AN: It's my birthday so I am forgiven in advance if I have a little change of heart . Medical results have been great so far so I am trying to write again. Please be reminded though that you have to read Tell Me Again In Two Days. This is another version, a different Chapter Twenty.
A New Beginning
She adjusted her fake pair of eyeglasses as she surveyed her surroundings before taking a sip of morning coffee from a paper cup. She grimaced at the taste. It smelled like coffee, but the taste was awfully off.
She could hear the ragged breathing, the pulsating heartbeat of the joggers, what music they were listening to, even the gentle tapping of the rubber soles of their shoes on the concrete pavement as they jogged along the park. Some children were laughing with glee while playing with their parents, one was frantically crying because she could not have cotton candy this early in the morning. A couple a few tables away from where she sat were cuddling, but she could sense nervousness in the young man as he kept fidgeting with a small box that was carefully tucked away in the right pocket of his jeans.
The incessant click of shutters brought her attention to the left side of the park where a small group of photographers huddled, while a group of young students were busy typing away on the keyboards of the laptops, doing their assignments.
She sighed. Her senses were never this keen. And lately, she noticed that she was stronger than ever before. She was not like this more than six months ago, before…she closed her eyes.
She shivered as she remembered the day, it was more than half a year but it still affected her though not as pronounced than before. But she shook the sad sentiment and was thankful that she was given another chance.
Looking across from her, she remembered many months ago how surprised she was when Bruce suddenly appeared, apparently inviting himself to her breakfast, carrying a McDonalds takeout with him. She had to hide her partial amusement at his ill-fitting ensemble of a coat and a tie amidst the casually attired, though thankfully, oblivious people.
It was the last time she had conversed that long with him. Though he took advantage of the opportunity since the environment was not as formal to be construed as official, Bruce was more interrogative that morning than casual. She knew his purpose was to take down notes for investigation, or to aptly put it, de-briefing, rather than making small talk. She understood only too well that her friend…it was such a strange sentiment to refer to Bruce as her friend, as if there was something a little off with that…he was only concerned for her well-being, and the safety of the league and the people. After all, she had just summoned the bird of fire and…awoken from death for over a week by then. Who ever knew what danger she still posed?
She knew only too well that he and Kal, and maybe J'onn, were all responsible for her being delegated to the watchtower more than necessary. She did not mind, after all, there seemed to be a decrease in people, or beings, bent on world domination lately.
Then she remembered Kal…
When she came back, it was as if, he too was distancing himself from her. He would always ask how she was, in passing. But he never really talked to her.
Until three weeks ago…
It was her day off but since she missed patrolling, she donned her uniform and sat near the flames of Liberty. There were no more tourists around since it was late. She had the place all to herself.
There were several minor emergencies that night, none were life threatening. She was listening, waiting for another call when a thought and a feeling occurred to her.
There she was, atop the effigy…so very removed from the people below. So very different from the rest of the mortals. So very alone…
The feeling of cold death was pricking her skin, she remembered only too well what it was like.
Now, she was alive. But it seemed oddly that…there was a part of her that was missing. And that made her feel more isolated than before.
She composed herself when she felt him approach, he was a familiar sound flying through the air. With his red cape flapping with the wind, he slowly descended, with a little hesitation as if waiting for her approval.
"It's a beautiful night," she whispered.
He took it as a sign. He stood a few feet away.
"Yes." He looked down for a while before turning to her. "How are-"
"You've been asking that for…many times now," she sounded a little irritated. "I'm okay…I'm fine. I'm great!"
She faced him. "I just need to be back there, Kal. You…Bruce…you both should stop treating me as if I'm going to die again."
At the dreaded word she felt him tense, a nerve on the side of his face twitched while his heart beat raced for a few seconds before falling back into its normal pace. He took a deep breath before taking a few steps towards her. His strong hands went to her sides to make her fully face him.
He was so close that she could see the bright blue specks that glimmered in his eyes.
"I just cannot lose you again."
She understood his feelings, they had been very good friends for a very long time, they had shared the best and the worst, through life and death. And life once more…
She lifted a hand to touch the side of his face.
"I promise you…you are not going to."
He touched the hand that was on his cheek, holding her hand into place and she was surprised as he turned his face to softly plant a kiss on her open palm.
Her heart was starting to beat erratically. But she did not and could not bring herself to pull her hand away. And she did not move either as he leaned towards her. All she did was look into the depths of his mesmerizing blue eyes as he moved closer and closer.
But he was her old friend…and this would change everything.
"Kal…" It was a benign attempt at a plea for him to stop. He did not.
She closed her eyes and then his lips met hers. And what she thought would be wrong, suddenly felt right. What started out as a gentle kiss quickly turned unto something more, as she opened to him, as he explored and shook her very core.
With ragged breaths mingling, his arms went around her, his hands on her back, holding her close, as her own lay flat on his chest, feeling his pounding heartbeat under her palm.
Years of shrouded emotions were now laid bare in this honest moment, a moment that would alter what she once believed was true.
When he finally let go to look at her face with passion still in his eyes, a fleeting moment of a tinge of guilt, for reasons unknown, made her suddenly pull away.
"Diana…" he called out as she flew away.
Ironically, she wanted to be alone. And was thankful that he let her be.
And he did leave her alone, she thought with a little puzzled, as she took another sip of her coffee. Now he was somewhere out of earshot, safely out of reach on a mission that she sometimes thought he took to get away from her.
First, he kisses me. The next morning, he acts as if nothing has changed…except for the fact that he is as aloof as Bruce could get. Then after a few days, he takes off…
Good thing she could always depend on J'onn. And that reminded her that she was on monitor duty in the afternoon. With that, she finished her coffee.
The moment she stood up, he knew she was heading for the watchtower. He turned off the monitor when her vision was suddenly out of reach of one of his devices.
As he put on his uniform, he dismissed the pang of guilt. Guilt had no place in his mission, more so when the safety of the many were at stake, more so when the results of the initial tests they performed three months into her return were starting to support his theory that there was something more to her being alive. There just had to be a purpose why the gods decided to bring her back other than a reward for her loyal services, or to answer their plea.
He was sure there was something amiss. Like he was sure that he was not jealous at all when the moment happened.
"Batman to watchtower…"
In a few seconds, the flickering lights disappeared, rendering the cave as dark as before. A figure moved in the background, as Alfred moved in to retrieve the empty coffee cup. His old face registered a smile full of regret as his gaze fell upon a small image of a very beautiful woman on the console.
He once thought she was the one to change his charge, the one to change their lives for the better. He believed she did too, but Bruce just would not let himself be happy.
And he feared that the worst was yet to come.