Batman: Entwined Fates
Part Two

For all the columns, the unlit interior of this building lacked windows or another door. Bruce turned to pull Selina out and saw Diana emerge from the woods. "She's here," he whispered. They moved away from the doorway. The scent of olive oil filled the room along with the sound of trickling water. Neither furniture nor a cache of weapons stored here and they had only seconds before Diana realized they went inside.

Selina pulled the satchel strap over her head. She dumped the soft contents onto the floor. "Put it over her head and run like hell again," she whispered and pressed the satchel into his hands.

It was marginally better than his idea to tackle Diana so Selina could run. He passed her the flashlight from his belt. "Blind her." He took position next to the doorway. Selina moved to the opposite side.

Diana's sandals scraped against the marble stoop. "Adelfή, egώ den tha blάpsei oúte esάs." She stopped inside the doorway. "Parakalώ, Adelfή, epitrέpste moy na exhgήsw." She took another step.

Selina pivoted and clicked on the flashlight. Diana jerked her head from the light beam and Bruce pulled the satchel over her black hair. She latched onto him before he moved away. Her foot twisted behind his good knee and pulled him off balance. He grabbed her arms and kicked her legs in return. They both fell to the floor.

"{We are taught how to fight blindfolded, Bruce.}" Diana said in Latin. She shifted to get off of him, but her upper body yanked up. Her hands grabbed the leather pulled tight around her throat.

"I warned you." Selina pulled the whip and leaned back. "But no, you just had to touch him again."

Bruce scrambled backwards along the smooth marble floor. Diana yanked the whip off her neck as she twisted her body, and Selina skidded across the floor. He threw himself between her and the wall. She collided hard with him, but it wasn't the worse blow his body had ever absorbed. "Are you alright?" His arms curled around her as he sat up.

"I'll know once the room stops spinning." Her hand flailed until it found his cheek and cupped it. "I guess we should have packed the Batpod."

He leaned into her touch. "We'll get out of this."

"I won't let her hurt you again." She made a fist with her left hand and showed off the claws.

"Those didn't work before."

"{Is she all right?}" Diana had pulled the satchel off her head and sat on the floor, but made no move closer to him and Selina. She still blocked the doorway.

"{Now you care if you hurt her?}" His arms tightened around Selina. "{It did not matter just a few minutes ago.}"

"She's ready to use her words instead of her fists now?" Selina asked.

Diana spoke before he could respond to Selina. "{I did not know! I only wanted to stop you and the Amazon who should know-}" She shook her head. "{I am stupid. She is not an Amazon and she already owns you.}"

"{Slavery has been outlawed by the rest of the world.}"

Selina pushed herself more upright. "What stupid thing did she say now?"

"It's not her fault she doesn't know." He released Selina since she wasn't moving like she had cracked her skull. He focused on Diana who studied them. "{Her name is Selina.}"

"And I'm not a member of their be-more-anachronous-than-the-Amish group," Selina muttered.

"{She is the one you called partner, but you treat her like a súzygos.}" Diana shook her head again while he suspected he wouldn't like what súzygos meant. "{Regardless if partner has a different meaning now, you would never accept the outcome of the Games.}"

"{Do you think we will stay here long enough for you to hold them?}" Brave words considering Diana had picked him up with one hand. Only Bane had managed to do that before.

Diana rubbed her face and muttered something in Greek. Selina snorted. "What did you tell her?"

"That we aren't staying. You know Greek?"

"Only the cuss words. Are you trying to make her shoot lightning again?"

Bruce rubbed his temple. "Diana brought it up."

"It's usually a lot easier to escape when you don't tell the captors." Selina picked something off the floor. "Are we waiting for reinforcements?"

He should have thought of that. He ignored the pounding in his head and translated the question.

"{I did not raise the alarm. My people will believe me a monster, but to be seen as incompetent?}" Diana looked at her hands. "{I do not wish to fight you or your partner.}"

"{Then we will leave.}"

"{You cannot! No one leaves Themyscira. I must stop you from doing that.}"

Bruce gritted his teeth. "I haven't dealt with such circular arguments since cleaning up the mess Ra's al Ghul made and that involved Gotham's entire Department of Public Works." He tried to drill his fingertips into his temple. "She doesn't want to fight, but she can't let us go either."

"Can we argue with the lights on?" Selina handed him back the flashlight.

"We will." He turned it on and stood. Diana rose and blocked the doorway. He played the beam over the interior of the building. The olive oil smell emanated from a scone next to the doorway. "{Will they see the light from here?}"

"{No one stays awake this late.}" She stared at the flashlight. "{How does it not burn your hand?}"

He pulled out a flash-bang and set it off in the oil. The sparks lit the scone which was connected to a trough built into the wall. The flame traveled around the room until it reached the second scone on the opposite side of the doorway. He turned off the flashlight and tossed it to Diana.

Selina smirked as her gaze dropped to the utility belt. "What don't you have in there?"

"Food," he answered as he scanned the interior again. No other exits, the walls were covered in bas-relief sculptures of men in chitons painted in life-like colors, and the fountain on the back wall trickled clean water into a shallow basin shaped like a sea shell. He went straight to it, cupped the water from the spigot in his hand, and drank.

Selina picked up the satchel and glanced at Diana. She was too absorbed with the flashlight to notice Selina's annoyed anger, but he saw it and Selina's guilty anxiety aimed at him as she knelt next to the clothes pile. She wiped the expression off when she saw him watching and began repacking the bag. "They didn't feed you?"

"No." He rubbed his head, knowing it didn't help. "I don't know how long they had me before I woke up, but they didn't feed me after."

"Granola bar or trail mix? I should've brought more stuff, but I wanted to travel light. Wrong call to make." Her lips twisted with distaste.

"Granola." She handed him a mashed wrapped bar. He watched her while he chewed to see if she would settle down or spit out what was upsetting her.

"Your head hurts?" Her neutral expression focused on him. "You keep rubbing it."

"They gave me a concoction that blocked the headache, but it's worn off. Did you pocket any painkillers?"

She shook her head. "Do you remember what happened before the crash?"

"You were emphatically turning down my sensible suggestion of an implanted tracking device. Changed your mind yet?"

"I found you fine without one." She snapped before the flash of guilt that she tried to hide by looking at the wall.

He closed the distance between them. Her eyes tracked the rope tied around his wrist. "And prepared to rescue me again."

"Some rescue." Her brown eyes glared at Diana. "Trapped in here by your rapist because I was too damn cautious, and you're the only one who can talk to her-"

"That didn't happen." He tilted up her chin. "Their law says I should be a prize in a competition, but the Queen ordered Diana-"

"We covered that."

"Diana was still asking for consent when I escaped." His hand slid up her cheek to her brown hair. "And you're the main reason I escaped."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. "So you're fine?"

"I'm glad you think so." He grinned. "And you look beautiful in that shade of blue."

"Thought you'd like it." She grinned back.

