I don't own any rights over Wonder Woman, Superman, the Justice League and related characters.
The people who do, however, should be doing a far better job with these awesome characters.

At first, the idea was to participate with this in the Short Story Contest about Supes and Wondy asking
the other out on a date, organized by SM/WW Group on Deviant Art at the beginning of 2012. By page
15 I realized I'll never make it in 5 pages or less (yeah, I'm kind of slow), but there was no stopping
now, I had to finish it.

It's a very long short story, and, not knowing what to do with it, I decided to send it all the same.
I read it several times, looking for errors, and discovered that it is, mostly, an exercise in plagiarism. In the last
six or seven months I've read a lot of FanFic stories and I recognize that many of the scenes and
situations are recreations (it's too hard to say shameless, blatant copies) of the ones I've been reading
lately. I can't apologize properly to each author, since all the stories merge in my head and is hard to
nick pick which scene belongs to which story and author, so:

Sorry, people, take it as an "homage" (that's what musicians use to say when they steal parts of many
popular songs because they've run out of ideas of their own).

Thanks to Meejay. Her image "Hanging out", posted on Deviant Art, inspired me to write this.

Thanks to WonderCat for her support.

Special thanks to Arcadia for polishing and editing, making this story readable.

By Godstaff


The battle had been going on for three hours now without any signs that it would end any time soon.
A number of heroes responded to the distress call and came rushing from their hometowns to stop
the rampage of the creature that had been released in the busiest district of the U. S. capital.
By whom? Why? All questions will be answered once the danger was contained. Right now, this thing
must be stopped any way possible.

After evacuating the area, the heroes turned their focus to the beast.
The giant glowing green blob only got bigger with each energy blast that was fired upon it. Not the
heat vision of Superman, the laser vision of the Martian Manhunter or even the emerald energy
beams from Green Lantern 2814.1 were doing any good. It was feeding from them as it was from
anything that crossed its way: buildings, cars, trees and, worst of all, people. The strongest
superheroes threw themselves full speed against the beast, only to bounce back against its thick,
impenetrable skin, which secreted a powerful acid substance.

After attempting to fire a couple of missiles from his jet, the Batman watched the events unfolding in
front of him in frustration and anger. He didn't like to feel useless, but his actions were more
prejudicial than helpful since the projectiles were deflected by the blob and destroyed an office
building nearby. He'd never admit it, but the situation seemed out of his league.
He wished he had a way to communicate with the other heroes, so they, together,
could formulate a plan. This unorganized attack was messy and ineffective.

The Flash stopped in front of Batman to take a breath after his third attempt to vibrate through the
transparent layer surrounding the blob; it's "skin" of sorts. The Dark Knight called him:

"Flash! A word."

As the speedster approached another hero joined the fight. It was Wonder Woman. She was new to
the justice enforcement as she was to the world of man. Batman has heard of her: a princess from a
secluded and secret island inhabited by a race of immortal amazons from myth. He'll have to dig
further into this, he thought to himself. Even with his professionalism and cool head, he couldn't help
his distraction by her incredible beauty.

"Hubba-hubba-hubba!" exclaimed Flash followed by a whistle.

Floating above the scene, she took a golden rope from her girdle and made a lasso, aiming at the
creature. The rope captured what seemed to be a tail or an appendix of the blob, which stood still for a
moment. It recovered soon enough and let the lasso slip out from its viscous surface.
This got the attention of the heroes including Batman. An idea was forming, but first he had to know
what the properties of the cord were.

"Wonder Woman, here!" He shouted.

She turned to face him as she hovered towards him and the Flash.

"Hello! I'm Diana, ambassador from the Nation of Themyscira. Sorry I'm late, but I was at my native
island when I heard about the attack" She said.

"I'm Batman. Forgive my rudeness, but time is of the essence. We'll leave the formalities for later. I
want to know what is that golden line you're holding and what it can do."

Diana touched her lasso affectionately. "This is the Golden Lasso of Hestia. It was forged by the god
Hephaestus from the Golden Girdle of Gaea. It is so strong that not even Heracles might can break it,
and any being trapped by it is compelled to speak the truth and to submit to the person holding it,
except this beast, apparrently"

"So, it is indestructible," Batman asserted.

"Yes, as far as I know."

"Do you think it can penetrate the skin of the blob?"

Diana wasn't sure where Batman was going with his line of questions but she answered, "It is not rigid
enough to pierce it."

"Let me worry about it." Now he knew an idea formed in his mind. "Flash, how are you doing trying to
vibrate through it?"

"The damn thing's molecules are in a constant state of dimensional flux. If I could stabilize them, I'll get
through it," Flash said.

"Yes, but you cannot stay in its interior or you'll perish," stated the Dark Knight.

Dying didn't scare the Scarlet Speedster, "True, but that thing must be stopped, no matter the cost."

"It won't come to that, hopefully. It seems the only person able to survive those chemical reactions is
Superman. Flash, take me to him."Said Batman.

Fast as lightning, Flash carried Batman to where the Man of Steel was trying to lift the creature up, but
every time he picked up a section of its body, it slipped out his hands.

"Superman, hear me out! Let's try something different!" And the Caped crusader explained his plan to

After listening to Batman's plan, Superman thought it was a good one and added, "We'll need Green
Lantern's ring to stabilize the molecules of the blob."

"All right. Put him up to speed, then." Batman started to put things in motion when the Martian
Manhunter approached.

"Gentlemen, greetings. I'm a telepath and after scanning the creature, I found no sign of a sentient
being. It's only a very large, mindless amoeba and its sole purpose is feeding. I believe I can create a link
between our minds to communicate and coordinate an attack."

"Excellent! Good idea!" Superman praised the Martian.

"Good. Start the link including Green Lantern and Wonder Woman," Batman ordered.

"Now things are starting to look up" somebody thought and its voice sounded in everyone's head at

Flash went to Diana, took an end of her lasso, and tied it to his waist. "You are the most beautiful
woman I've ever seen in my entire life. Please, don't tell my fiancé Iris I said that."

"Well, thank you, Flash," Diana smiled at the compliment. " Don't worry, she won't hear it from me".

"Focus," Batman interrupted the two.

Green Lantern took position above the blob, aiming his ring at the being. "This must be very precise.
One slip of my finger and it is 'adios muchachos.'"

"Try not to screw it, then" grunted Batman.

"How can he grunt with his mind?" wondered Lantern.

"I heard that!" responded Gotham's Champion.

Superman took the other end of Diana's golden rope and wrapped it around his wrist. An urge to tell
Flash his certainty of being faster than the Scarlet Speedster invaded Superman. He fought for control
and said, "Ready"

"Ready," repeated Lantern.

"Ready," followed Flash.

"Go!" Batman gave the order.

Green Lantern projected a subspace corridor through the body of the blob in which the molecular flux
froze for an instant. An instant for Flash meant an eternity. Vibrating at full speed, he entered in one
side and exited from the opposite, but the lasso had already created an opening in the surface of the
beast, which Superman took advantage of. Stretching it so he could get inside the creature, he found
himself in a soup of translucent acid green goo, 200 degrees Celsius hot.

Not knowing how much he could stand this extreme conditions, he thought, "Let's heat things up a
little more."

Releasing a blast of heat vision as he never did before, Superman made the substance surrounding
him boil. A screeching sound was heard from every point of the blob. What could not be done from
the outside, was easier to do inside the creature.
A poisonous cloud began to form as the goo evaporated and was expelled through Superman's point
of access, which Flash redirected creating a small tornado rotating his arms at super speed and Lantern
contained in a balloon created by his ring. When most of the substance abandoned the beast, it was
evident that it was dead.

After making sure it wouldn't recover, Superman, exhausted and covered in smoking green goo, got
out of the dead skin.

"Yes!" shouted Green Lantern, pumping his fist up and down.

"We did it!" Added Flash in celebration.

Manhunter spoke with a satisfied smile, "Congratulations, comrades"

Superman crossed his arms over his chest, pleased with the outcome and his new allies. "It looks like
we work pretty well together."

"So it seems." Batman agreed but was quick to add, "Though I'm not a team player, I think we should
consider some kind of association."

Diana looked on at the men she worked alongside to bring down the mysterious blob. "I believe we're
up to something really interesting here."

"By the way, I'm Cl…Kal-El," Superman addressed Diana, overwhelm by her evident beauty. "Sorry
about the rope. I'll have it clean in no time."

"I'm Diana. Never mind my lasso. I'm glad it has proven useful." Diana looked at Superman. He was
dirty and weary, but she couldn't help gazing at his eyes. They were of a blue she'd never seen
before, except for the skies above Themyscira. For an instant or so everybody else disappeared.


The cafeteria was empty, except for Wonder Woman, who was sitting alone looking down at a cold
mug of green tea. Her watch was set to begin in forty five minutes.

Superman, finished with his shift, entered to get a coffee and a sándwich. He smiled, seeing the
Amazon Princess.

"Diana, hi."

"Oh, hi, Kal," she said, just noticing his presence.

Superman was aware of the downbeat tone in her voice. He started making himself a sandwich as he
asked her, "Anything wrong?"

"No…" she started to explain but said, "Nothing…"

He knew that answer in a woman's lips meant a lot more than she was willing to say. "Want a
sandwich?" Superman offered. "I'm making one for myself."

"Mmm, no, I'm not hungry, thank you," she said pensively.

This looks serious, he thought. Diana was not one to turn down an offer from him to make a meal for
her, even if it was only a sándwich. "Are you sure? I make a mean boloney sandwich 'con tutti'. Mmm-
hmm," he said incitingly as he rubbed his stomach.

"NO-THANK-YOU!" Diana snapped.

Superman discarded the slices of bread and grabbed an entire baguette from the pantry. "This is an
emergency." he thought

After making a huge sandwich, he cut it in half, poured himself a cup of coffee and went to her table.

"May I? I hate to eat alone."

"Knock yourself out," she said tersely.

This really alarmed Superman since Diana has never been so rude. He ignored her rough manners and ate. Each bite was noisy, as the crust of the

bread was crispy and crunchy. Every time he took a bite, she revolted in her seat; her cheeks turned a higher tone of red with each noisy bite.

Diana finally exploded!

"Oh, for Hera's sake! Give me that!" Diana grabbed the other half of the sandwich and took a furious bite. Superman grinned as he noticed

Diana's expression changing. "This is delicious! How did you…? Hmmm!" She took another voracious bite.

"Huh? HUH? I told you, didn't I?" Superman let her take a few bites more and then, "OK now, would
you tell me what's bothering you?"

If he wanted to know so badly, then fine! "The question is: WHAT IS WRONG WITH MEN?"

Clark blinked then rubbed the back of his head nervous. He had a good idea where this was going.

"Steve and I have been seeing each other for a year now and he recently told me he feels threatened
by my powers and my public figure. He thinks I make him feel castrated. I've never even been close to
his manhood to castrate him!" Realizing what she said, Diana's face turned red as she put her hand
over her mouth.

Clark wanted to laugh, but, with no little effort, kept his composure, and seriously pointed, "May be
that's the problem. I think you have a fear of intimacy."

"And with good reason. If I lose control of my body, I could seriously harm him. I don't know how to
deal with it."

"Believe me, I understand you." And lowering his voice he added, "I've just installed a red sun
simulator in my bedroom, to interrupt my powers while…"

"Yes, I get it…" Diana put her hands up, stopping Clark from saying anymore, "A little too much
information, Kal." She sighed, her frustrations evident. "Unfortunately. I don't have that choice."
Wanting to help Diana deal with this situation, Clark said, "Let me tell you what happened when I was
dating Lana Lang back in high school. As it turns out…"


He heard her heart beats long before she entered the observation lounge.

