Superman/Wonder Woman: Power Couple
Story 2: Merry Christmas
"Merry Christmas" covers parts of the first three issues. Written from Diana's POV, it explores my interpretation of her thoughts and opinions surrounding some of the major plot points of issues 1-3.
Diana lay in bed, eyes opened instead of closed, mind racing instead of relaxed into a deep slumber befitting the tiring day she'd had. Beginning her day in one time zone, Diana had traversed three others in less than twenty-four hours, not including her visit to Mt. Etna to see her brother Hephaestus. She inwardly groaned as she reflected upon the strange and unpredictable turn her day had taken. Which seems to be my fate as of late.
And Diana was coming to despise the Fates. Three sisters who had a penchant for toying with the lives of both gods and humans, entangling them in their confusing, if not wicked, spider's web. Today had been one of their finest snares because it had come in the form of a much-anticipated date with Clark only to end in a secret revealed. And all that had happened between had proven this day to be more ill-fated than memorable.
But, of course, Diana would remember this wretched day for many more days to come, which explained why she hadn't yet managed to rid her mind of today's events and fall into a contented sleep. Closing her eyes, Diana focused her breathing and began the familiar steps necessary to put herself into a meditative state. But the mind wasn't to be tamed so easily, so it betrayed Diana's desire to push all of the ugliness of today to the back of her mind, wrapping it in a box with a label that read: Do Not Open Until the New Year. Instead, it traveled on currents of familial dissonance to Mt. Etna.
In the months since Diana had discovered the truth of her birth, a secret deeply held but involuntarily revealed, her life had turned completely upside-down. She went from believing herself created from clay, Hippolyta's love, and the god's blessings to learning she was born of adultery, betrayal, and lust. Perhaps Hippolyta had loved Zeus when she'd lain with Hera's husband, but the King of the Olympians had only ever loved himself, sating his appetite with human flesh, as he'd done since time immemorial. And Diana, like so many others, had been the result.
No longer clay, no longer a secret, no longer an oddity among her sisters, but still an outsider, in many ways an outcast. For the entirety of her life, Diana had wanted to be like the other Amazons, like her mother. Funny, Diana used to wonder if the gods had given her the face, eyes, and body structure of Hippolyta but different color hair as a cruel, insider's joke that Diana was not truly Hippolyta's daughter or if it were a reminder to the Amazon Queen of the magnanimity of the gods.
For Diana, her resemblance to Hippolyta had never been enough for her sisters to forget that she was not born of man and woman, as they were, but from mud and rain, an unnatural creation story some of her sisters made sure she never forgot. And wasn't that the biggest lie of them all? Her life. Her. A secret for the ages.
Oh how Diana detested secrets, even when she understood the necessity of sometimes keeping them. She should have explained to Clark why she was so opposed to keeping their relationship a secret, because he clearly didn't understand. How could he? His life revolved around him maintaining two separate lives – one as Clark Kent and the other as Superman. But for Diana, who had been her mother's deepest, darkest secret for twenty-three years, the thought of being the secret of someone else she loved tore at a heart scabbed over, still raw in certain places.
So when Apollo and Strife had unceremoniously arrived in Hephaestus' humble lair of fire and steel, Diana was surprised by their presence, but no more so than by their easy acceptance of her as yet another daughter of Zeus – their sister. Odd, for she'd spent a lifetime surrounded by sisters who never quite viewed her as one of them but who she loved. Yet pompous, power hungry gods easily acknowledged her as a sister but they would sooner kill Diana than utter a kind or sincere word to her.
And, because her family was one no one would voluntarily join, they were on their worst possible behavior today. Not that Diana expected anything less of Apollo and Strife, but Apollo's attack against Superman stunned even Diana. So when the sun god had so foolishly pumped Superman full of the one element that gave him near god status, Apollo had embarrassingly reaped what he'd sowed – manhandled by someone he thought his inferior, thrown from Mt. Etna, and, presumably, back to Mt. Olympus.
"Before you say anything, I know you could have handled that yourself."
Yes, and she intended to do just that when her anger had her flying at Apollo after he'd slapped Clark into Hephaestus' forge, a casually executed attack that would've killed most people – human or meta.
"True, but I enjoyed watching you all the same." A petty emotion to be sure, but one Diana reveled in all the same. And, no, she wasn't so much of an Amazon that she couldn't appreciate or understand how a man like Clark Kent would not only be offended on Diana's behalf but why Superman would feel a need to defend himself against a god capable of so much more than sending him flying into a heated death trap.
"Thank you again for your offer of help," Clark said, turning to face Hephaestus.
"Hpmh," was Hephaestus' only reply.
Diana glanced at her brother and ignored the awestruck Strife who stared at Superman, mumbling, "God," her eyes wide with womanly admiration. Yet it was Hephaestus who most concerned Diana. There was certainly no love lost between Hephaestus and Apollo, but they were brothers and Apollo the King of Olympus. Would he now decide to not make the armor for Clark?
"We're going to need all the help we can get," Clark added, a sure understatement if she'd ever heard one.
Doomsday had nearly been the doom of Diana.