"{It does not matter what you call it, she owns you with love.}"

Diana's words reminded them that they weren't alone unlike the recent weeks. Selina dropped her arms, and he turned and glared at the Amazon Princess. Diana only nodded and looked back at the flashlight in her hands.

Selina turned back to the artwork on the walls. "They really gypped the male half of the pantheon. The goddesses got a better temple in town."

"Everywhere I've been has decorated walls. Why do you think this is a temple?"

Selina rolled her eyes. "The money spent on your education was wasted. All Greek art represents the pantheon with the same iconography. There's Apollo with his lyre. Zeus is there with his lightning bolt and eagle." She pointed to the man in the center of the back wall who held a jagged bolt of white over his head and a bird perched on his shoulder. "Piping in the water fountain under Poseidon was a nice touch." She turned back to Bruce. "And I didn't even go to Princeton; what's your excuse?"

He shrugged. "Why waste time learning about dead gods?"

"Who says we're dead?" A male voice asked from the door. They whirled around and Diana stepped out of his way. The young man wore a white chiton, held a caduceus, and the sandals on his feet had decorative wings furled out from the soles. Selina clutched Bruce's arm when he nodded at them. He stepped inside and turned to Diana with a broad smile. "Greetings, Sister."

"Sister!" Diana cried. "The Queen has no other children!"

Selina's grip on Bruce's arm tightened. "I understood that. She switched to English."

"It is hard to deliver messages if the mortals cannot communicate," Diana's self-appointed brother answered. "I found it is easier to insure the mortals all understand each other before starting. It will wear off in a few days."

"Handy trick," she said. "You always were my favorite Greek god, Hermes."

"And that has nothing to do with your light fingered ways?" Hermes smirked with a wink and Selina laughed.

Bruce scowled. "You really think you are the Greek god Hermes?"

"You are a cautious mortal." Hermes moved closer and Bruce stiffened. "Are you not, Bruce Wayne?" His hand brushed against Bruce's head, but Bruce refused to flinch.

"He is also a trickster," Diana said, "fond of raising ire in mortals and immortals alike. However, you are the only man on Themyscira without an owner's mark, so this is no imposter."

"And no more Latin," Selina added. "Owner's mark?"

"Why are you addressing me as sister, Hermes?"

Hermes frowned. "This was not the welcome I expected. We share the same father, Diana."

Diana caught herself against the doorway. "Zeus seduced my mother?"

"He has that reputation," Selina muttered.

Diana's hands curled into fists as she stepped towards Hermes. "My mother went to Man's World and left my father there. Why have you come to Themyscira with tricks?"

Hermes pointed his staff at the empty floor. A laden table appeared. "No tricks. Father commanded that I meet you here and give you the gifts from the gods when you came."

Selina released Bruce's arm to move closer. He grabbed her shoulder. She glanced back at him, but her annoyance faded when she saw his face. He glanced at the doorway. There was no way to escape without Diana noticing. And his observations wouldn't improve the Princess' mood. "The Queen lied about your conception."

Diana whirled to face Bruce. Selina stepped in front of him and held up the hand claws. "Use your words not your fists."

"You do not know anything about my mother!" She did keep her distance.

"But you do, and she already asked you to go against your laws tonight."

Diana turned to Hermes. A quivering lip broke her stoicism. "Zeus tricked my mother?"

Hermes shook his head. "Hippolyta was supposed to tell you everything. That you are a daughter of Zeus with a destiny important to the entire world." He gestured at the table. "Receive the gifts from the rest of your family."

"My destiny?" Diana repeated. "Gifts?"

"For Athena's champion." Hermes moved to the table he had conjured. "The Amazons always were her favorites. She sent you these bracers." He picked up a pair of seamless silver cuffs that would cover half her forearm. "Formed from the remnants of Aegis, they will also protect you from blasting someone else with lightning. That you inherited from Father."

Diana's olive complexion paled. "I killed Sotiria? Like I almost hit Selina with lightning?"

"To be fair, she tried to stab you; not that it would have killed you," Hermes answered. "Back to the gifts, Pallas Athena also blessed her sister with great intelligence, military prowess, and the gift of languages. You may not know why it was said, but you will learn how to say it like that." He snapped his fingers and picked up a coil of gold rope that glowed slightly. "The Lariat of Hestia forged by Hephaestus from the golden girdle of Gaia. With the Lariat, you can command Hestia's gift over the Fires of Truth. Coil this rope around someone and they cannot lie to you nor fight your commands."

Diana planted her hands on her hips. "And I suppose the armor is from Ares?"

"No." Hermes sighed. "Everything the Amazons taught you about men; that is Ares. Do not look for any aid from that god, Sister. The armor is from Father, including the sword and shield."

The armor looked like leather, but Bruce didn't trust that conclusion unless he had the garment under an electron microscope. The red cuirass had a stylized gold eagle spreading its wings across the breast cups. The bottom half started with a blue kidney belt decorated with silver stars. Embossed blue leather strips hung from the kidney belt to cover the thighs. The broadsword with an ancient Greek hilt was sheathed in a gold scabbard on a gold belt, which had a rope holding loop on the opposite hip. The red shield was triangle shaped and bordered in blue with a flying eagle stretched across it.

"These are the nicest material gifts any of his offspring have ever gotten, Diana." Hermes stepped away from the table. "Now we must cover the blessings."

Selina poked Bruce and nodded at Diana, who looked more stunned that Hermes hadn't stopped yet. "Were you this shocked when you found out how much was in your trust fund?"

"Alfred never hid how much was in my trust fund."

Hermes ignored them while he rattled off the list. "Father is the source of your super-speed, stamina, and agility. Upon your birth, others from your Olympus family gifted you with more. Demeter blessed you with strength drawn from Gaia's bones. Aphrodite blessed you with great beauty and a loving heart. Artemis graced you with Eyes of the Hunter and Unity with Beasts. Me, well, I waited until now."

He set his hands on Diana's shoulders and kissed her forehead. The pair of them glowed. "Now you can soar, Diana."

It was an impressive list and one that Bruce had a hard time disbelieving. He had a sadistic vision of Diana shoving a League of Shadow ninja soldier through one of their temple walls. Now that was just wishful thinking.

She backed away. "No, it is too much. This is not my destiny! I am a princess; I shall rule Themyscira after my mother. I cannot be Athena's champion."

Hermes looked like Diana sucker punched him, and her glare dared him to argue. Bruce glanced at Selina who stared at the gifts.

"Sister, this is not a choice." Hermes shook his head. "There is no choice."

"Free will is just another crazy idea we mortals had?" Bruce demanded.

"There is no free will in matters of the Moerae, Batman." Hermes ran a hand through his curly dark hair.

"You cannot make me. The Amazons need me!"

"Hold up." Selina moved between Diana and Hermes. "Percy Jackson is fictional, right? There's not a camp full of demigods out there because you gods can't practice birth control?"

"It is fictional. We gods got over our sowing wild oats period."

Selina nodded. "And the demigods were the first heroes, the ones to slay the monsters when mortals couldn't, right?"

"Often, I am not surprised those stories are remembered."