"What are you doing gazing at the stars all by yourself, Kal?" Diana asked, "Is there something wrong?"

"If you must know, it's about Lois Lane, a co-worker of the Daily Planet. She's rude, pushy, ruthless
and utterly beautiful. I started to have feelings towards her and she says she loves me back. 'Me'
meaning Superman. As for Clark, she doesn't even have any respect at all." He shook his head
annoyed. "Do you know what she calls me? Smallville. Yes, like my home town, but she means it as a
mockery. I ask you: how can you say that you love a person and not see all of him? I'm Superman,
alright, but I'm also Clark Kent. In fact, I AM Clark Kent and Superman is what I DO."

"Well, you have to admit that your public version of Clark Kent is a little too awkward." Diana offered
her advice. "Perhaps you should tell her the truth?"

"And what good will that make? If she loves me, she should be able to see beyond the surface,
beyond the blue and red suit."

Diana smiled. Clark was getting as frustrated as she with dating. Why did it have to be so difficult?
"Maybe you're too hard on her. Think about telling her the truth. Love can't grow irrigated with lies."
She added, "I was looking for you to ask you about an incident I had with a man. You know, shortly
after things ended with Steve, I started to fancy a man called Trevor Barnes. We went out a couple of
times; we even made out more than once, but when I wanted to get serious-you know, to the next
level- he dumped me!"

"He what? Is this guy for real?" Clark was astonished. "You are the most wonderful and beautiful
woman I know!" He wanted to take it back, but it was too late. Diana heard him. "Anyway, it's his lost.
If he doesn't appreciate you, he doesn't deserve you."

"Tell me Kal," asked Diana in despair "What is wrong with me that every man I like ends up pushing me

Clark couldn't hold back anymore. He took Diana in his arms. Her eyes flooded with tears. Clark hated
seeing a woman cry. Holding her closely, he fixed his eyes on her full red lips. She had such a lovely
face. As he gazed at her, Diana's heart skipped a beat as Clark appeared ready to kiss her until he
abruptly pulled away. He had to keep himself in check.

"There's nothing's wrong with you, Di. Just like me, you don't seem to find a suitable companion. If I
were you, I'll keep away from men called Trevor."

Her smile returned. Clark was so sweet. He always tried to find ways to make her smile when she felt
miserable. If only…


Conference Room. Weekly meeting. Clark couldn't stop staring back and forth from Bruce to Diana and
vice versa. They didn't even look at each other and when addressed the answer was always
professionally polite between them.

They've been dating for almost eight months now and Clark's gotten used to see them walking side by
side the corridors of the Hall (Never holding hands. Not the goddamn Batman). Yes, at first he resisted
the idea of them together, but it finally sunk in and he was happy for them. After all they were his
closest friends. Besides, he's got Lois to worr…to CARE about.

But now something had definitely changed. After the meeting each one took a different direction,
without saying another word. Knowing talking to Bruce would get him nowhere, he followed Diana to
the Mess Hall. Diana made herself a mug of mint tea sweetened with honey. She heard Clark come in
and, without turning, said dryly to him, "Are you going to make me another boloney 'con tutti'

"What do you mean?" He asked innocently "What sandwich?"

Clark couldn't feign innocence with her. "It seems that with or without bread, I'll have to take your
'boloney' anyway." She sighed, "Come on, Kal, I saw you following me from the Conference Room."

This isn't working, he thought. He'll have to change tactics. In order to make her talk, Clark decided to
open his heart to her first.

"You've got me, alright. I need to talk to you about Lois and me."

"Oh!" she sounded surprised. She thought he would want to talk about her and Bruce.

"Yeah. As you know, I followed your advice and told her everything about my secret identity." He
leaned against a counter, his back to her. "At first it was a very big deal: 'How could you lie to me? Why
didn't you trust me?' etc. Then it turned to 'How could I be so stupid? Why didn't I notice it? ' I wanted
to tell her that it was because she'd never laid eyes on Clark, but wanted things to work between us."
The more he deepened in this confession, the more pain and impotence he felt.
"We got together at last, and everything went peachy for a while but then the demands started." Clark
couldn't hold back his pain and frustration anymore. He wouldn't. "'Why didn't you call me?' 'I saw you
on TV with that Amazon Princess friend of yours. Why can't she wear something a little more modest?'
'When I heard about that monster, I thought I'll never see you again.' 'I know you have to go, but
don't expect me to be happy about it. Two weeks. Two goddamn weeks off world. Can't these outer
space missions be any shorter?'. Some of her complaints were of genuine concern, some were just petty jealousy.
The fact is all of that is part of what I do. I know you DO understand that, because it's
what you do too.
Lois knew it from the get go, but like the drop of water against the rock, her constant
complains started to leave a trail. Now we are both unhappy and bitter." He was shocked for the truth
of the words coming out of his mouth. This was something he never admitted even to himself! Clark
looked down, checkng to see if Diana's lasso wasn't around him.

Talking with Diana about this, expressing his words outloud, Clark felt an enormous weight on his heart
lifted. He felt so relieved, his body felt lighter, his sight unclouded, his…


Diana's voice brought him back to reality. "Uh…? Yes, Di?"

"Kal, I had no idea, I was so immersed in my own problems that I forgot to check on what was
happening in the life of my dearest friend. I'm sorry." She put a hand on his shoulder. The tender look
in her blue eyes was enough to melt his heart.

Feeling that small yet strong hand on his shoulder, he turned to her. "Care to tell me what those
problems are?" With his deep blue eyes gazing at her, Diana felt Clark saw into her soul.

"When Bruce and I started dating, everybody, including you –especially you- warned me about the
kind of person he is. Not in a bad way, but more like 'his commitment to his mission and his city (that
dreadful city of his) outweighs any possible feeling he could have towards any person'. I chose to
ignore the signs because I was genuinely attracted to him and curious to know him better."
There was another reason. "Besides, Bruce is probably the most perfectly developed specimen of the
male portion of the human race. So, if physical intimacy was going to work with any man, who better
than him? I knew Bruce was experienced in love making because of his many adventures as a playboy.
I mean, you can pretend all you want, but if you don't please a woman or two every once in a while,
rumors will spread and the facade will crumble sooner than later. Still, Bruce had the same concerns I
have on the matter, because he never mated with a metahuman. He couldn't afford to get injured
because of his mission; always his precious mission." His mission always felt like the other woman. She
knew what Clark was thinking without him saying it. "Yes, I know the importance of our work, but if
you don't stop every once in a while to smell the roses, what is all this fighting for? You have to take
certain risks in a love relationship."

Diana crossed her arms over her chest. "Bruce kept me at arms length. Making out here and there
wasn't enough anymore, so I urged him to step up." She paused, hesistant to go further. "That's when
he proposed this stupid experiment."

"What do you mean?" Clark was curious. "What experiment?"

"He took me to the training room and said to me 'Let's spar. You and me, but no holding back. Not this
time.' 'Are you sure? ' I asked. 'Yes, please, humor me. I'll be fine'" Diana made a perfect
impersonation of the Dark Knight, which brought a smile to Clark's lips. "He sounded so sure that I had
to agree, thus we began. His extraordinary skills held him well at first, so I was growing more confident
with each blow. He even manage to throw me down a couple of times. I was very proud of him. Then
things got out of hand. I cornered him against the wall and threw the "K.O. punch" to his face. It wasn't
a full force blow, but it was enough to shatter his skull, should it reach him. I realize, in the last instant,
what was I about to do and manage to detour the blow towards the wall, leaving a deep dent on the
titanium surface. My eyes went wide. I put my hands on my face in horror at the thought of what
could've happen. Words couldn't express my feelings at the momento. I stepped back, stammering,
'B-Bruce…I-I'm so sorry!' He needn't say anything. He took a deep look at me and left. I remained
standing still in disbelief for almost an hour. We haven't talked since."

Clark suspected Bruce and Diana were over but he didn't think it ended that way. "Bruce was always
so melodramatic to prove a point." Clark touched her shoulder returning the comforting gesture Diana
gave him. "Di, I'm so sorry things happened this way"

"It's okay, Kal." Diana tried to sound upbeat but she was saddened at another relationship ending.
"Better now before anyone of us actually fall in love."

"So you don't…"

"No. I love him, but I'm not IN LOVE with him. Does he love me?" Diana shrugged. "I don't think so. If
you love somebody, you struggle to make it work, whatever the odds. Bruce's heart is behind a
granite wall, so we'll probably never know. But if I happen to see him with that cat of his any time
soon, he'll have a piece of my mind and I'll have a piece of his teeth."

Clark wanted to hold Diana in his arms, but somehow knew it would be inappropriate at this moment.
"Bruce is, first and foremost, your friend. You know that. The both of you will have to talk to set things
right. Don't you agree?"

"A-ha" she didn't sound very convincing. "But right now he's going away on one of his missions." So
that meant no chance for Diana and Bruce to talk. While their relationship was over, Clark still had a
chance with his and Lois. "And what about you and Lois? What will happen now?"

"Important decisions. Painful decisions will have to be made." Clark was deadly serious. Changes were
coming to his relationship with Lois.

"To remain in a relationship in which both sides are suffering is unnecessary and cruel. Take it from a 25
year old virgin without any prospect of a love life in her future.
Lois always struck me as a fighter. She'll be fine." Diana's radiant smile revealed itself at last. Wanting to bring a smile to Clark's face,

she said, "Sooo…where is my boloney sandwich 'con tutti', boy?"

Clark grinned. Diana always knew what to say. He bowed before Diana. "Coming right away, Madam

They both shared an honest laugh.


As soon as he got down the teleporter pad, he could feel the vibrations. They weren't evident for
anyone else, but for him it was enough to catch his attention. He scanned the building to find the
origin of the phenomenon and then he saw her. She was in "the kitchen", the training room, wrecking
havoc in the facility, smashing a sparring drone after another with her bare hands. It was still an hour
until his watch begins, so he went to see what pissed her off like that.
He punched his code on the electronic lock. The metallic recorded voice informed him

"Code invalid. Training room sealed by member 0.03, Wonder Woman. Lock down effective."

"Damn. G.O.R.D.A. (General Operations Regulator and Data Administrator): Emergency level 5. Member 0.03
under possible danger. Override lock down. Authorization member 0.01, Superman, Romeo-Alpha-

"Voice command accepted. Lock down override now in effect. Member 0.01, Superman, may enter"

"Diana, what's the matter?" He shouted over the sound of metal being torn apart.

"Not now, Kal!" She said in anger.

"C'mon, Di, talk to me!" He begged

"NOT-NOW-KAL!" She chewed every word as she threw half at a drone in his direction.
Not even flinching he caught it in midair and start walking towards her.

"Before you laid waste to the entire population of drones in the Watchtower, wanna hit something that will return the punches,
Princess?" He knew that she really hates him calling her that. "What do you say?"

He called her Princess. He will pay for that. "Oh, I'm absolutely going to enjoy this, Kal. Come on! Make
my day!" Her skin was moist in sweat and her muscles were tight as a piano cord. The look in her blue
eyes was that of a tigress jumping at her prey. A twisted grin plastered on her beautiful lips.
Clark thought to himself that she was even more gorgeous in anger. "Clark, you're really sick. Get a
grip, man," he mentally reprimanded himself. As she was getting closer he whispered, "Oh, boy. This
is gonna hurt."

