she wasn't yet ready to speak the actual words but she could show him.
Author's Note: If I take a long time in updating it is because there are things I cannot avoid. I know that some people find it frustrating but it is simply is beyond my control. I appreciate those who show patience because your kind words and understanding is what a person needs when real life issues hit. Some of the situations that can be very personal and distressing. A family member fell ill recently and that required some of my time. I have been trying to edit this chap for a whole week and more now.
Anyway, I wish to say thank you to those who gave feedback or who took the time to read this fic. Happy New Year to you all.