"Okay, moving onto current events. Gotham City could be an outlier, but a yellow alien tried to eat Coast City before some guy wearing green saved it. And now nearly all the Greek gods are giving gifts to the first demigod," she pointed to Diana, "in centuries because the Moerae told you to. How close are we to Armageddon?"

Hermes looked at Bruce. "You should take care, joining yourself to such a clever woman."

"Is she right?" Bruce crossed his arms.

"The end of the world? Not exactly." Hermes rubbed the back of his neck. "The Moerae don't take an active interest in how life unfolds, so when they called for a council and dictated how we were not to screw this up, everyone went a tad overboard."

"A prophecy?" Bruce asked.

"More like a portent. Heroes must rally behind the saved son of a dead world, the mantle of the bat, and the daughter of Zeus for the good of the entire world. So Zeus must grant Hippolyta's request and the rest of us should not interfere. So we agreed and even told Hippolyta the truth about you."

"Hera agreed to this?" Diana frowned.

Hermes nodded. "As long as Father had no contact with you."

Selina leaned closer to Diana. "My advice is to take the stuff. You'll probably need it." She turned to Hermes. "So no prophecies about the woman who moves like a cat?"

"Check with your favorite goddess," Hermes answered. "Now, I must go. Good luck, Sister." He bowed to Diana before waving his staff at the table. "And a gift for such a clever thief." He vanished as he stepped out the doorway.

The table expanded and an array of dishes covered the new half. "Thank you," Selina called out as she took an apple. She pointed it at Bruce. "See if eating helps your headache."

"The headache's gone." The pounding had stopped when Hermes touched him. He picked up a piece of the carved lamb.

Diana ran her fingers over the shield's eagle. "Hermes called you Batman."

"That doesn't mean their portent was talking about me."

Selina swallowed. "You think they were talking about Blake?"

"I gave him the mantle of the bat."

"No," she replied with an I'm-so-patient-with-idiots tone. "You gave him Gotham City. And if comes down to who people will follow you or Birdboy, you win." She held a plate of stuffed grape leaves to Diana. "Hungry?"

Diana shook her head. "I have no appetite." Selina set the plate down. "I do not understand. Why did Hermes call you Batman?"

He picked up another piece of lamb. "It's a long story, but Batman is the name I assumed to fight crime in Gotham City."

"We have no crime on Themyscira."

"Rape and slavery aren't crimes?" Selina asked with an edge to her voice.

"He is the first man I have met who turned down sex!" Diana pointed to him.

"If the rest of them are slaves, how can they turn down a proposition?"

"We take care of them, give them peace."

Selina growled. "And the worst pimp I ever met was a woman. She'd be right at home here."

"Are you trying to make her shoot lightning again?" he asked Selina. She glared, took a savage bite out of her apple, and stomped to her bag. "We weren't supposed to come here," he explained to Diana. "We crashed on our way to another destination."

"I do not believe that," Diana answered. She stepped close enough to return the flashlight. "The Moerae say we are to be allies; I doubt you could have bypassed Themyscira, no matter how hard you tried."

"You do know how to show a girl all the sights." Selina pulled on a long-sleeved cotton shirt over the chiton. "Florence is winning over this land that time forgot, and I'm betting this will be better than Uzbekistan." She lodged the apple in her mouth, held his wrist, and picked at the knot in the rope.

Diana watched them. "I apologize to you, Selina, for my actions and my mother's."

Bruce managed to keep his lips from smiling but they did twitch as he plucked the apple out of Selina's mouth. "You can't apologize for someone else, and what exactly are you apologizing for?" she asked.

"The lightning was an accident. Also, I knew what my mother, my Queen, asked of me was wrong. It broke our laws, and now I find out it is not all she has broken." Diana waved her hand at the table of gifts. "I did not want to disobey my mother and I did not want to rape." Her cheeks reddened as her chin rose. "But I would have won the Games to have him."

Selina raised an eyebrow. "And if I didn't win, you still wouldn't have him because I would have stolen him back." The knot loosened and she grasped his other wrist. "That's not much of an apology considering it won't happen."

"True, but it is still inappropriate. Even Amazons know better than to meddle with what Aphrodite has united. I will not."

"You've never seen love between a man and woman before?"

Diana's hand pulled on a lock of her black hair. "You both act like paired Amazons. No, I have never witnessed that from a man on Themyscira."

Selina shook her head. "I used to be a better poker player. Apology accepted for your inappropriate thoughts. You aren't the first and you won't be the last to have them about him."

"I'm standing right here," Bruce said.

"And how many years did you win Gotham's most eligible bachelor list?" She finished untying the rope and took back her apple.

Bruce knew better than to answer. Besides, it wasn't his fault he had been put on the list right after his birth announcement had been published. He turned to Diana. "What happens now? Do you turn us in to your mother?"

She looked bleak and her shoulders slumped. "The law is clear that I should."

"Damn it," Selina muttered as she stopped tidying the remnants of their meal. "We can't stay here; I finally own real estate and I want to enjoy it with him."

She picked up the coil of rope that glittered in the light. "She lied to me, insisted on copulating with you, for what purpose?" She dropped the rope on the table. "Hippolyta has always been a fair ruler and loving to me. I do not understand."

"And if we told her Selina and I just want to leave?" Diana snorted with derision. "Do you have another suggestion?" he asked.

"Kick her ass." Selina picked up the bullwhip. "She's not my queen and I'm still miffed about the setting you up for rape. Apparently more miffed than you."

"She is still my mother," Diana said.

"So we're left with escaping," Bruce replied. "We should go now."

Diana shook her head. "The waters are dangerous at night. You will crash again. Wait for sunrise."

"And you won't turn us in while we're sleeping?" Selina asked.

"Of course not!"

Selina shrugged at Diana's indignation before wiping her hands off on the chiton and unlatching the Tekko-Kagi from around her left forearm. She shifted the satchel on the floor and then lay down using it as a pillow. "Good night then."

Diana stared at Selina in bewilderment. Maybe she was insane. Bruce looked down at her too, but his expression had a fond exasperation. "She's right; we should rest while we can." He knelt down beside Selina. Diana sat down against the opposite wall and watched the pair.

He pulled Selina off her makeshift pillow and put his own head there, but then shifted her to lie on him and wrapped his arms around her. "You're already shivering."

"I'll pack a sleeping bag the next time I rescue you." She settled her hands on his shoulders and her cheek against his chest.

"We need to get our stuff." He dropped his voice to a whisper, intending for only Selina to hear.

Selina matched his whisper. "Stop planning. Getting knocked unconscious does not count as sleep. If you want pillow talk, how come you know Latin when European languages people actually speak were too much trouble?"

He stiffened at the question. "My father knew Latin."

Selina kissed his chest. "The money I put on the house in Florence that you were nice enough to not ask where it came from? It was my profit from your Lamborghini."

"You got fair market value for it then."

"Better because of the miles you didn't put on it. Poor thing deserved a better owner."

"That doesn't just apply to the things I used to have. People I knew deserved better too."