Diana projected her right fist forward like a whip, punching him in the jaw and sending his body
tumbling against the titanium wall. He shook his head as he started to stand, but Diana was over him
again in full amazon mode. Not letting him get on his feet, she connected another blow to his stomach,
lifting him two feet from the floor and a cross to his temple, throwing him twenty feet against the
other wall.

"You men think you're so important! That you can play with our feelings. Today is yes and tomorrow is
no! What do you want from us women? What do you want from me?"

Her voice was breaking. Clark thought it was enough when she threw a kick to his crotch which he caught half way and made her
lose her balance. Diana fell still throwing punches. Clark took a couple, but diverted most of them.
Using his super speed, he put himself behind her, grabbing her wrists and crossing her arms over her
chest. Diana tried to kick him, even bite him. Clark let himself fall back with Diana on top, still
immobilizing her.

"Enough, Diana!" Diana still struggled. Clark nearly lost his cool. "I SAID ENOUGH!"

Diana suddenly stilled. Seeing what she was doing, tears streamed down her face. "What do you want
from me? What…? Ooh, Hera, mercy!"

Clark's heart sunk at the vision of the woman he knew as a paradigm of strength breaking down like
this. "It's okay, Diana. It's okay," he tried to comfort her.

He kept holding her and stroking her hair as she put her head over his chest, sobbing quietly. Seeing
her like this really broke his heart. He wanted to do something to ease her pain, but for now she
needed to let it out; so they remain for a long time (or what seemed a long time) like that. He
informed to central command that he'll be late for his shift, and J'onn offered to take his place. He
accepted gratefully.

After a while she started to calm down, He sat with his back against the wall and pulled her over his
lap. She hid her face in his chest, too embarrassed to look at him in the eye.

"I'm sorry…" she mused, her voice still trembling.

"Nothing to be sorry about," he said dismissively as he stroke her back. "I'm here if you wanna talk. No

"I hit you… I wanted to hurt you." She buried her face deeper in his chest.

"I know. Quite a punch you pack there." He rubbed his chin. "When we spar, I never felt this power."

"I hold back," her voice was distorted because her mouth was pressed on his pecs. She could smell his
scent and hear the beating of his heart.

"You don't have to. What's the point of sparring each other, being a suitable physical match, if you're
holding back?"

"Uh odak doo."

"What?" he asked confused.

"You hold back, too. I can tell," Diana said, lifting her head from his chest.

Clark excused himsed. "Well, in my case, it's the gentleman in me."

"Don't!" She slapped his arm.

"Ouch!" Clark winked at Diana. "Still abusing me, I see."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Diana apologized. "No more violence, I promise!"

"A pity. I was starting to get aroused."

"KAL!" she raised a hand to slap him again, but stopped the movement in midair. Placing her hand on
his shoulder instead, she smiled at him, with blushing cheeks.

"God, I love your smile, Di." He gazed at her tenderly "I don't wanna ever see you this sad again.
Whatever happens, you come to me first. Is that understood, missy?"

"Yes, sir. Understood, sir!" she retorted mockingly. She tightened her embrace and so did he. They
remained silent after that. "She'll talk when she's ready" He told himself. He just wanted to enjoy the
scent of her hair. How could she still be so fragrant after all that exercise?


Clark Kent walked towards the Themysciran Embassy absent mindedly, musing a catchy melody. He
wore a black shirt with the sleeves folded up and jeans. He felt optimistic.
The Embassy was mostly dark, since there wasn't any diplomatic activity tonight. He showed his
journalistic credentials to the security guard at the outside gate and, after a brief call, he was granted

He waited in the large marble lobby where shortly after, Julia Kapatelis showed up.

"Good evening, Mr. Kent. I didn't know you were coming. Do you have an appointment with Madam
Ambassador that she didn't tell us about?"

"'Evening, Mrs. Kapatelis. No, I don't have an appointment. I happened to be in town for business and
thought to have an informal interview with Madam Ambassador, if she is available and willing, that is. I
want to write about the human side of a political figure and superhero."

"Well, huh…this is highly irregular. The Ambassador had already retired for the evening."

"I would appreciate if you talk to her, please. It will only take a minute and if she says no, I'll be on my

Julia considered turning Clark away but changed her mind. "Hmm, very well then. Please, wait here."

Ten minutes later, Diana came downstairs. She wore a purple blouse with short sleeves and a knee
long white skirt with white sandals and her hair tied in a pony tail. "Always gorgeous," Clark thought.

"Mr. Kent, what an unexpected surprise!" Diana greeted him with a smile.

Clark bowed before Diana. "Good evening, Madam Ambassador. I apologize for my abrupt
appearance, but, as I told Mrs. Kapatelis here, since I was already in D.C., I couldn't let pass an
opportunity to interview Wonder Woman."

"It's Diana, Mr. Kent," she told him.

"Diana," he corrected himself. "Unfortunately, I'm leaving tomorrow at noon, so it's tonight or no
night. And it's Clark, Mad…Diana."

"You caught me in a good mood, Clark. Care to walk with me in the garden?" Diana looked to Julia who
was standing by. "Thank you, Julia, I'll take it from here. I won't need you for the rest of the evening."

"Are you sure, Diana?" the elder lady was confused, but if she was suspicious, she didn't show it.


"Alright then. Good night" She started up the stairs, leaving Clark and Diana alone.

"Good night," Clark and Diana said at the same time.

Diana took Clark's arm and together they went out to the garden. "Kal, what a lovely surprise! What
are you doing here?"

"I came to take you to the movies and a late dinner."

"Really? I don't know if I can leave just like that," she hesitated. "Besides…your taste in movies is…how
did Dinah put it? A bit corny!"

"Seriously?" he frowned. "I need to have a talk with the screaming lady."

"Please don't mention me," Diana requested.

"Oh, yes. Your name will be one of the first things I'll tell her," he threatened her. "Unless you said yes
to my proposal."

"That's blackmail."

Clark grinned, "I know."

Diana sighed, "And what movie are we going to see, if I may ask?"

"There's a special projection of a remastered classic: 'Gone with the Wind'. I know you haven't seen it

"No, but I read Margaret Mitchell's book. Quite a lovely piece of literatura."

"Well, the movie isn't exactly like the book, but it has its own artistic merits. Besides the leading lady is
a feisty, gorgeous, blue eyed brunette, sounds familiar?" he enticed her.

"Green eyes"


Diana corrected him, "In the book, Scarlet O'Hara has green eyes."

"Well, the actress, Vivien Leigh, had blue eyes," Clark informed her. "Consider it an artistic license."

"I can live with that," she conceded.

"So, is that a yes, then?" he sounded hopeful.

"It is a yes."

"Great! " Clark whooped.

Clark's excitement was infectious. Diana couldn't help smiling, "Should I call the car?"
"No. The theater is nearby. We can walk." He looked at his watch. "We have forty minutes before it

"Good," Diana inhaled the fresh air and gazed at the stars above. "It's such a lovely evening." It felt
good being with Clark this way.

The feelings were mutual for Clark. "It is, isn't it?"

Diana told her staff she was going out to dinner with Mr. Kent to complete the interview. She was
Wonder Woman but she didn't want her staff to worry about her if she left without letting them know
her whereabouts.

As they walked, Diana's right hand nested in the inner side of Clark's left bended elbow. "Kal, about
last week…"

Clark patted her hand. "You don't have to talk if you don't want to, Di. We're just hanging out."

"I know. But I have to tell you. I NEED to tell you."

"It's about that guy from the Department of Metahuman Affairs, isn't it?"

"Yes, Tom Tresser. I took the first step and announced Tom my intentions of courting him in the
manner of my people. Well, so far so good. We went out, we made out. He seemed a little
overwhelmed by the situation, but I kept telling myself that it was only temporary and he'll come
around. Our jobs left fewer and fewer moments to be together, but I desperately needed this to
work. I started to feel alone, isolated as if I was some kind of pariah. I liked him but I also had this
strong desire to belong to someone, to belong to a place."

"I know that feeling," Clark was sympathetic to Diana.

It pleased Diana Clark understood. He would. He always did. "But it wasn't just about him. Last week my sister Donna was badly
injured in a battle involving the Young Justice. She was taken to Themyscira at once to be treated at
the Isle of Healing; her life hung from a thread. At the same time the Injustice Gang attacked New
York, and you know how much that battle took from us; not in lives, fortunately, but in energy, effort
and pain. When the battle was finally over, I flew home to check on Donna. There were no changes in
her condition. I also had an argument with my mother because she accused me of abandoning my
homeland and our ways to embrace the life of Patriarch's world. She said I exposed Donna to the kind
of perils that was threatening her life. Mother's words wounded me deeper than Hephaestus
sharpest sword. I left in anger.
Back in Washington, I was in a desperate need of a hug; a warm embrace; some tenderness. I found
Tom at the gates of the Embassy. I ran into his arms and kissed him passionately. I told him that he was
just what I needed at the moment and I invited him to take a shower with me. Do you understand? I
offered myself to him with no restrains. Can you imagine how much courage that took me?"

Clark could indeed imagine. Diana didn't need to say it for Clark had an idea how things went down.

"He just watched me, Clark. His eyes were filled with sadness as he told me, 'The offer of the century.
I'm truly very sorry, but this fool must decline, Princess . We mortals should not look directly at the
divinity, or we may burst in flames.' Tom returned the tokens of my courtship. 'Whatever there was
between us, whatever it might have been, I must end it now before one or both of our hearts get
broken. Please don't hate me. I hope you'll understand the reasons why this is not posible.'"
Just confessing this humiliation brought back all the anger Diana felt from that night. "I took him to
Themyscira to meet my mother, for Hera's sake! I even made him an honorary Amazon!" Diana
breathed in deeply, trying to squelch her anger. "That was it, the last straw that broke the camel's
back. That is why you found me in that infuriated yet pitiful state."

Clark put his arm around Diana's shoulder and pulled her close to him. "I can only imagine how you
felt." Clark wanted to tell Diana the next time she was in need of a hug she can come to him, but the
words never left his lips. Instead he asked, "And how are you doing now?"

"Much better. Donna is recovering and having a wonderful time at home. My mother and I patched
things up. She offered me a sincere apology. I can't blame Mother's anger. She spoke with a heart
frightened of the fate of her daughter. I begged to her not to put that kind of blame on me anymore.
As for Tom," Diana sighed, "I guess all the courtship rituals scared the Hades out of him, and meeting
my mother was the icing of the cake. I think I came onto him a little too strong, as well. I'm at peace…"
she sighed again, "and I'm still alone…"

Clark felt alone as well but not with Diana.

"Wanna hear a funny story?"

If it will lift her mood, why not? "Well…yes, of course." She said.

"Do you remember those sixty days I spent in outer space seven months ago? When I got back I said I
was helping the ruler of Almerac deal with some planetary problems regarding the tectonic plates and
the continental drift, right?"

"Yes, I recall something about it" And she thought to herself, 'I missed you those two months'. Clark
never went into details of his misión. Now she was intrigued on what happened.

"Can you keep a secret?" he sounded serious all of a sudden.

"Mmm…how would I put it?" Diana playfully pondered. "See, I know the secret identity of 39
members of the Justice League. Does that count as keeping a secret?"

"OK, smarty pants," he smiled. "Of course I know you can, no need to be patronizing. This isn't easy for
me to say."

Diana's humor was gone to be replaced by an apologetic expression. "I'm sorry. Tell me please." Did
something bad happened on Almerac?

