Batman stood staring out the window at the temporary headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D., staring out along the nighttime desert. It was still, a far cry from what he was used to staring out over the vast cityscape that was his Gotham. He prefered the city. It was where he was born, it was the people he loved and protected. He would never want to live anywhere else. It was home to him and he could never consider any other place that. He was glad they were only meeting here and not moving out here permanently. He couldn't do that. It was already a stretch for him to be joining forces with other Superheroes. He was used to working alone.
The door hissed open behind him and he turned to see … Internally, he sighed. He had learned how to keep his emotions and his actions to himself as Batman. Even though he had sighed, no one would have been able to tell underneath that suit. But Wonder Woman could always tell. She tried to ignore it, but she knew the Batman better than anyone in this world, aside from maybe Alfred or Kal-El. Alfred had known him since birth and Kal-El was his best friend. She'd like to think she knew Bruce as well as Kal-El did, but after she and Bruce had parted ways, Diana knew she had no right to that claim any longer.
"I'm sorry," she spoke, her usual assertive manner gone from her voice. "Superman said we were meeting in here."
Somehow Bruce knew that they'd been set up. Whether they were meeting in here or not, they weren't meeting here right now, and he should have known Clark would do something like this.
"It seems we're early," Bruce's usual, dark and brooding Batman tone was heavy on his voice.
He couldn't be Bruce with her. Not when his heart still belonged to her and hadn't belonged to anyone else since the two of them had been together. Diana nodded. She knew she should leave. She knew prolonging her exit would only make the ache in her heart that much more, but she couldn't make her feet move.
"This is a noble thing you're doing, Bruce."
Noble? After everything that had been between the two of them, she was calling him noble.He didn't like the sound of the word, not coming from her lips. Not that he'd like that word associated with him normally. Clark, on the other hand, wouldn't mind such a term associated with something he was doing, but Bruce wasn't seeking praise. He was doing this for the people he protected, and whether she believed it or not, she was one of them. He knew she didn't need protecting, not like the rest of the people in the world, but he was still in love with her, so she needed protecting most of all. He couldn't tell her that. It would only make things between them worse, so he remained stoic.
"I am glad you joined us, Diana."
He caught her off guard, not expecting him to say anything along the lines of … well, anything to say he was glad she was here. Then again, he hadn't said he was glad she was there for him specifically. He was glad she was there for the league, not for him. Why should she have hoped for anything more? Smiling, she took a step into the room and the door hissed shut behind her.
"Are you worried?"
Diana knew that Bruce did a lot of worrying, even if no one else knew that about him, she knew it. He was a silent brooder, but he worried about everyone and everything. Bruce turned back toward the window. He knew how well Diana knew him and he hated it. He could hide his feelings from everyone except for her. There was a time he loved that. He would have never told her that, but he had loved that when they were together. Now, he wished she didn't. He couldn't hide it from her and he knew it.
"We may not know all we need to know about this force yet, but I think we've got some really good teams coming together."
Diana wished he could open up to her like had before, but that was a long time ago. They weren't together anymore, and he never wanted them to be again. He had made that perfectly clear when they had broken up. She hadn't understood why, but she had stupidly stood back and let it happen. She should have fought for their relationship, but she didn't. She just let it go and ran away. She'd been in Themyscira for so long, she had thought she could forget him, but when Kal-El had shown up asking her to join up with the League Batman was forming, she knew it wasn't true.
She walked up beside Bruce, looking out the window into the barren desert with him. "Nothing like Themyscira."
Bruce turned his attention toward her. "How is your mother?"
Diana smiled. Even if they weren't together, he still cared. He would ask about her mother if he didn't. "She's good. She hadn't liked that I had come home, but she was glad I did."
It didn't make sense out of context, but he understood she what she meant. Hippolyta liked Diana's relationship with Bruce. She trusted Bruce. It hadn't been like Diana's relationship with Steve Trevor. She was always sure Steve would break her heart, and he did, just not in the way Bruce had. Bruce had ended breaking Diana's heart in the way Hippolyta was sure Steve would have. Steve had died. It hadn't been his fault he left her. Bruce willingly ended things between him and Diana. He would blame Hippolyta if she never forgave him.
Bruce didn't know what to say. What do you say to the woman you'll always love but can never be with again? What he wanted to do was pull her into his arms and tell her he was a fool for ever letting her go, but that would do more harm than good. He had pushed her away because he didn't want people using her to get to him. Even though she was a superhero herself and he knew she could take care of herself, he didn't want his enemies using her to get to him. Clark had that problem with Lois, even though the world didn't know he was Superman. His enemies didn't know Lois was his wife, but from time to time, one of them would figure it out somehow. Truth be told, it was nights lying awake thinking about this that drove Bruce to the decision he had made. He would not have his enemies using Diana against him. He would not allow it.
Her tone was soft and gentle. She wasn't Wonder Woman in here with him. She was Diana, the woman he loved, the woman he knew he would always love.
His voice came out... soft. It was the voice of Bruce Wayne, not the Batman voice associated with him in his cape and cowl. He couldn't turn to face her. He couldn't... But that's exactly what he was doing. Now, standing face to face, he was actually looking into her eyes. Her eyes were searching for answers, answers to questions Bruce had never wanted to answer, but he knew Diana deserved that much. She always had, but he had been too much of a coward to face her questions.
She finally spoke. He was finally able to give her those answers, but here she was telling him not to.
She swallowed hard, using the moniker she only heard from him. Yes, she was her people's princess, but to Bruce, it was something much more.
"I don't want to bring up the past, Bruce. It was wonderful while it lasted, but it was in the past, and I do not live in the past." She gave him the brightest smile she could muster. "I have to keep my focus on the future."
He felt lost now. More so than he'd been since the last time he saw her. She didn't want answers? The thing was, she had thought she wanted answers, but now that he was standing here in front of her, she didn't want them. She didn't want to hurt anymore than she had these last few years. She wanted to move on.
"I'm going to go find Superman," Diana spoke, turning on her heel and heading toward the door, stopping just as it hissed open, turning to look back at him. "This is a good thing we're doing, Batman." She gave him a brief smile and left him alone in the room, the door hissing in her wake.
Batman stood, blinking at the emptiness that was left behind her. It wasn't all too much like the emptiness that was left in his heart after he left her and even still now. He was empty and he knew nothing would ever fill that void ever again. He turned back to gaze out the window over the vast desert. It was just how he felt as well, dark and empty, even more so than this room.