Selina's hand rubbed his chest. "You're protecting them. They'll understand."

"I couldn't lose Gordon." Bruce's voice filled with rage fueled by pain. "If I had thought of the implants sooner, we wouldn't have wasted so much time, wouldn't have lost Rachel and Harvey. After the Joker's capture, Gordon stood between Gotham and the remnants of the mob. I had to make him safe."

His anguish brought tears to Diana's eyes. This was too private a moment for her to witness. But moving now would illuminate that she was a witness.

Selina slid her body up his until they were nose-to-nose. "I think you've overlooked something. Would Rachel have let you implant a tracking device in her?"

"Are you kidding?" The anguish vanished. "She didn't even let me tag her car. Told me since she didn't know if I was alive or dead for seven years, I had no right to know her location. She would have slapped me if I had suggested it." He snorted. "Fox said no, Alfred said no, you said no; I'm not asking anymore."

Selina's mouth pressed down on his, which stopped him from talking, and for so long Diana worried that she cut off his air. "I'm not your damsel in distress," she said when she pulled back. "Now go to sleep." She tucked her head against his neck.

He remained silent and their breathing softened. Diana wondered how it was possible for them to sleep after that. She put the things they had talked about out of her mind-easily since she did not know what they were-and concentrated on their emotions. Passion and devotion, though they attempted to keep it hidden, burned between them. The only revelation that felt stable under her feet tonight was her decision not to insert herself between them.

But her Amazon sisters would demand Bruce be the prize for the Games, and kill Selina to stop her protest. What would Bruce do if that happened? Fear crawled up her back like a spider. No matter what, she was the Princess of Themyscira and responsible for the safety of her people. Helping them off the island so they could resume their quest kept everyone safe.

What did that leave for her? She turned her head and gazed at Zeus with his lightning bolt, the father she did not have. It was not the Amazon way to glorify the male contribution to the child, but it was not dismissed. The men had freedom to nurture their children. Something Diana had witnessed and thrust down the envy lest it consumed her.

Her gaze fell on the gifts. A lifetime of neglect bought with gold tools to fight as Athena's champion. And the reason Athena needed a champion presented on the same night. Too heavy a burden for too cheap a price, she thought regretfully.

Diana climbed to her feet. The pair of mortals-and her heart rebelled at the difference between her and the rest of the world-continued to sleep. She left the temple. The building abutted a steep hill, and she climbed it. Her head broke free of the trees at its summit, though it did not have the height to show her the entire island. The stars on the velvet black of the sky shone down on her. The glow on her skin matched.

The Moerae ensured that she was born. Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos forced this fate on her and she did not want it! She screamed wordlessly in fury and frustration at the sky. The glow on her skin exploded from her, streaking jaggedly into the cloudless sky. The rent air collided with a boom that flung her off the hill.

The ground stopped her falling body. She blinked up at the hole through the tree canopy before pulling herself out of the shallow crater she had made in front of the temple. Third time of feeling like an utter fool in one day: when she let Bruce escape, when she defended her mother, and now this.

The remains of her tattered and burnt chiton fell off her body. Diana swore with words her mother and tutors had insisted were not proper for a princess. She had to wear the armor now. She pulled a twig out of her hair. These gifts were an element of her flesh and blood, and she could not part them from herself.

Perhaps Selina's advice on the gifts was the only practical solution. If her anger called forth lightning from a clear sky, who knew what else she could do? What trouble could find her because she was a demigoddess? She pulled another scalp-scratching twig out of her hair.

So that was the answer. If Man's World needed Athena's champion, Bruce would know where to find her. She peeked into the temple. Bruce and Selina's breathing had quickened, but they turned away from the doorway, giving her much-appreciated privacy.

Selina blinked as she woke. Sleeping on Bruce was more comfortable when they were naked on a mattress. His belt had left an indent against her hip on top of the bruises from the Cessna's seatbelt. She eased off him, rubbed her face, and glared at the doorway that showed a pink glowing world.

She left him lying on the floor and went to Poseidon's fountain. She stripped off her shirt and dried her face with it before looking around the temple. She found Diana sitting on the floor and twisted to reach the last buckle for the red and blue armor she had put on. "Need help?"

"Yes, please." Diana slumped out of the contortion.

Selina smirked as she tugged the leather tight. "I hope you're not putting this on to fight us."

Diana pulled her black hair out of the way. The silver bracers were already on her arms. "No fighting. It is best if you two just leave. I will help you do that."

"That won't get you in trouble with your mother?" Bruce sat up with a stretch.

"What can she do to me? I cannot die."

Selina checked the rest of the buckles. "You're good." She patted Diana's back before she stood and moved to Bruce. "In one piece?"

"So far." He accepted her hand to leverage himself up. He turned to Diana. "How do we get off the island?"

Diana buckled the golden sword belt around her waist. "All we have that can reach the mainland are boats. Can either of you sail?"

Bruce nodded. "It's been a few years, but I know how."

She attached the gold rope so it hung coiled on her right hip. "I can show you a cove to hide in while I find your belongings." She slung the shield over her back. "I am ready."

Selina picked up some fruit and Bruce opened the bag for her to put it in along with her shirt. "What do you think of Egypt?"

"Sandy and hot." He slung the bag over his shoulder and checked the grapple gun holstered on his belt. "And we're not sailing there."

"What about for a vacation after we're finished with the League of Shadows?" They followed Diana outside. The yard looked like a meteor had fallen in it and left red linen scraps in the crater. Diana walked past it without a glance. So they weren't going to talk about the thunder and tremors that woke her and Bruce up last night.

Bruce shook his head before tilting it at Diana. Selina nodded, agreeing not to tease the Amazon. "You want to meet Isis?" he asked.

"You know me better than that."

They pushed their way onto the road again and fell silent. The crisp air goose-pimpled Selina's skin, wet from the dew. They continued to follow the road up a slight hill. Once they crested the top of it, they saw the road ended at a natural cove. A stone wall extended from the rocky coast to close it from the sea, leaving a wide gate. Two long stone buildings sat on the sandy beach and a wooden pier extended into the bright blue water next to them.

The sailboat tied to the pier reminded her of the Argo from the old Jason and the Argonauts movie, only smaller and without the oars. How could something that small leave sight of land? And what story could cover their arrival in a modern port in that? Selina shook her head as they headed down the hill. At least the harbor was deserted. Maybe it was too early for Amazons too.

The underbrush exploded when they reached the halfway point. Selina kicked and rammed her foot into a bronze breastplate. The soldier Amazon fell back. She didn't have time to count their opponents as the next one rushed at her. Selina's boot hit the soldier's helmet but the kick threw the soldier to the ground.

Diana yelled for them to stop, but it was countered by a command of "get the man!" and unsheathed swords.

Bruce ducked the first sword swung at him before grabbing the Amazon's arm. He tossed her onto her back and kicked the sword out of reach.

Selina ducked the punch aimed at her head and swept the woman off her feet. Her eyes locked with Diana's conflicted blue ones. "Get him out of here!"