"Well, truth is I was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Queen Maxima of Almerac." Diana was aghast.
Clark continued. "She needed a consort to produce a heir, and after a thorough survey in three
galaxies, I came up as the most suitable candidate to procreate. Maxima's a superpowered being, and
my Kryptonian DNA was compatible to her own. As she knew I'd never join her on my own accord, she
decided to forcefully make me."

"Gaea!" Diana gasped. "Kal, that's terrible! What did you do?"

"I wasn't aware of my condition, so there was nothing I could do. Maxima wanted me at my full
strength, so she used a combination of kryptonite enhanced chemicals, telepathy and magic to keep
me at bay. I couldn't access my memory, so she had me convinced that I was a prince from Krypton,
but my planet was destroyed. As you know, every lie has to have a bit of true if you want it to work."
Clark paused. He was still angry at what Maxima did to him. He took a momento to calm down. "She
said I was suffering amnesia because of the shock of the explosion, but her scientists were working on
a cure."

"What were you doing in the meantime?" Diana asked cautiously.

"We sparred. Maxima told me exercise would be good for my condition. One thing you'd like about
Maxima is her being an accomplished warrior. She's very skilled and never held back. Every fight was a

"Interesting." In terms of meeting a worthy opponent, Diana wanted to meet Maxima. In terms of
Maxima brainwashing Clark, Diana wanted to kick her butt. "Is that all you did?"

"Weeell…that and my consort related duties…" His face began to blush.

"Which included…?" she was inquisitive now.

Clark avoided Diana's face "Maxima is a physical person. A VERY physical person. She knows no
boundaries and no restrains. Let's just say that I was her boytoy."

"A boyto…?" Diana knew the term. Dinah often said she wouldn't mind having Taylor Lautner as her
boytoy. "KAL! She was a hideous elderly woman who kept abusing you!"

"She wasn't that old." He still wouldn't look at her.

"But she certainly was hideous," Diana remarked.

"Not quite. She reminded me a little of Lana Lang. She's a redhead too…Ouch!"

Diana punched Clark's arm. "Lana's gorgeous! I've seen your photos of her!" She let go his arm and
folded hers over her chest.

"Hey! I'm the victim here!" he defended himself.

"Yes, of course! Some victim!" After being silent an entire block, she asked, "And how did you escape
this golden cage, lover boy?"

Clark grinned, "So, we're talking again?"

"Don't push your luck." Diana warned.

"Okay." He knew when to back down "Maxima used to organize weekly tournaments, kind of a
Roman Circus if you like, with combat and entertainment. But mostly combat. She told me that she
would love me to participate, since I'm this wonderful warrior yadda, yadda…"

"You ARE a wonderful warrior," Diana said thoughtlessly, "I mean…go on…"

"So…there was this daxamite slave fighter, Korum-Sar, she thought would be perfect for me to
contend. We met at the arena. At first, we used blade weapons, as it was the norm, but they kept
crushing against our skins, so we turned to naked-hand combat. He was very good, but
he never had you and Bruce as instructors. Funny how, even when you don't even know who you
are, some hard learned lessons are so embedded in your subconscious that you can access them
effortlessly. I actually saw your face in front of me telling me how to avoid that maneuver or how to
break that arm lock."

"You saw my fa…" she choked. "Sorry, continue."

Clark noticed Diana took his arm again as they resumed walking, "In short, I finally had him face down
on the floor with the whole stadium shouting 'Kill, Kill, Kill.' I turned to Maxima, as it was customary,
and she pointed her thumb down. In that momento, an image of you appear in my mind. Do you
remember when we discuss the use of lethal force for the first time, and I tried to tell you why I
wouldn't take a life if I could avoid it?"

"Vividly," she recalled.

The image of Maxwell Lord appeared in both their minds at the same time. She had no regrets about
it, and he had forgiven her long time ago. They didn't say anything.

"Well, that's what brought me back. Suddenly, all the barriers that kept me from accessing my
memories fell down. I watched myself in disbelief, then I look at the dais where Maxima stood. I can't
begin tell you the anger, the rage I felt right then. I rushed to where she was and grabbed her by the

"Oh, Kal, you didn't do anything foolish, did you?" Diana's concern was evident.

"You know I couldn't. Maxima kept telling me that she loved me. In a twisted way, I think she did. Her
eyes were flooded with tears, and you know I can't see a woman cry. Besides," he briefly paused, "her
people worship her like a God. They actually need her to be their leader and I didn't want to start an
intergalactic incident. I gave Maxima a warning though: should she ever come near me or any of my
friends again, she can kiss her privileges as queen good bye. She'd be in a Science Cell at Oa before
she can even blink. I believe she's got it."

Diana was relieved Maxima did or she would've been happy to set her straight. "Thank Hera."

"As you can imagine, I couldn't let any of this transpire inside the League, or the diplomatic incident I
tried to avoid would be a reality. Besides, I know I'll never hear the end of it when Hal and Barry start
to spread the 'Sexcapades of Superman'. "

"I can understand that." Diana could only think of Clark's memory of her that brought him back. It was
me. Turning a corner, Clark and Diana reached their destination. "Oh, look! Here's the theatre."

Fortunately, the line wasn't long. It took less than five mintues before Clark bought the tickets.

"Absolutely. A big bucket and a cherry soda," she requested.

"Salt or sugar on your popcorn?"

"What kind of question is that? Sugar, of course! And NO butter!"

"Yes, my princess" Clark mocked, knowing she wouldn't punch him when others were around.
"Attagirl," he said to himself, because she shared his taste.

They found empty seats in the back. They had an entire row to themselves. The rest of the small
theater was filled with older and middle age couples. Clark and Diana were the youngest pair there.
Clark grabbed a fistful of popcorn but Diana's smacking hand stopped him from eating it.

"Hey, hey, hey! What do you think you're doing?"

"I wanted some popc…"

Diana held the popcorn bucket close to her chest. "THIS-IS- MINE. Where is yours?"

"But I thought we…"

Diana loosened her hold on the popcorn bucket. "This time we share but during the intermission you
better get us a refill, okay?"

Clark put a hand over his heart. "Promise."

"Good," she smiled satisfied as the lights went down. Diana even allowed Clark to get another handful
of popcorn.

Clark grinned at Diana's childish antics. This was a side to her he rarely got to see.

When the lights returned during intermission, Clark saw Diana tightly holding her empty bucket of
popcorn. Spotting her red eyes, Clark took a pack of tissues from his pocket and offered it to her.

"Corny taste in movies, huh?" he teased. "Here, wipe your eyes."

"Shut up." Diana snatched the tissues from Clark's hands. "Amazons don't cry. Stupid movie."

"Do you want to leave?"

"NO! I mean, you've paid for the tickets. It would be a waste to leave when the movie isn't finished,"
holding her popcorn bucket tighter, "and I want to see it through to the end."

"You ain't see nothing yet." Clark held his hand out for the bucket. "C'mon, gimme that, I'll get us a

"No salt. No butter. Only sugar." Diana demanded but sweetly added, "Can I have honey instead of

"I don't know if they have. Besides, are you sure? It can be a little messy."

Diana waved her tissues. "I won't have to worry about that."

"I'll bring an entire box just in case."

"And a cherry soda!" she shouted as Clark turned to leave. When Clark turned back to Diana she
smiled, "Pretty please?"

With that smile, she can get him to do anything.
Clark returned at the end of intermission. As the lights went down, Clark saw Diana's childish smile as
she reached for the fresh bucket of popcorn. His heart was warmed with happiness.

When the lights returned after the movie ended, Diana needed a moment to get herself back
together. "I have to spend more time on Themyscira," she said drying her eyes. "Scarlett has the same
luck with men that I do."

"And the same perky nose. But the movie wasn't about that, you know? It was about how Scarlett
overcame everything life thrown at her, pretty much like you do. Even though everything seemed lost
at the end, hope still found a way."

"Oh, you ARE so corny!" she joked. He thinks I have a perky nose.

He rolled his eyes at her. "Shut up," he teased. He wanted tos say more but Diana stopped him.
"You keep comparing me to Scarlet, but what about the tall, dark and handsome leading man? I think a
pencil-line moustache would look really great on you. What was the name of the actor, Gable

"Clark… Clark Gable." Clark touched his ears. "My ears are not so prominent, though."

"Are you sure?" Diana touched his hair, sweeping it away from his ear. "I'll have to see you with gel on
your hair to be sure."

Clark spent the rest of the evening checking himself in any reflective surface he could find and touching his ears. Diana smiled with a mischievous satisfaction every time he did.

People looked at them. They were so tall and good looking, but their casual demeanor and obvious
commitment to each other made them blend among the night dwellers with ease.

Dinner was uneventfully pleasant. Being a local, Diana suggested an Italian restaurant that was still
open so late. Escorted to a private booth, they both ordered, to their surprise, Ravioli di Riccotta con
salsa di funghi. They washed it down with an exquisite argentine merlot of Clark's choice. The only
incident was a spoon fencing match they had over their dessert - a single chocolate mousse bowl they
shared. Diana was victorious, of course.

It was one-thirty in the morning when Clark and Diana returned to the Embassy. They walked together
in comfortable silence. Clark, being a waist hugger, held Diana by her waist while she leaned her head
against his shoulder.

"Sooo…" he said casually, "did you enjoy the movie?"

"It was fantastic. And the photography! I can't believe it's been over seventy years since the
production. Those landscapes…" she sighed blissfully. "It was simply wonderful. Thank you, Kal."

"Don't mention it. I had a wonderful time, too." Wonderful was an understatement. "Are you feeling
a little more optimistic about the future?"

"Humm…" Diana groaned. "I still have a few issues to deal with, but I'll be okay."

"Glad to hear that"

"What about you, lover boy?" she teased.

"Can we drop that, please?" he begged. "I feel really uncomfortable about that incident. Don't make
me regret having told you that."

"I'm sorry." She hadn't meant to cause him distress; not after the wonderful night he gave her. After
a few moments of silence, she confessed, "You know what? Given our disastrous love lives, I think we
should get together as a couple. We've already proven we can do a lot worse."

"Because misery loves company?" he said dismissively. And yet, his heart fluttered at the thought.

They continued in silence, holding each other close until they reached the Embassy's gates. A security
guard sat in his booth. Rising his eyes from the cameras he greeted her "Good evening, Ma'am Ambassador"

"Good evening, Jason" she answer.

Diana didn't want this night to end. She wished it could last forever but she knew it could go no
further. She had to say goodbye. She met Clark's warm gaze. "Thank you, Kal. It was a wonderful

"The company was the best part of it."


Diana kissed his cheek. The feel of her lips against his cheek was felt all over his body. Diana stepped
away from him and opened the Embassy's gates.

"Diana!" Clark called for her.

Diana turned, looking at Clark expectingly. Her heart skipped a beat. "Yes?"

Clark touched the bars of the gates and leaned over her. He was so close. He could hear his pounding
heart and hers. "Next time you feel like screwing up your life dating a guy, give me a call so I can be
that guy."

Diana's heart moved to her throat. She whisphered "You'll be the first to know, Kal."

"Oh, for God's sake," the security guard whisphered almost to himself, "get a room already."

Only Clark with his sharp ears heard the security guard. The last thing he wanted was an audience.
With the moment lost, Clark stepped back and politely said, "Good night, Diana."

"Good night, Kal." Her smile was on her face, until she could no longer see Clark walk away, until she
returned to her room and long after she was asleep.


The Justice League roster was organized in a way that similarly gifted or skilled members weren't on
the same shift. It was a way to assure that all teams have an equivalent portion of the League's
personnel resources and powers.
In this fashion, Superman, Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman never shared the same watch. Neither
did Batman, Mr. Terrific or Green Arrow.
This, of course, was standard operations routine; for global or extenuating situations this rule does not
apply and all the heroes may come together as a full force.