Diana nodded, pushed an Amazon out of her way, hugged Bruce from behind, and then went up. The Amazon guards fell back in fear. Selina bolted into the trees. So Hermes hadn't spoken metaphorically about his gift. She grinned as she shoved her way past the branches.

Selina was born and raised and trained on the streets of Gotham City. Had she met this squad of Amazons there or any other city, they never would have found her, much less tackled her into the dirt. Before she spat the leaves out of her mouth, a sandaled foot kicked her stomach.

Hands seized her arms and pulled her up against a knee centered on her back. She recognized the woman sneering in her face as the leader of the group who took Bruce. "How dare you help the outsiders escape!"

Selina laughed in her righteously angry face. It reminded her a little of Bruce and how furious her capture would make him. Her sacrificial lamb gambit hit the field early and with the wrong opponents, but she was adaptable. "You bitches just unleashed a world of hurt on yourselves." Her head rocked back from the backhand blow.

"Take her to the Queen!"

Diana wanted to gape as she flew over the trees. But the man she carried thrashed and pounded on her arms. "Bruce, stop! We will fall!"

"Go back!" He snarled in a raspy voice that somehow fit better with his scarred body and the martial stance he tried to conceal. He rocked his body and grabbed at her head with his legs.

She reared back, but didn't release him. They fell and she curled herself around him as her back broke tree limbs again. He threw his weight to the side, she matched it, and they hit the ground in a roll. Her arms sprang open. He marched toward the harbor before she sat up. "Selina might find that endearing, but I do not."

His hazel eyes shone with fury. "She won't find anything endearing if they kill her."

"They will take her to my mother." Diana climbed to her feet. "She can blame me, Mother will-"

"Did you even listen to her last night? She wants to confront Hippolyta. What will they do if their queen is attacked?"

She felt the blood drain from her face. "She would not-"

"Selina has spent most of her life doing what she shouldn't. And God help you if you hurt someone under her protection."

"But you were not hurt!"

"But Hippolyta tried." His fist hit his thigh. "That's all the justification Selina needs."

Diana took a deep breath. "We can reach my mother's house before the squad as long as you stop attacking me."

"Fine," he rasped. He remained true to his word as she carried them over the trees.

The aroma of baking bread filled the air above the square of the waking town. Knots of dread solidified in Diana's stomach and left no room for bread as she set Bruce on his feet inside her house's empty courtyard.

He headed straight to a stack of strange boxes and bags piled under the porch next to the storage room. She had never seen the like, but he pulled one box free by its handle and opened it. "Your belongings?" she whispered. He nodded and pulled out a pair of black bracers with gloves attached.

Before he could pull out anything else, they heard a commotion in the square. She lifted the bags and Bruce shoved his box back in place. The commotion moved closer. She grabbed Bruce and lifted them up as the servants spilled out of the kitchen to meet the guards. They flattened themselves against the roof tiles and looked down.

Captain Aikaterine shoved Selina down on her knees. Next to Diana, Bruce tensed. He pulled on the gloves without moving the majority of his body. The bracers had three black blades of graduated sizes along his forearms. More doors opened beneath them. "Captain, report!" Hippolyta ordered.

"She helped the outsiders escape, my Queen. And she answers all questions with nonsense."

"How did the outsiders escape?" Hippolyta moved down the stairs from the second floor.

Aikaterine shifted her feet. "They flew away." Hippolyta stopped on the stairs. "I know what it sounds like, my Queen. But the armored warrior grabbed the male prisoner and they rose into the air without wings!"

"I see." Hippolyta resumed walking down the stairs. "And what is your story, prisoner?"

"I don't recognize your authority, and I have one hell of a report for Amnesty International," Selina answered. Bruce's exhale strangled in his throat.

Hippolyta strode across the paving stones until she stood in front of Selina. "I am your Queen, Amazon. What is your name?"

Selina tilted her head up. "My name is Selina Kyle and my current address is Florence, Italy."

"You speak our language perfectly." Hippolyta rested her hands on her hips.

You heard the grin in Selina's voice. "Magic!"

"And is your magic responsible for the disappearance of my daughter?"

"I never said it was my magic." Selina shrugged best she could with her hands restrained behind her back.

Hippolyta struck Selina across the face. Bruce jerked as the smaller woman hit the paving stones. "Where is my daughter?" she demanded.

"Don't like the sandal on that foot, do you?" The guards righted Selina and held onto her. "How many families screamed for their sons when you took them?"

"You have no right to question me, prisoner. My foremothers ruled Themyscira before Italy was civilized." Hippolyta's glared down at Selina. "If you expect a ransom-" Selina interrupted with a chuckle. "Where is my daughter?" Hippolyta hit Selina until only the guards kept her upright.

"Your backhand is soft. That's why you shouldn't delegate your dirty work."

"Tell me what you have done to my daughter!" Hippolyta grabbed Selina by the jaw and pulled her up.

Diana grabbed Bruce's arm to prevent him from moving. He forced his breath through his teeth. His gaze never left the scene below.

Selina coughed when Hippolyta dropped her in Aikaterine's arms. "I have no idea where your daughter is, bitch. Maybe she ran away to live with her father."

The worry on Hippolyta's pinched face slipped into pure fear as if Pan had blown his conch directly into her ear. "What do you know about Diana's father?" Selina did not speak. Hippolyta seized a sword from the closest guard. "No calculated nonsense now?"

"Didn't realize there was a custody dispute," Selina said.

Hippolyta moved faster than Diana had ever witnessed. The sword's edge slid across Selina's arm and left a red ribbon along her skin. Selina hissed like an outraged cat. "You bleed, mortal." Hippolyta set the sword against Selina's neck. Bruce's body beside Diana's nearly hummed with coiled tension. "Where is my daughter?"

Selina did not flinch. "I don't know."

The Queen of the Amazons stared into Selina's brown eyes. She handed the sword back to its guard. "Kill her and go find the outsiders and my daughter."

Aikaterine pushed Selina to the middle of the guards and drew her sword. Selina stood tall.

Bruce shook off Diana's hand as he pushed up. The device he pulled from his belt fired a rope like an arrow but with a noisy blast of air. He swung off the roof on the nearly-invisible rope. Aikaterine flung herself to the ground, the other guards jumped aside, and Selina grinned as she watched him. He seized her with one arm before his feet smashed through the house's wooden gate.

"Kill them both!" Hippolyta screamed and the guards scrambled after them. Diana crawled over the roof tiles to the edge that faced the square.

"Took you long enough," Selina said.

He cut the rope between her hands with the blades on his bracers. "You didn't have it under control?" he rasped. They grasped hands and spun each other around. They each kicked back the guards that had moved behind the other's back.

More guards poured out of the barracks with their spears. Her mother followed Aikaterine out of the splintered gate. "Kill them both! Now!"

The swords and spears swept Bruce and Selina across the square. Other guards made a corridor and protected the gawking civilians. Bruce caught one sword between the blades on his bracers and broke it when he pulled his arms apart. Selina unfurled the bullwhip and wrapped it around another guard's knees. The guards that moved in closer lost their swords or their spears and flew back before landing on the ground.