But this week has been a quiet one.

Diana and Clark haven't seen each other since their movie night. Their different shifts and other jobs
kept them too busy to visit one another at the Watchtower, the Embassy or Clark's apartment.
They weren't hoping for a disaster to happen so they could be together, but ever since that night, a
door was left open for them. They wanted to know if the other was willing to cross through it.

Of all the members that lived in the Watchtower, J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, was the one
that spent more time around the station.
After 35 years in the Middletown Police Department, he considered wise to retire, as a way not to
attract too much attention to his less conspicuous persona, Lt. John Jones. He and Batman were
working on a new identity, but in the meantime he enjoyed being on the moon and in charge of the
roster organization. He was looking for Superman and found him taking a coffee break in the cafeteria.
Clark stared in his mug with unexpressive eyes.

"Hello, Kal-El."

Clark rose his head in surprise. "Oh! Hi, J'onn. Sorry, I didn't hear you coming."

"So I see…" Now J'onn wore the surprised face. Clark normally would've known he was coming since
he left the Command Center but he didn't. J'onn wondered why. He politely asked, "You seem a little
worried lately. Something I can help you with?"

"No, thank you. It's nothing," he said casually. "I just need 48 hours long days."

"If time is the problem, as a founding member, you can ask for any rotation shift you need, or a leave
of absence if you like," the Martian informed him.

"Yeah, I know. I don't want to abuse my privileges."

"Indeed," J'onn agreed but felt it wouldn't hurt Clark if he abused it just this once.

"Were you looking for me?" Clark asked suddenly. "Is there something I can help you with?"

"As a matter of fact, yes. Can you take Wonder Woman's shift as well as your own for the next five

"Diana's? Why? Did something happen to her?" Clark was genuinely worried especially since he hadn't
seen Diana since their movie night.

J'onn noticed the sudden stress in Superman's voice. "No, nothing's wrong with her. The Lantern
Corps found Glorious Godfrey in Sector 3048 and captured him. He's always a penchant for Darkseid's
operation and the Guardians want to know what his presence in the sector is about. So far he has
managed to fool several interrogation methods. Diana volunteered to apply her Lasso of Truth on

With evident relief, Clark focused on the problem at hand, "I understand. Are you sure it is going to
work on him?"

"Nothing is certain concerning a New God, but it's worth a try. They've already proven impervious to
telepathy, so my abilities are not required." A tint of frustration transpired on the Martian's voice. "We
sent Batman as a back up plan. His detecting skills and experience as a profiler may be of use if all
superpowers and magic fail."

"Bruce is a human lie detector," Clark admitted. "Can I see them before they depart? I have something
to discuss with Diana, of the utmost importance."

J'onn frowned "I am sorry, Kal-El, the Javelin left to Oa two hours ago."

"Oh, thanks." Damn it!

Seeing true disappointment on his friend's face, the green skinned hero offered, "Part of your duties
will be monitoring their progress and make a registry of it. They have to communicate with us every
twelve Earth hours. Perhaps you may have your conversation with Wonder Woman when they finish
their report."

That would be awkward. But it was better than nothing. Clark wasn't going to wait any longer. "Yes.
That's definitely a possibility." His mood lightened. "Many thanks, J'onn."

"You are welcome."

"J'onn!" Clark called after J'onn as he turned to leave. "When are they scheduled to establish their first

"They'll be arriving on Oa in nineteen hours. They will confirm briefly with us when they arrive and it
will be another twelve hours until their next communication."

Clark made a quick calculation and said, "Thank you."

"Anything else I can help you AND Diana with?" J'onn's tone was intentionally prodding.

"Me and Dia…how do you mean?" Clark tried to deflect the implied commentary.

"Kal-El, I don't need to be a telepath to sense the anxiety in your voice when you knew of Diana's
departure. Your reaction was more intense than professional or even friendly concern, my friend. How
long you have you two been dating?"

Clark dropped the pretense. "I see Batman is not the only great detective here."

"Thirty-five years in the police force help sharpen one's detective instincts," the martian added

"Truth is, we are not dating. Not officially. We had an impromptu date a week ago. Mutual interest
was expressed but we haven't a chance to speak to each other on it." He ran a hand through his hair.
"I think there's something there, and I wanna find out if Diana's interested in me as I am with her."

"The attraction between the two of you was notorious since we all met that day in Washington, D.C. for the first time.
Everybody was confused when you decided to be just friends. The confusión continued when you
both pursued different love interests."

J'onn's confession was a bombshell to Clark. "Everybody? Everybody who?"

"E-VE-RY-BO-DY," J'onn enunciated. "With the exception of Diana and yourself, the founding
members—lead by Hal and Barry—and later on the new members entered in our oldest and, now,
most traditional wager." J'onn was very amused by Clark's shocked face.

Clark couldn't believe this was going on. "I've participated in many of those polls and wagers. I even
started the one about Ollie and Dinah, for crying out loud! Nobody told me anything about Diana and

"The worse kind of deafness is that of the person who refuses to hear, Kal-El. In any case, the poll was
revitalized two weeks ago after the quarrel you and Wonder Woman had in 'The Kitchen'." Seeing
Clark's face of astonishment the Martian continued, "It's a small station, Superman, and news -
especially gossip about our two most paradigmatic members- spread at warp speed. I believe the pot
rose to $16,500 to be distributed among the winners." J'onn proudly added, "It's our largest ever."

"And you don't happen to have anything to do with that gossip dispersal, do you?" Clark's blue eyes
fixed on his friend's green face.

"I don't know what are you talking about, Kal-El." J'onn's eyes looked elsewhere. "I have several
duties to attend to. Thanks for your cooperation, Superman."

"You're welcome, you big mouthed Martian!" After heating his coffee with his vision, Clark finished it
in a single motion and started his shift.


"Now exiting wormhole MVD-135922. Point of egress Blackhole DF569427 at the center of Beregahm
Galaxy, M20166748. ETA to Oa, 7 earth hours, 16 min. and 32 sec…"

"G.O.R.D.A.: Silent mode. Auto pilot engaged." Diana released the controls. "Continue in route to
Blackhole DF6… to the next Blackhole to Oa according to pre-established layout."

Diana stood from the Command Chair and went to the food and beverage supplying machine at the
back of the Control Room. She was a green or mint tea person, but this time she needed something
stronger. "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot," she said in a mocking deep voice. As the mug of tea filled up, she
couldn't help but smile. Taking the cup to her nose, she inhaled the intense aroma of citric and herbal
components. After a sip she felt better already.
Back in the chair, she said, "G.O.R.D.A.: ETA to next wormhole."

"ETA to Blackhole DF6…"

"Time estimation only."

"35 minutes, 55 se..."

"G.O.R.D.A.: Access WW files. Sounds folder. Playlist Donna 008. Start playing at volume level 3."

Soft music began to play and Diana closed her eyes and slowly sipped her tea. Donna's selection was a
flawless combination of timeless classics from the last five decades. Diana had to admire her baby
sister's musical taste. The only thing missing was…

"No! I am not thinking of him. We will talk when I return, but until then, my focus is on the mission!"

"That's good to hear." Green Lantern 2814.3, John Stewart entered the Control Room. "Who are you
not thinking about?" He ask for an espresso at the beverage machine while waiting for Diana to

"John!" Diana's face was as red as the top of her uniform.

"That's lovely music," John commented to the sound of 'Killing me softly with his Song" by Roberta
Flack. "Whoever you're not thinking about has a great taste in music… and women." He grinned taking
his seat at the engineering console.

"No one. He…it's nothing. I have unfinished business back home," she babbled. "And the musical
selection comes from my sister Donna."

"Kyle told me Donna is a very surprising young woman and as brave a warrior as her elder sister. I'm
sure he's sorry they stopped seeing each other. How's Donna by the way?" John asked curiously. "I
heard she was badly injured when she threw herself in front of Kid Flash to protect him."

Diana was thankful for the subject change. "She's recovering wounds, thank Hera! And what do you
mean 'elder'?"

"Er…nothing," John cleared his throat embarrassed. "I was only pointing out that you were born
before Donna."

"Okay… I think." Before John could take the conversation back to her love life, "Although neither of us
were 'born' in the traditional sense of the term, I was formed out of clay and given life by the Gods.
Donna was a magic mirror reflection of myself brought to life by the sorceress Magala to mitigate my
lonely and isolated childhood. Donna was given an extension of my soul and was made three years
younger so I could learn command and leadership. My childhood mate gained self awareness in a very
short period and made that soul her own.I believe it is consequence of my Gods' given attributes that
transferred to her. When my mother acknowledged that fact she recognized Donna as her daughter
too and thus became the second princess of Themyscira.
"Donna was taken from us at age thirteen, and returned five years later, living many lives in a short
term. Donna will tell you more of that life someday, and consequence of that, we no longer share the
same soul. However, the bond between us is even stronger than that of sisters born from the same
womb. The only reminder of her reflective origins is that she's a leftie, while I'm a right handed

"Whoa!" John never expected to hear a tale like that. "That's incredible! I've heard of it, but it always
stroke me as a legend. It explains the shocking resemblance between you two. I'm glad to know
Donna will be okay, but the way she imperiled herself was a little thoughtless. Wally could have
avoided the energy pulse thrown at him by his own speed, but Donna tried to protect him all the
same. If you ask me, she was thinking with her heart." John confirmed with a nod. "Those two will be
an item much sooner than later. That's what everybody at the Watchtower is saying anyway."

Diana immediately regretted telling John so much of Donna's past. "I'll have a conversation with her
about battle behavior. I'm shocked at you, John Stewart. I never took you for a gossipmonger!"

John shrugged it off. "Princess, we are a limited group of people confined in an isolated station a good
part of our day, 239,000 miles from Earth. I'll say gossip is a natural consequence of this. Remember
when I started dating Shayera and ended our relationship to date Mari? It was hell and back for us three
but there was nothing we could about it. And, let's face it, the bets are fun. Mari and I had a
wonderful weekend at Cancún on the last pot I won about Guy and Tora." He leaned forward in his
chair and stared at Diana. He was hoping he could win the pot of Clark and Diana. "Now, who aren't 'we'
thinking about? Is he who everybody thinks he should be?" His deep brown eyes glowed with the
green energy from his ring. It had a hypnotizing quality to them.

The Princess almost showered him with Earl Gray tea. "What…Who…? No! I'm not having…" Diana's
sputtering was interrupted by the electronic voice of the computer:

"Now approaching Blackhole DF661158. Outskirts of Gepulla Star Cluster. No number designation. ETA
2 minutes 26 seconds."

Saved by the bell! Diana straighten up in her seat and faced forward. Wormhole navigation required a
sentient being at the helm and most of it's attention, so Wonder Woman dismissed Green Lantern
with a "Sorry, John, I have to take command."

"I'll go to check on Batman, unless you need my help with any other task," he offered.

"No, thank you." She turned her full attention to the console readings. "G.O.R.D.A.: Autopilot off."

"We'll have to finish our talk," John promised.


Clark kept busy with the Watchtower routines, trying to put his head in all things other than…

Ding-ding, ding! Ding,ding,ding! Ding,ding,ding!

The alarm blinked blue lights, indicating an incoming communication. Clark's heart skipped a beat. He
had to control himself or he would make a hole in the console punching the Comm-On key.
The black, pointy eared cowl of Batman filled the screen.

"Link on. Begin scrambler," commanded a deep, dry voice.

"Br…Batman. You're on. Go ahead with your report." Superman switched to full professional mode.

Clark's disappointment was evident to Bruce's eyes. "Superman. Checking in to inform our arrival at Oa
according to schedule and with nothing abnormal to report. We're awaiting to meet with the
Guardians. Green Lantern 2814.3 already went to let our presence be known. As soon as we have
green light, we'll begin working on the prisoner."

"Acknowledge. Anything else?"

"Not at the moment. We'll be in touch again in 11 hours and 46 minutes. Batman out."

"Batman, wait!" Clark's heart beated furiously as he calmly spoke. "I wanted a word with Wonder
Woman, if possible."

"I'm sorry, Superman. Wonder Woman went ahead to our accommodations to freshen up. Do you
want me to pass a message to her?"

"Ah…no, no, thank you…" Clark said defeated.

"Roger. Batman out"

As soon as Batman's image faded from the screen, Clark exploded:

"DAMMIT! DAMMIT! DAMMIT! SON OF A…DAMMIT! Another twelve hours to wait! My shift will
be over by then! It will be another twenty four hours until we can talk!"

His other life's obligations wouldn't allow him to remain at the station waiting for the call. After
releasing another storm of curses, Clark took in a deep breath, wrote his report and went to the
training room to vent his frustation.


Diana exit her assigned chambers at the visitor's accommodations when she crossed paths with
Batman. "Bruce! How did the report go? Any problems?"

"None. I was going to 'Warrior's' to have a meal. Want to join me?" Batman knew the Guardians will
take their time before letting them see the prisoner.

"I'd love to," but added, "Isn't it amazing how the Guardians agreed to let Guy have his own parlor
here on Oa?"

"You know how much a pain in the neck Gardner can be if he doesn't get what he wants. Besides, he
saved the life of Ganthet and a dozen other Lanterns last time they confronted the Sinestro Corps,"
Batman pointed out. "And the food on Oa, especially the human food, have improved greatly thanks
to this place."

Entering 'Warrior's', Bruce and Diana noticed the place was decorated with trophies and mementos of
several Corps combats: a beheaded Manhunter's body, a yellow Sinestro Corps suit, a rock from
Mogo, the Green Lantern planet, etc. They took a table near the bar. A blue skinned female with the
most beautiful orange eyes Diana had ever seen approach the table. She silently pointed to a panel on
the table with one of her four hands, and made sign to them to put a hand over the grid. Diana did so
and it went on:

"Human. Earth. Select language." It kept repeating it in other terrestrial tongues. A list of 49 earth
idioms appeared on the screen. Diana selected English and the voice stopped.

"Good afternoon. I am your waitress, Enihi. Sorry about that but we need the universal translator to
communicate with our patrons…"

A human couple stood behind her and he woman said, "It's okay, Enihi, we'll take it from here."

"Yes, Mrs. Gastaldi. Excuse me," Enihi said to Bruce and Diana before leaving to seek another patrón.

The woman was petite with a beautiful and kind face, surrounded by a curly hazelnut hair. The man
was slim and not too tall, with piercing amber eyes and dark hair.

"Good afternoon, my friends. We are Giacomo and Sophia Gastaldi, and it's a pleasure to have human
guests every once in a while." This time it was the man speaking. "We are in charge of 'Warrior's'. Let
me welcome you and tell you that everything you'll have today is on the house."

Sophia added, "The only payment we ask is for you to update the news from Earth."

"Do you happen to know the results of the Eurocup or the Champion's League?" Giacomo inquired

"Giachi!" Sophia scolded her husband. "Don't bother our guests with your football fanaticism. Excuse
him, the poor man has no manners.
What will you have? We have a wonderful coffee selection, a wide
variety of teas, sodas, a dozen of different wines, white, red and purple. Spirits from all over the
universe. The beer is a specialty of Guy. He grows the ingredients and make it himself. It's our best
selling beverage, except to those species for which it is corrosive or poisonous."

The heroes ordered a small pepperoni pizza and two sodas, which the couple brought themselves so
they could continue the conversation.

Guy hired them personally after seeing their culinary abilities. Sophia and Giachi were curious to know
other cultures, but this was far beyond their wildest dreams. They were accepted immediately and
have never regretted their decision. People of every species have become friends with the nice
managers of "Warrior's". They spent a month out of six on Earth so they didn't get homesick, and ran
the place with no restraints, as Gardner trusted them implicitly. They've became close friends and
Guy, in every trip, brought them tons of movies and TV shows for them to stay in touch with
the human culture. The only thing Giacomo missed was his beloved football (soccer) which he caught
up with every month he spent on Earth.

Diana saw Bruce feeling uncomfortable with the flamboyant Giacomo. She pitied him. This was truly a
test for the famous Batman's lack of patience, but he was polite and answered every question the slim
man had for him.

"So, Sophia is a greek name. Do you have any Hellenic ancestor?" Asked Diana to Mrs. Gastaldi.
"Are you kidding me? I AM greek! Born and raised!"

"Αυτό είναι υπέροχο!" said Diana and, from there, the conversation between the two women was
conducted in Greek.

After an hour, both heroes' communicators started to beep. It was John. Glorious Godfrey was ready
for them.

"I'm sorry but we have to go," Diana told their hosts. "But we'll be seeing you for dinner, hopefully."

"It's a pleasure to have you both here. Come back any time you want," Sophia said.

"Ciao, pipistrello!" Giachi slapped Batman's shoulder with familiarity. This disturbed the Dark Knight
even more.

Bruce let an imperceptible growl escape his lips. Once outside an amused Wonder Woman
commented, "They're such a lovable couple. And you behave in a very civil and diplomatic manner. I'm
pleasently surprised and proud of you, Bruce. This is quite a change in you. Do we have to thank a
certain female feline for this?"

"Let's not go there for now and don't expect me to come back any time soon. Only someone of
Gardner's annoyance level could find people as annoying as himself," Batman grunted. "We didn't
have the chance to talk about our course of action thanks to them."

"I thought that we've discussed every aspect of the interrogation before, haven't we?"

"There's always last minute fine tunning to be made. Besides, I couldn't even tell you that Clark
wanted to speak to you."

Her face became luminous. "Kal was at the Watchtower?"

"Yes. Apparently, he took over your shift." His tone was neutral, but he noticed the change in her
mood. "Anyway, I say we focus on the task at hand."

"Yes, of course...of course," Diana could feel her heart thudding inside her chest.

"Here we are. The Sciencells Facility. Go ahead and get prepared. I'll go in a minute." After she went in,
Bruce took a voice recorder from a pocket in his suit and placed it in front of his mouth. "Memo 126:
Rise the bet in the Superman-Wonder Woman wager." The corner of his mouth rose a milimeter, in
which would be half a smile. He entered the sciencells building after that.

This was a New God they've incarcerated and no risk was to be taken. Besides Voz, the official
Warden of the Sciencells, there were Kilowog and Guy Gardner guarding Godfrey.

"Hi, Your 'Wonderness'," Guy greeted Diana. "It's good to see you. It's been a while."

"Likewise, Guy. I've been to 'Warrior's'. Love what you've done with the place and I've met your
lovely friends, Giachi and Sophia. Good call hiring them."

"I think so, too. 'as about time this dumpster of a planet finally had a classy joint."

"Princess," Kilowog greeted Diana next.

"Hello, big friend. How have you been?" Diana said warmly.

"Can't complain…except for the present company, that is," he gestured to Guy.

"Hey!" Guy whined. "My presence is a privilege you better start to value, you hulky pain in the butt!"

Killowog growled, "See what I have to put up with?"

Batman came in at that moment.
"Brrr!" Guy shivered. "Is it me or did it start to freeze in here?" Guy spotted Bruce. "Oh, hey, Bats.
Didn't hear you come in?"

"Lantern Gardner, Lantern Kilowog, Warden Voz"" Batman acknowledged, paying no attetion to Guy's
joke. "Wonder Woman, let's get to work."

The first session did not provide the information required. Godfrey resisted the power of the Lasso,
but his fight against it took it's toll. He was exhausted. If they've continued interrogating him, it would
have constitute torture. Batman was certain that it would take two more applications before he
crumbled and he vowed to make Godfrey crumble.
Diana wasn't even sure the Lasso would work on him. After all, it was an Olympian God's creation
against a New God's will. She was pleasantly surprised that it had any effect at all on Darkseid's minion.
The results could be considered satisfactory so she remained optimistic.

Two hours until communication with the Watchtower, Diana decided to go to "Warrior's" to have
supper and visit her new friends, the Gastaldis. Bruce wasn't going. He prefered to go to the Javelin
and work in a few things he will send as an attachment to the main comm-link. The Amazon asked him
not to open the link until she was present. He needn't ask why.

Guy's watch at the sciencell had finished and he decided to go with Diana to his establishment and
grab a bite and beer. Before they seated, Guy gave her the scenic tour, telling a brief story of every
item on dispay, with special emphasis in those related to his heroics. After that, they share a pleasant
dinner, Diana and Sophia chatting lively in Greek, letting go a laughter or two. Giacomo and Guy were
having yet another argument on which one was better: American football or soccer football.
Fifteen minutes before the comm-link would be established, Diana excuse herself.
"I'm sorry. Duty calls. I have to run. Guy, see you tomorrow. Same to you, my friends."

"G'night, your Hotness"

"Ciao, Princess" said Giachi

"αύριο" was Sophia's response.

Diana landed in the javelin's access hatch and went to the Control Room. Bruce and John were already
there. "Am I late?" She sounded anxious.

"Right on time," Green Lantern subsided her.

"Establishing link now," announced Batman. "Link on. Begin scrambler."

A second later the screen went on and Green Arrow's face greeted them from the other side of the
comm-link. Diana's shoulders suddenly felt the weight of the whole planet.

"Batman. Everything ready. Initiate report," Green Arrow said dryly.

"First session with the prisoner went as expected. Only partial results, but there is indication that the
method will prove effective with subsequent applications. No need to implement back up plan but a
profile is being made just in case."

"What about security status?" Green Arrow asked concerned. "Anything suspicious?"

Batman was a security advisor, so he tried to be as thorough as possible. "Nothing so far. The whole
security is responsibility of the GL Corps. No reports of space disturbances on or off planet Oa. Were
watching specifically for 'Boom-tube' signatures. The prisoner's Mother Box was confiscated and it is
being monitored as well."

"Roger that. Anything else?" Green Arrow was growing bored and ready to end the link.

"Nothing mission specific. There are two encrypted attachments to this link. I'm sending the one
marked BM 1227 to Gotham City with the usual protocol and frequency. Green Lantern will inform you
about the second."

John turned on the screen before him. "Second file, marked GL 0315 is to be send to JL member 1.37,
Vixen." A hint of complicity appeared in Ollie's eyes, but he said nothing.


"Green Arrow, a word, please?" Now was Diana's turn. She couldn't wait any more.

"Yes, Wonder Woman, what is it?"

"Is Superman at the station? I'd like to communicate with him." In spite of her efforts, her voice was a
little shaky.

"Let me check. G.O.R.D.A.: locate Superman."

"Member 0.01, Superman, left the Watchtower at twenty hundred hours GMT."

"I'm sorry, Wonder Woman. He is not here." Ollie could noticed the sadness in Diana's eyes. "Want to
leave a message?"

"Noo…wait! Yes! Inform Superman that his friend, Scarlet, has given him a call." Diana hoped that
would be enough.

"Is that all?" checked Green Arrow.

"That is all," confirmed Diana.

"Acknowledged. Green Arrow out."