Selina's back pressed against a wall. Bruce stepped in front of her, shielding her. Not that he could stop the spears leveled at them. Diana stood on the roof. This was not how their journey was supposed to end, not with their love, not if Bruce was the mantle of the bat. She pulled the shield onto her left arm and leaped.

"For the last time, kill them!" Hippolyta screamed.

The guard in front of Bruce coiled her arm back. The spear hit Diana's shield as she landed between them and the wooden shaft cracked.

Diana lowered the shield enough so they saw her face. "You shall not kill them."

"Princess?" Some of the guards stepped back. Others raised their spears. "Princess Diana." They parted for Hippolyta.

Her mother's lips pressed together as her eyes roamed over Diana's armor. "You do not know what you are doing, Diana. That man behind you attacked your sisters like a rabid dog. Step aside so we may do what must be done."

"And let you destroy the proof that Man's World can be saved? I cannot, Mother. Our foremothers founded Themyscira because they gave up hope that Man's World would know love and peace." Diana felt Bruce tense behind her. "The one you call a rabid dog fought for love. Not unlike we Amazons do."

The crowd around them murmured, but Hippolyta smiled condescendingly. "He fought to protect his property. He lied to you if he told you differently."

"Somebody get another set of those hand claws and let me at her," Selina muttered.

"He could no more lie about his love than he could lie about being a warrior." Diana glanced at her sister Amazons' skeptical faces. Her words alone were not convincing them. "With the Lariat of Hestia and the Fires of Truth, he cannot lie to anyone." She held up the gold rope and looped it around Bruce with a flick of her wrist. She shifted her stance to watch him and her mother. The rope glowed as she tightened the noose around his arms and chest.

His stoic expression cracked and he bowed his head. Pain and anger vibrated down the rope between them, but no deception. "Bruce, what do you feel for Selina?"

His face twisted between a smile and a grimace. "I love her and it doesn't hurt." His voice dropped the growl, but the pain was still there.

Diana winced as his lips pressed tightly together. She closed her eyes and saw the same expression as he stood on a field of blackness. They will not understand that, Bruce. I am sorry, but I must ask for more.

The inner Bruce appeared unappeased. I am not Amazonian entertainment.

You are a man who follows the Amazon way without ever learning it. My sisters must hear that from your lips. She asked aloud. "Why do you love her?"

"She walks the night with me and it doesn't frighten her." Diana saw a flash of a grieving man with white hair of age but beardless. Another flash of a different brown-haired woman with bright blue eyes filled with anger and fear as Bruce rendered a blond man between them unconscious. "It doesn't break her," Bruce added. The blond man laid at Bruce's feet but half his face was a layer of bloody muscle and ash.

She inhaled as Bruce's memories faded. She opened her eyes. Sadness kept his head down. She closed her eyes and recoiled from the snarling inner Bruce. Can't handle the pain, Princess? Selina is tougher than you are for all your super powers.

She didn't respond to him mentally. "Why Selina above all other women?"

"Underneath, she is more, just like me." Selina, bundled against the snow, twisted the arm of a man about to beat a child. She caught a red apple flying through the air before a second man lunged at her with a knife. She redirected the knife into the attacker's backside. "How could I not love her when she loves me?"

The flash of Selina in black garb astride a wheeled mechanical steed sending fire at a mouth-less Titan almost shocked the next question from Diana. "Why did you attack the Amazons?"

Now the growl returned. "I will not lose anyone else I love!" Diana saw two crumpled bodies on a street and a small boy sobbing as he knelt between them. Another figure blocked this image: black as night, pointed ears extending from the smooth head, giant bat wings outstretched, but Bruce's eyes shone out of that blackness.

A hand squeezed Diana's arm and shook it. Diana blinked down at Selina's angry eyes. "Let him go. You've heard enough."

Diana looked at her Amazon sisters. Most stared at Bruce. She loosened the noose and lifted the lariat off him. He shook his head before realizing Selina stood in front of him. He pulled her closer to him and behind Diana, and then he scanned the guards for signs of attack. Selina let him protect her and concern replaced her anger. One of the older guards recognized his behavior and snorted. Diana turned to her mother.

Hippolyta straightened her spine. "Men do not fight on Themyscira. You would dismiss this law? You cannot battle all your sisters, Diana."

"You sentenced his wife to death. Every Amazon fights to protect love. You would demand his death for following our ideals?" She shifted to shield Bruce and Selina. "I do not want to battle my sisters, but we both know I will beat them all, Mother."

Hippolyta gave her another searching look. "Did these outsiders bring you that armor?"

"No, it was my brother."

Her mother winced before her training composed her face. "Very well. You have argued your case and won. The outsiders will not be put to death, but they shall leave Themyscira tomorrow morning."

"Gladly," Bruce and Selina said in unison. The guards sheathed their swords and raised their spears. Diana lowered her shield.

"Now, the matter of your disobeying a direct order from your Queen." Diana knelt. Hippolyta continued. "Perhaps Man's World has progressed in the centuries we have lived apart. We shall send you as an emissary, Diana, to teach them the Amazon way. You may return to Themyscira once Man's World has peace. Do you accept this charge from your Queen, Princess Diana?"

"I accept the charge, my Queen."

"You shall leave tomorrow morning as well." Hippolyta sighed. "What else the Moerae have in store for the daughter of your father, I have no knowledge of."

"I understand, my Queen." Diana stood, even though it did not answer why Hippolyta had lied.

"Come, the outsiders shall have Amazon hospitality." Hippolyta led the way across the square. Diana nodded to Bruce and Selina and they followed her.

They gave Selina and Bruce a long room next to Diana's. She set her duffle bag down while he bolted the door. The wide bed looked comfortable, and a table with a pair of benches finished off the furniture. She pulled off her hiking boots. No balconies, just a couple of windows set high in the outer wall.

She heard the gauntlets hit the duffle bag Bruce had dropped by the door. Before she turned, his bare arms wrapped around her and tipped her back. His mouth slammed down on hers.

He trembled around her. She twisted to push her breasts against his chest. His hands shifted to her hips before he nudged them further into the room.

She curled her arms around his shoulders, holding on as he set her on the table. He stepped between her thighs and let her pull back for air. His strong hands cradled her face. But his body continued to tremble and she saw in his hazel eyes that it wasn't because of crashing adrenaline. It hurt worse than all the blows she had taken to see him in pain. No matter how necessary it was.

His fingers skimmed over the sore spot on her cheekbone. "Selina," he whispered.

Luckily, she knew how to be the distraction he needed. She ran her bare foot up his jean-clad thigh. "How badly do you want me out of this toga?"

"It's a chiton; Romans wore togas."

"That didn't answer my question. How badly do you want me out of this chiton?"

The haunted look eased as his hands dropped to her thighs and pushed up the blue linen. "I wanted you out of it the second I saw you in it."

She ran her hands down his scarred arms. She untied the bullwhip and the belt around her waist and let them fall onto the table. "Looks like we're finally alone."