Feeling in a better mood, the Amazon left the Control Room with a, "Good night, guys. See you
tomorrow morning."


Right after Ollie finished the comm-link he took out his cell-phone and called Dinah:
"Hey, 'Pretty Bird', it's me. Just talk with your pal, the princess. You were right. There has been
development in the relationship."

"I knew it! She told me it was an innocent night to the movies, but I can tell when a girl has the hots for
a guy. What did she say?" And after he repeated Diana's words, "It's some sort of code, but you are
right. It implies a romantic message. I bet my fishnets!"

"Not the fishnets, baby!" the archer added painfully. "You know I can't live without them."

"They're waiting for you, stud" Dinah moaned with deep lust. "How much longer?"

"Four hours still…" he shook his head. "I have a report to write, and if I keep thinking of you and your
fishnets, nothing will be done. Have to go."

"I just wanna tell you about my new bra. It has a pretty bow in the front. I know you like bows," she
slipped in mischievously.

"You are a mean little bird," he chided her. "Now I'll never get any work done!" he groaned. "This is
NOT over, you naughty bird!"


Superman's shift just started. He had been to Marseille, France to pick up half a dozen croissants still
warm from the oven. After grabbing a latte from the cafeteria, he was ready to work. His mood had
improved, largely because he could finish his piece on medical care for the uninsured for the Daily
Planet to his entire satisfaction and on time. "Yes, this is gonna be a better day" Clark said out loud
"G.O.R.D.A.: Last eight hours activities update, text only." It took the computer a nanosecond to
display the report, it took Clark two seconds to read the 48 pages.

"G.O.R.D.A.: display personal messages to member 0.01, Superman, authorization Romeo-Alpha-

The screen showed ten messages, but Clark only saw the one labeled "WW 0.03 – 2200 ."

After opening the message in excitation, he read, "Your friend Scarlet has given you a call."

"This is great! She's totally up to it… to us…! Wait, Clark." He couldn't get too excited. "Is this THE call,
or just A call? Nah, why else would she use the name Scarlet?" His mind was rushing so fast he couldn't
think straight. "This must be it… What if it's not…? I'm going out of my mind!" Clark stopped and took in
a deep breath. "Better wait until I talk to her."
Who said superheroes can't be insecure?


There wasn't much to report. They've been working on Godfrey only two hours now and he still
resisted Wonder Woman's Lasso. Protocol must be followed and they could use a break. Batman
asked for the use of one of the Sciencells Center consoles to communicate with the Watchtower, so
they needn't go to the Javelin. The prisoner was left wrapped in the Lasso to stew. Guy held the end
of the lasso for his comrades until they come back

"Hi, 'Chuckles'. Missed me? Yeah, the guy who caught your sorry butt," Guy taunted. "Ha! I'm Guy the
guy. See? I'm funny. We're gonna have the nicest of times you and me and you're gonna tell me how
many times a day does your boss,'Darksie', take a dump or I will shove this pretty golden rope so deep
into your ass, the Princess will have to grab a shovel to dig it out."

It was evident Godfrey didn't like Gardner. Not one bit.

"Gardner! The Corps doesn't approve the torture of prisoners!" Shouted Kilowog from outside the

"Shuddup, you big lump! I ain't torturing anyone here!" Guy defended his actions.

"Are you talking to the prisoner?"

"Yup! We're having a nice chat here." He tugged the lasso harder. "'Chuckles' and me."

"Then you ARE torturing him!" Kilowog let out a thunderous laugh.

"Ha-ha…now everybody is a comed…" Guy didn't finish the phrase as thunder roared outside the

At that moment, seating at a console down the hall from the sciencell, Diana was establishing a comm-
link to the Watchtower.

"Link on. Begin scrambler."

This time it was Superman on the other end of the line. Both of their expressions were of a poorly
concealed joy.

"Superman! Good to see you. Er…reporting progress on the prisoner at 10 hundred hours, Earth

"Good to see you too, Wonder Woman. Everything ready. Initiate report." Clark was trying to maintain
a professional demeanor but he was too excited to see Diana again.

"Roger that." Diana put on her 'business as usual' face. "Situation remains unchanged since last report.
Prisoner still resists, but it is evident he won't be able to stand much longer. We are confident he will
release the information by the time of our next report."

"Understood. Security status?"

"Security still holds. But word of the prisoner's presence here has been leaking. There's concern about
how long it will take befo…" Diana was interrupted by the sound of thunder.

"Wonder Woman, report." Clark repeated, "Wonder Woman, report! Diana, what's happening!"
But the Amazon had already left her seat, running towards the sciencell. Bruce jumped in Diana's seat.
"This is Batman. Situation unknown. Something's up. Keep the link open."

"Roger." Superman wanted to drop everything and rush to Oa, but he knew he couldn't. He wouldn't
make it in time for anything. He could only wait and listen.

A booming, rasping voice could be heard all over Oa as Darkseid's grey, rocky features filled the skies.
"Don't worry, little Guardians. This is not an invasion. Not yet, anyway. I'm aware of you holding one of
my servants as prisoner. I cannot allow that."

Godfrey came alive at his master's voice. "My lord Darkseid! I'm here! Set me free of this wretched
place, please!"

A full body image of Darkseid appeared in the sciencell while his ominious face and voice continued to
fill the skies. All the Green Lantern Corps personnel present at Oa worked fervishly to locate the origin
of the transmission without success. The Guardians knew this kind of communication was untraceable,
but they wanted to end it at once.

Darkseid shook gravely his head at Godfrey. "I'm greatly disappointed in you, Godfrey."
Diana, Gardner and Kilowog tried to attack Darkseid but he was only an incorporeal image. He chuckled
at the héroes useless attempt. "Don't bother, 'heroes', I'm not here. Consider yourselves lucky for

"Master, get me out of here!" Darkseid's minion was getting impatient.

Darkseid's eyes burned, infuriated with Godfrey's impatience. "Do not presume to tell me what to do,
worm! It is your own fault to be in this situation. You've jeopardized my plans!"

Godfrey stepped back his impatience. He could not anger Darkseid for it would not do him no good.
"Your plans are safe, my Lord, I haven't said a word to this creatures!"

"But you will. You will break soon enough. I can see it as I can see the fear in your eyes, worm. That's
an inconvenience for me." The coolness of Darkseid's voice sent a shiver down Godfrey's spine.

"Yes, Sire. So, the sooner I get out of here, the better, right?" The hope in his voice was diminishing
with every word.

"Wrong. I will not risk an entire invasion force to set the likes of you free. You are not worth the effort.
Besides, I need to send a message to my forces that nobody is irreplaceable and failure will not be
tolerated." Something like a smile stretched his lipless mouth.

When a smile streched Darkseid's lipless mouth, Godfrey worried of his fate. "B…but, Sire, you need

"I NEED NOBODY! I AM DARKSEID!" roared the despot.

"Stop right there, 'Darksie'," Guy interrupted. "This waste of skin is under the Green Lantern Corps
protection!" Guy, Kilowog and Diana placed themselves in front of the now not so 'Glorious' Godfrey.
The Lanterns rose an energy shield between them and the Apokolips Lord's image. Diana put her
bracelets up defensively.

"Your insolence amuses me, Lantern. I'll make you pay for it on another occasion. For now, I'm only
doing that what I came for." He took his hand to his belt and pressed a button.

"Damn you, Darks…!" Godfrey's head exploded behind the heroes.

"A very useful device, I'm sure. Don't fool yourselves thinking this would prevent anything," he
warned. "Things are already in motion." And with that, Darkseid's image disappeared with another
boom of thunder.

"How…?" Was all Guy could say baffled.

Superman witnessed everything inside Godfrey's sciencell, patched by Batman to the comm-link.

"A Radion device of some sort?" he asked the Dark Knight.

"Most likely. Since Scott Free said it's the only substance capable of effectively kill a New God. An
autopsy will reveal it with a greater degree of certainty. It seems to be implanted in the head of those
closest to him. Clever… merciless and cruel, but clever."

Clark sighed. This was a very serious matter. "It still remains to be seen how Darkseid breached all
safety measures and signal dampeners around Oa."

"That's an investigation the Guardians will want to carry themselves. I will check with Mr. Miracle if
there's some new technology development that would allow him to do that." Batman's coolness
dissapeared as the palm of his hand slapped the console in front of him in anger. "This is unacceptable!
We were caught with our pants down. We were completely unprepared!"

Clark tried to calm his friend. "This is Darkseid, Batman. He doesn't have an ace up his sleeve, he
carries a full deck of cards. At least, next time we'll know what to look for, first and foremost, when
dealing with his minions."

Diana came from the sciencell visibly upset. "I believe you saw the whole incident, Superman"

"I was discussing it with Batman."

Diana informed the Caped Crusader, "Batman, the scene has been secured. Lanterns are waiting for
you to start analyzing it for evidence, though I don't think there'll be anything of relevance."

"Let's not lose hope yet. No matter how small, any clue is important," Batman reassured her "There
must be some energy residue left from that hologram or whatever that image was"

"Let me know when I can pick my Lasso."

"I'll try to liberate it first thing," Bruce promised as he left.

"Thank you." Turning to Clark, Diana said, "It seems our talk will have to wait until my return,

Maybe. Maybe not. He could wait until Diana return but honestly, Clark couldn't wait anymore. He
didn't care this was on an official cannel. Diana had to know what he wanted. "Even though this is
hardly the time, and I'm sorry for it, but I want to know if you want to take our relationship to the next
level. Because I want to."

Diana, thought given what happened, Clark wouldn't go into this now, but since he did, so will she.

"Yes." It was all Diana could manage to say. The rest of her answer was in her eyes.

Clark tried not to choke, gasp or stammer, with moderate success. "G-Great! Superman out."

"We'll get in touch again in eleven hours, hopefully with some good news," and she added in a softer
tone, "I look forward to meet with you again, Kal. Wonder Woman out."


"Yee-Haw!" Clark shouted. "She's totally into me. Yes, she is, yes, she is." Clark turned in his chair
excitedly. Looking at his reflection on the screen before him, he cockily said, "Who's the handsomest
and luckiest 'muchacho' around?"

"I know this one. I know this one!" Hal said behind Clark. "I am!"

Clark's blood froze solid in his veins.

With Hal was Barry. "So…Superman," the red speedster grinned. "Everything okay?"

"Uuh…yeah. I was just…you know…the thing is…" Clark babbled, wishing he could fade out of the room
like J'onn.

"Yeah, we know, muchacho," Hal mocked him. "You were about to do the victory dance.
Anyway, John called me to put me up to speed on the Oa situation. Nasty business and I came to see if there's something we can help with."

Dismissing the embarrassing situation, Clark said quickly, "In fact, there is. I discussed with Bruce the
chance to ask Scott Free what kind of technology would allow Darkseid to pull that stunt. Wanna go
and give him a heads up?"

"And take a good look at Barda? Duh! I totally have this!" Hal clapped enthusiastically.

"She's a married woman and, most importantly, she can punch a hole right through your face," Barry
chided him. And adding as a reminder since he is a married man "You better start respecting married

"Sure, man. Sorry about that." And to Superman, Hal said, "We're on our way, Supes."

As they left the Command Center in route to the teleporters, Clark could hear Hal and Barry talking.

"I told you. If Batman and Ollie are raising the stakes, they know something."

Hal agreed with Barry. "Yes, and that unusual emotional display only confirms it. Sooo…how much
should we invest in our soon to be couple?"

Clark stopped listening to the conversation. "Aw, man! Diana is gonna kill me!" And yet, thinking about
her put a smile on his face. "Wait. What do Bruce and Ollie know, and how?"