His grip tightened and he pulled her across the table until their groins were only separated by clothing. The Batbelt scratched her leg. She spread her knees wider to see the damage while Bruce removed it and dropped it on top of the whip. "Sorry." His hand brushed over the red mark on her inner thigh.

"Not as sorry as you'll be if you stop now." He looked at her face and she kissed him quickly on the lips. She unfastened the pin on her right shoulder.

His hand caressed her inner thigh. "You missed our alone time too?"

She hummed as she ran her hands across his pecs and down his abs. "You shirtless is a look I could get used to."

"Don't think I like it." He tilted her head back with his hand not drawing circles on her thigh. "Scars take too much explaining." He said before kissing down her neck. Shivers rippled out from where his stubble scratched her skin.

"Not shirtless in public again, no. People don't keep their hands to themselves."

Bruce chuckled and scraped his teeth against her shoulder. "And you are the worse offender."

"But you like my hands on you." She stroked those hands up his neck and into his hair. It was getting long enough to cut the black dye out. If he could laugh, maybe tonight wouldn't be a fight with nightmares.

"That is true," he admitted. His finger traced the lace of her panties. "And public indecency as the first charge on our shiny new records is sad."

She laughed despite the heat coiling in her belly. "You know mine; should I ask about yours?"

"Let's just say I wasn't kicked out of Princeton because of my grades." Her laughter turned into a moan when his fingers went under her panties. He kissed her, tongue and fingers mimicking each other. The hand on her head trailed down her body, brushed over the fabric-covered nipple, and joined his other hand at her hips. The elastic in his grip snapped apart.

She tugged his hair as she pulled back. "I have a limited number of those."

"I'll buy you more." His fingers teased her and she threw back her head. She undid the second shoulder pin even though his lips latched onto her exposed neck. She rested her weight on her hands.

She intended to hold out until he was inside her, but he knew her body too well. Fireworks exploded and left her gasping. He caught her when her arms gave out. She had enough energy to wrap them around his neck. "Pants off."

His eyes jerked up from her chest to her face. "Selina." His fingers hovered over her bruise from the Cessna's seatbelt. "I can't hurt-"

She held his head so he couldn't look away. "The airplane did that." She locked her legs around his hips. "Now pants off before I kick your ass." His tremors vibrated against her but he freed himself from his jeans without argument. He hissed as he slid into her and she pulled him closer. She trailed kisses up to his ear. "Let go, Bruce. I'm here." His arms wrapped tighter around her back.

Selina dug her nails into his shoulders and urged him to go harder and faster until she lost words and cried out. His mouth fell on hers and swallowed her cries. Then she swallowed his.

They leaned against each other to catch their breath. His hand brushed up her arm until it reached the cut from the sword and he flinched. The look from earlier was back in his eyes as he stepped back. "Have to rethink the League attack. Too dangerous for you." He inhaled deeply. "I have to change the plan."

"Whoa, Bruce, whoa." She sat up. He already had his jaw locked at its stubborn angle. "I'm exercising my veto powers."

"There aren't any veto powers in a relationship."

"You are not changing any plans already set in motion when you haven't had enough sleep or food in the past twenty-four hours. After some sleep, you'll see I'm right." She patted his cheek before she hopped off the table and stepped out of the chiton and tattered remains of her panties. "Now, I've got two things I want to talk to you about, but we can debate in bed."

She took two steps toward the bed before his hands on her shoulders jerked her around. "The League will want to kill you."

"I haven't forgotten the plan."

His grip tightened, but she didn't react to his fingers digging into the bruise. "I can't lose you."

"And you won't lose me to those fanatical terrorists because your plan is brilliant, especially the part where you're going to come back from the dead on their asses." She stroked his cheek. "Come to bed, talk a little, sleep, have some more sex. We've got the boat ride to talk about the League of Shadows." She knocked his arms apart and his hands off her shoulders. She crawled onto the mattress, pulled back the blankets, and waited.

Bruce seethed as he sat on the edge and took his boots off. The anger clung to him as he stripped off his jeans and flung himself onto the bed.

She ignored his glare, pulled the blankets over him, and nestled against his side. She tucked her head on his shoulder. "I changed my mind. You can implant the tracking device in me. But I do have a condition."

That startled the glare from him. "What's the condition?"

"That you get one too and show me how the equipment works."

He rolled and faced her. "I can agree to that. Will you tell me what changed your mind?"

"You need a reassurance I'm not going anywhere. I need it too."

"Most people get that from a pair of rings and a ceremony."

"I won't put you through that."

"You think I can't commit-" He rose up on his elbow.

She hugged him. "I know what you're capable of. But getting through wedding vows without a meltdown isn't on the list." His flinch wiped away his indignation. She pressed tighter against him. "I know how you feel, I've known since you gave me the pearls. I wouldn't put you through that."

He buried his face in her hair. "Alfred would be disappointed in me not making an honest woman out of you."

"How the hell can I steal anything when you can see exactly where I've been?"

He laughed, rolled onto his back, and pulled her on top. "Valid point. Are you really okay with not having a wedding?"

She kissed him slowly. "Making our own normal. I'm not a traditional girl."

He rubbed her back. "What was the second thing?"

"We should keep Diana."

"She's not a stray cat you can adopt."

She propped up to look down at his face. "I thought this hero business meant looking out for people, but call it what you want. Don't worry; you'll always be my favorite stray." She traced loops on his chest.

"You cannot consider me a stray."

"Alone, homeless, starving, and in need of medical attention; what part of stray doesn't fit?"

He shook his head. "I thought you didn't like her."

"What gave you that idea?"

"When you put her in a strangle hold and said 'touch him again and I'll claw your eyes out.' Somehow I didn't imagine you two bonding after that."

"I'm not holding a misunderstanding against her, especially after she got exiled for helping us." His hand caught hers on his chest. "Plus she's not ready for anything off this island."

"That's obvious." His hazel eyes studied her, but she wasn't sure what reaction he searched for.

"And she needs to test her demigod abilities, right? The League makes a great collection of practice dummies." He smiled, one that didn't reach his eyes. "You've already considered it."

Her aggrieved tone cracked his reserve and the skin around his eyes crinkled as his smile widened. "Back at the temple when Hermes rattled off everything she can do, I imagined her putting one through a wall." He caressed her face. "We can offer. She may not take it."

"And you won't persuade her to change her mind? I'll believe that when I see it."

He rolled them over. "Such faith in my powers of persuasion." His hands slid under her back as he kissed her.

"But you can't persuade her like you do me."

The noise from the outsiders' room startled Hippolyta and she stopped on the third floor porch to stare at the door. She could admit her error in judgment; not just any woman would do for this outsider man, even if the other woman was her daughter. The servants scattered with a gesture from her. The outsiders had earned privacy after what they had been through. She knocked on Diana's door and entered after permission was granted. Her daughter had changed out of the armor, bathed, and now ran a comb through her wet black hair. She still wore the silver bracers on her arms with a red chiton. A storm brewed in her blue eyes. "I know you are angry with me, but I must ask. Your brother is not disguised as the outsider, is he?" Hippolyta waved a hand at the armor sitting on the table.

"They are both mortals. Hermes did not come in disguise," Diana answered. "You promised to prepare me for this revelation. Instead, you lied to me. I stumbled onto the truth while chasing Bruce and Selina, and shocked Hermes when he learned that I knew nothing!"

Hippolyta sighed as she sat on the bench and set her cloth-wrapped package next to her. "It was so easy to promise that before I had you, held you in my arms, fed you at my breast. I do not know what awaits you." Tears gathered in her brown eyes. "Not all of Zeus' children survived their tribulations. And you did not ask for this destiny, so I never told you while I sought a way to relieve you of the burden."

"Mother, you sought to go against the Moerae." Diana's eyes widened. "How fortunate are we that you did not succeed?"

"I am losing you, Diana. Forgive me for not feeling blessed that you will ensure that the world continues on its path." Her eyes burned but she refused to let the tears fall. "I thought the male outsider-"

"Bruce," Diana corrected.

"Bruce was the answer I had been seeking. If you had a child-"

"The Moerae would pass my destiny to her?"

"Or a piece of you would stay here." Hippolyta swallowed against the pain in her throat. "I never intended to hurt you. I hope in time you will believe me."

Diana's stormy eyes brimmed with tears. "I believe you, Mother. But it was still wrong."

Hippolyta nodded. "Yes, and I hope in time you can forgive me."

Her daughter's arms enveloped her neck. The dam in her brown eyes broke as she returned the hug. "Of course I forgive you, Mother."

"Thank you, Diana." She released her. "Now I have an addition to your armory." She handed Diana the cloth-wrapped oval. With a puzzled frown, Diana unwound the white linen and revealed a gold tiara decorated with a ruby star in the center. Hippolyta stood and kissed her stunned daughter on her forehead, right where the star would sit. "In Man's World, you will be Athena's champion, but you are always Princess of Themyscira. Never forget that."

Not having to pretend to be archeologists testing a replica relieved Bruce. One of the stone boat sheds built in their harbor contained a Dana 24 pocket cruiser with a Bermuda rig. The Amazons who fished used a lateen sail and dry docked the modern boat rather than learn anything new. They stared from the beach as he moved the sailboat to the dock. He worked quicker without eager but useless help who wouldn't listen to his instructions, but at the same time, it irritated his lifelong hatred of being the center of attention. "All they need are cameras."

Selina heard his mutter as she dropped the duffle bag on the dock. "You know, they'll probably tell stories about you for generations-the one who got away."

He checked the knot on the cleat before standing. "Thanks, I hadn't thought about that."

"Before your ego inflates, I haven't decided if it's a good thing. Chaos in the system doesn't fix anything." Her somber brown eyes focused on something colder than this warm island. She answered any questions he had about the Occupation of Gotham, but she never volunteered any stories. He didn't know how to ask for what she went through, what made her downright gleeful to help him take down the League of Shadows.

"I don't think their Queen will let it get out of hand." He set the Batsuit suitcase in the boat before jumping in himself.

Selina stared at the boat. "Are you sure it's big enough to get us to the mainland?"

"It's a bluewater cruiser." He moved the suitcase inside the cabin doors, turned back, and caught the clothes duffle Selina threw at his head.

"The only boat travel I have done is the Gotham River ferry. Now's not the time to show off the advantages of your upbringing." She crossed her arms.

"It can cross the ocean, so we'll be fine." Stowing the bag in the cabin gave him a chance to hide his smile. She wasn't thinking about Gotham now. She tossed the next duffle at his chest.

He had finished stowing the luggage in the cabin lockers by the time Diana joined Selina. "We said our farewells in private, Selina."

Bruce followed Selina's gaze down the dock. Queen Hippolyta stood on the beach and the crowd had grown. "Did everyone come to watch you leave?"

"Nearly." Diana hefted her sack and stepped into the boat. "Despite the many years we have kept this ship, I have never seen inside it." She continued into the cabin.

He held his hand out to Selina. "Come on. Or did your mother have advice about strange men and boats?"

"Getting drunk prevents seasickness." The hand that clasped his was rigid, unlike when she never touched him to hop into the Bat.

He tugged and her eyes widened as her balance shifted. He caught her around the waist and she sank her nails into his biceps. "You're not afraid of water, are you? Cats and water is so cliché."

"Shipwrecks," Selina said. "Titanic made an impression."

"No icebergs in the Mediterranean." He set her on the cushioned bench behind him. "And we only have water on board."

"I'm getting blitzed when we land, dock, whatever. And you can't stop me."

"Okay. Can you let go before you draw blood?" She opened her fingers with a crooked smile. He released her waist and caught her face. "It'll be fine." He kissed her.

Diana climbed out of the cabin. "I shall cast off." She untied the ropes while he set the sails to fill with the wind. Her push off made Selina sink her claws into the cushion. Diana flew to the sailboat and sat at the rudder. "Are you well?"

"Nope. Are you?"

She guided the boat to the mole's gateway. "Everything is a reminder." She waved at Selina's jeans and T-shirt and then gestured at the red chiton she wore. "You hid among us so easily. I do not have that ability."

Bruce returned to the cockpit and sat next to Selina. "We can help you with that. And give you an identity free from being Athena's champion."

"I do not understand."

Selina's elbow found his ribs. "You missed your calling to be a master forger by this much." She released the cushion to pinch an inch of air. "You just can't resist secret identities."

"Athena's champion goes straight to becoming a symbol greater than flesh and blood."

She rolled her eyes as her elbow hit him again. "Save Cape Theory 101 until after she signs up for it." She leaned forward to look around him at Diana. "What Bruce is trying to say is you can stick with us and we'll teach you about the rest of the world, so you won't end up imprisoned or worse. We owe you that much." Diana's forehead furrowed, so Selina continued. "Your mother exiled you because you sided with us."

Diana's forehead relaxed. "Do not blame yourselves. True, Mother had to punish my defiance, but she also must protect Themyscira. My remaining there endangers them."

"Handy excuse," Selina muttered.

"We want to help you, Diana," Bruce said. "A lot has changed since Themyscira was founded."

"But you are on a quest?"

"Quest? Is that what we're calling it now?"

He sighed at Selina's smirk. "I didn't have time to go into the whole story."

"Dark Knight."

He sighed again. "Do you have to keep calling me that?"

"You always bring it up." Selina's brown eyes danced before she turned to Diana. "If you joined us, we could do both."

Diana glanced over her shoulder at the shrinking island. "I would like that."

"I'd count that as a deal, but he's the stickler for full disclosure. So give her the whole story."

He hoped they didn't confuse Diana. "Selina and I are from the United States of America."

"We know about the United States. We saved soldiers in the war that involved all of Europe and found out about it then."

He nodded. "I was born in Gotham City as Bruce Wayne. When I was eight-years-old, my parents were killed by a robber, right in front of me."

The End