The rest of the day Clark spent with Aquaman, containing an oil spill caused by a supertanker's hull
breach by the Patagonia coast, near a natural preserve devoted to Magellan Penguins.
After averting the disaster they sat on the edge of a cliff, facing the ocean. Arthur asked him "So, Clark,
what about the gossip about you and Diana? Is there any truth to it?"

"Et tu, Arthur?" Clark thought, but said instead "Well, you know. It's complicated…"

"What so complicated about it?" It was clear to Arthur. "You like her, she likes you back, you two start
dating, and in a few years we'll have SuperWonder babies flying around. Face it, man, the two of you
were meant to be together."

"Is that what everybody thinks?" Clark felt positively stupid.

"Everyone but you two, apparently. Have you seen that girl? She's good enough to eat! Better hurry
or somebody will beat you to her, me included." Clark's shock was what Arthur wanted to see. He had
to be deliberately rough to make it sink once and for all into the steel skull of his friend and colleague.
"Diana and I are both royalty." He explained "Tell me. Did you really believe that friendship nonsense
the two of you were playing for ages now?"

"Well…uh…I asked Diana out and she said yes," Krypton's last son admitted timidly.

"Good for you! This is great news, Clark!" Arthur proudly slapped Clark's back. "I'm very happy!"

"Thank you, Arthur." Clark was deeply moved by Arthur's words. "I never imagine how much you
cared about us. It's really touching."

"Yeah, yeah…and now I am the only one with a solid confirmation to rise the stakes at the bet! I am so
gonna win this one!" There was real satisfaction in the Oceans King's face.

Clark rolled his eyes. He tapped Atlantis ruler's back and sent him over the cliff, right into his domain-
the ocean. After surfacing Arthur shouted, "What was that for?"


Everything the Justice League was able to do investigating the death of Glorious Godfrey and the
whole incident regarding Darkseid had been done. There was no need to remain on Oa any longer.
John Stewart decided to stay behind helping solve the mystery of the security breach.

Diana said good bye to the Gastaldis, making them promise they will visit her at the Embassy next time
they were on Earth. The Amazon even wanted to take Sophia to Themyscira.

The Guardians assigned Kyle Rayner, GL 2814.4, to contact Mr. Miracle about the technology used by
the despot of Apokolips and the possible countermeasures. He had finished his shift at the helm and
now was at the barracks resting.

"G.O.R.D.A. : Auto pilot engage." Batman left the Command Chair to get himself a glass of orange
juice. "Do you want anything?"

Diana was seated at the science console. She has been quiet for the last hour, revising the data
collected during the investigation, but mostly to let Bruce concentrate in piloting through the
hyperspace. Something was clearly bothering her. Bruce didn't need to be the world's greatest
detective to see that
"Ehm…no, thank you. G.O.R.D.A. : ETA to Earth. time estimation only"

"ETA to Earth: 5 hours, 13 minutes and 6 seconds."

"Mmpff!" her chair began to feel uncomfortable.

Batman returned to his chair. "G.O.R.D.A. : ETA to next wormhole. Time estimation only."

"46 min, and 33 seconds."

He pulled his cowl back and, after a long sip at his juice, turn to her, "It's about Clark, isn't it?"

"Wha…? Damn you, Bruce. There's no keeping anything from you, is it?" She sounded annoyed, but
not at the Dark Knight. At herself.

"Well, what is it? I thought after your last conversation, things were okay. Did something else

"Oh…you heard that," she lowered her eyes and looke away from him.

"I hear everything. I'm The Batman," he retorted, making a mocking impersonation of himself. This got
Diana to smile.

"I could kill you right now." And yet felt Bruce could help her. "Clark and I are willing to try if our
friendship can become anything else. I think there may be something here to explore."

Bruce counted off on his fingers. "You, most of the leaguers, the public opinion, your sister, the whole
Gorilla Nation-they have a strong olfactory sense-, all of Clark's previous girlfriends, all of your
previous boyfriends—I know this first hand-, the Green Lantern Corps, the Injustice Gang, Darkseid
and the Guardians, I think…"

"Okay." Diana stopped Bruce. "You've made your point. John already told me what everyone thinks."
She sighed, "What if there's nothing? What if all this is just a mistake? I don't want to lose his

"We've been through this situation you and I. And, though my demonstration of why we wouldn't
work as a couple was a little crude, we were able to regain our friendship. What you are really afraid of
is what if he doesn't love you back because you are already falling for him?"

It was an epiphany momento for Diana. Her face showed the realization happening into her heart.
"I am… I realize now I've always been in love with Clark one way or another." Diana's eyes fixed on her
hands resting on her lap, "But what if he isn't? What will I do then?" She buried her beautiful face in
her hands.

"I'd say there's no danger of that happening," Bruce said confidently. "If I know that big boy-scout and
I do, he's hardly thought of anything but you since that movie night."

"Wait. You know about that?" Did Clark tell? she wondered.

"I know everything, I'm…"

"Yes, I know…'you're the goddamn Batman'," Diana mocked. "I know. You're getting cocky even for
yourself, Bruce."

"Haha," he said dryly. "Truth is, Clark wasn't seriously thinking of you as a couple before, but since that
particular night he really saw the two of you together as an actual possibility. There's no way you can
be wrong to each other, and if so, given both your lives span, there's plenty of time to undo a mistake
should it ever happen."

Diana was silent for a momento before saying, "Okay. Who in Hades are you and what did you do with
Bruce Wayne?"

"Hey!" Bruce feighed hurt at Diana's teasing. "It's not that I don't have feelings. A man can change."

Not him. Not without some help. "Does 'Hello Kitty' have something to do with the change?"

Bruce settled deeper in his chair. "In some important way, she does, but the process began long
before Selina and I were an item."His expression turned grave. "Shortly after we ended, Ra's Al Ghul's
daughter, Talia, showed up in Gotham. She and I shared some strong feelings towards each other
while ago. She was after the same people I've been investigating for some time due to a toxic
substance smuggling. Her motives seemed right. With her father being dead, we thought, for a while.
We joined forces and it lead us to the trail of a man named Qayin, sworn enemy of Ra's Al Ghul and
the man responsible of Talia's mother death. When we got to Talia's headquarters we discovered that
Ra's was alive and planning an attack over Qayin's army. It turned out Qayin, with the help of Golalia's
ruler, was planning to create a nuclear conflict between China and the United States which would have
devastating consequences. An alliance of opportunity brought Ra's and I together, since Qayin
threatened both our visions of the world. Meanwhile, my feelings towards Talia were growing
stronger and appealing to a marriage Ra's Al Ghul forced upon us, she became my wife. We were
together four months, and during that time, she got pregnant…"

Diana couldn't believe her ears. "Bruce, I have no idea. Why didn't you tell the League?"

"It was my mission. We finally defeated Qayin and averted his plans, but as a consequence of all the
combat situations Talia had to face, she had a miscarriage during her tenth week. This devastated us,
and though I wanted to stay with her, she didn't want my company. It was too painful for her, so I
returned to Gotham with the greatest emptiness my heart has ever felt since the death of my
parents. I knew true happiness for three months, and all of it was suddenly taken away."

"And you kept all this pain to yourself?"

"I would if it wasn't for Alfred…and Clark. I threw myself to my work…, my mission. Darker, more
violent than ever, Alfred was worried for my safety and, worst of all, my sanity, so he called the only
person I wouldn't be able to push away."

"Superman," she guessed.

"Correct. He prevented me from doing something I would have regretted for the rest of my life. I
crashed unprepared into Black Mask's lair. It was reckless and stupid, but I was beyond those
considerations. A death wish was driving my actions. Black Mask was waiting for me and caught me
between the cross fire of his men. Their bullets were covered with Teflon, which can pierce through
my armor. I took several shots but managed to take some of his men down. In a last effort I did the
unthinkable. I grabbed a gun and aimed it at Black Mask." Bruce lowered his eyes, clearly regretful
about his reaction. "Before I could pull the trigger a blur of red and blue snatched it from my hands and
took every foe still standing down. It was the last thing I remembered before being flown to my cave.
In the ten days I needed to recover, Clark came to the manor every day to check on me and talk.
We've been close before that, but I knew in that moment, as much as I have a father in Alfred, I have
a brother in Clark. After that I understood the importance of the relationships in life, the need of
seizing the time you live and how rare and precious are the few moments of happiness we encounter
in our way."

Diana's eyes were flooded with tears. She left her seat and hugged the Dark Knight tenderly. "Should
you ever need a sister, I'll be here for you. Don't you ever forget it."

"I won't," Bruce promised.

"Now approaching Blackhole DF678893, Center of The Whirlpool System's Secondary Galaxy. M51b.
ETA 2 minutes 35 seconds," the computer informed the héroes.

"Sorry, Princess," Bruce pulled away from Diana. "I have to take this. G.O.R.D.A.: Autopilot off."
Batman turned away to take the helm.

"I'll wake up Kyle." Just before crossing the hatch, Diana remembered, "Gorillas have a strong
olfactory sense? Bruce, that's disgusting!"


Superman´s shift finished two hours ago but no force on Heaven, Hell or Earth would keep him from
being there when the Javelin arrived.
The others, hangar personnel, Hal Jordan and J'onn J'onzz were looking at him with curiosity. He paced
impatiently by the hangar bay when the computer announced:

"Javelin JL011 now entering Hangar Bay through Gate 3. Clear Landing Deck."

Clark did an effort to swallow his heart—pounding in his throat-back to his chest.
When all the lights went off and the alarm in the bay ceased, the access hatch began to open. The first
to step out was Kyle.

"Yo, Supes! Wassup, man!" The two did a fist bump.

"Good to see you, Kyle!" Clark quickly said, "We'll catch up later." He liked Kyle but he was anxious to
see Diana.

"Sure, man. J'onn, my man! Hey, Hal!" And Kyle was gone.

Bruce stepped out next. The two shook hands.

"Bruce," acknowledged his friend.

"Clark. I know it's not me you want to see." And he moved on towards the Martian Manhunter.

Diana came out last. Their eyes instantly met and they both smiled at the same time. Diana wanted to
run to him, but with others present, Diana maintained her cool as she walked to him. Clark met Diana
halfway and embraced her in a timid hug, to which she responded the same way. He moved his hands
to her face and softly cupped her cheeks. Diana smiled at him tenderly.

"Oh, Di, I love your smile," he croon before placing a soft, tentative kiss on her mouth. It was sweet
and tender as Diana closed her eyes and caught his lower lip with her full lips. Time stopped for as long
as the kiss lasted. When their mouths separated they were both smiling brightly at each other. He
tightened the embrace and Diana laid her head on his chest, catching his manly scent and listening to
his strong heartbeat. Nothing else needed to be said.
Suddenly, Clark pulled back, took her small waist with both hands and pick her up in the air.
Diana looked down at him laughing,

"Kal! There's people watching!"

Clark lowered her slowly until their faces were nose to nose and caught her mouth in a hungry, intense
kiss. At first she was confused but then she parted her lips to let his tongue in, responding in kind. It
was impossible to them to measure for how long they kissed. When they finally separate to catch a
breath, he looked at her and said:

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

She laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. They began to kiss
again as they left the hangar.


Author's note: The core plot describes how my wife and I came to be together. We were co-workers (different shifts also), friends and each other's confidante in matters of love and relationships, and it took us 6 years to
discover we were in love with one another. It also took an unplanned date to the movies, and a casual
"we should be together" from her part to set things in motion. In the end, needless to say, we've
defeated Darkseid.