"Go away," Diana said to Strife who had sidled up to Clark and was now squeezing his biceps through his uniform, Clark's eyes beseeching Diana to do something about her sister.
Strife turned annoyed eyes Diana's way. "You're no fun, baby sister." She dropped her hands from Clark. "But, of course, you never are. The least you could do is share. I promise not to hog him."
Share? Diana thought not, and from the horrified look on Clark's face he'd taken exception to Strife's ill-conceived idea of sisterly bonding. Then again, the sexual games gods played were legendary. Diana mentally shrugged. She wouldn't be adding to those legends.
"Go away," Diana repeated, her tone brooking no argument. "You've came, you've gawked, and you've caused your normal mischief."
As if Diana had paid Strife a high compliment, the woman beamed at Clark then at Diana. She lifted into the air, waving her fingers playfully in Clark's direction before turning her gaze to Diana. "I never thought the day would come when I'd be jealous of an Amazon Halfling. Perhaps I should contact Hell, for surely his domain has frozen over." And, with that, Strife made her exit, a cackle following her retreat.
"So, umm, that was an interesting meeting the family moment. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I guess it could've gone worse."
Diana appreciated Clark's attempt at levity. One brother had tried to kill him, after insulting Clark, and a sister had offered herself to him, the only thing worse would've been if Moon had joined her brother, psycho twins at their most villainous.
Clark stepped closer to Diana, his eyes going stormy when he asked, "Does that brother of yours normally speak to you in that way?"
Actually, Apollo didn't, which was why Diana couldn't quite wrap her mind around why he'd even bothered presenting himself to Clark to only insult them. That had seemed petty, even for Apollo, who typically prided himself on being above everyone else, intellectually and physically.
"No he doesn't," Hephaestus answered before Diana had an opportunity to do so. "And that little show of godhood had very little to do with our Princess Diana than with you, Superman."
Well, at least Hephaestus hadn't called Clark an "alien" as Apollo had done. But nor did he seem particularly pleased with Clark either.
"What do you mean?"
Through his thick-rimmed goggles, Hephaestus took Clark's measure. He shook his head and turned to Diana. "Superman is your consort, of course Apollo would be interested. He's interested in testing anyone he believes could be a formidable ally for an Amazon capable of claiming his coveted crown of thorns."
Besides the fact that Diana had no desire to rule Olympus, for a second, she was shocked into silence. Consort? Had he just said . . .?
She vigorously began shaking her head. "Superman is not my consort."
Those goggles settled on her then shifted to Clark, a glower aimed at the Man of Steel. "Then what are you to Diana then? If I'm not mistaken, and, with the goddess of love as my wife, I am not, the two of you are lovers and have a bond of the heart. Not that such is required for the gods of Olympus. We mate for many reasons but Amazons do not."
Diana eyed the molten forge with longing, wondering if she jumped in if the pain would be any less than what she was experiencing now.
Clark gaped at Hephaestus, and then began a strange babbling that was not at all her cool, collected Superman.
She grabbed Hephaestus' mammoth arm and pulled him to face her.
"If that's what you and Apollo think, then you both are wrong. Not that it's any of your business, anyway."
"Your mother isn't here, Diana. I'm only doing what she would do if she were."
And a dip in the forge just kept looking better and better. She tried not to become angry, her brother, the only one besides Lennox Diana felt she could trust, had her best interest at heart, despite his methods.
"We'll talk about that later, Hephaestus, right now Superman and I need to go."
"Umm, well, why don't you have that talk now," Clark said, surprising Diana.
She had no intention of speaking about her mother with Hephaestus now or later, if she could help it. But why was Clark suddenly so eager to be on his way without her? And was his hand trembling? Surely not, Superman never trembled.
"Yes, I think that's a good idea," her brother all too quickly agreed.
"What about Doomsday and the Phantom Zone?"
"I'll contact the Watchtower. I believe Batman is on duty. I'll bring him up to speed and see what he thinks. Maybe there is some way to track the breach so that we'll know the next time Doomsday or something else crosses into our dimension. It doesn't take two of us to do that."
It was a logical plan, so why did Diana sense there was more going on with Clark? Or perhaps she was simply being hypersensitive after what had happened with Apollo and Strife.
"Call you later?" He lifted into the air. Hovering a few feet above her, Clark looked as if he was torn between going and staying. "Are you planning on returning to London from here?"
"More than likely." But she wouldn't remain in the house. She was wound too tightly for that. Besides, she had yet to figure out what to buy Clark for Christmas. The holiday was less than two weeks away. And the thought of purchasing the perfect gift for him should not have her stomach in knots, but that was exactly how she felt. Maybe a little distance would do them some good, today obviously wasn't a day for romance or even peace. "You have my number."
He smiled, the cleft in his chin more pronounced when he did so, giving Clark a roguish appeal Diana found sinfully sexy. "I do at that." Clark winked, then lifted high and away until Diana could no longer see his red cape.
She mindlessly stared after him, embarrassed to be caught doing so, brought back to reality when Hephaestus cleared his throat. "Not your consort, huh? Perhaps not now but eventually . . . soon."
"I do not wish to speak about my mother." Diana followed her brother when he made his way to his forge.
"Then let's speak of other things, Diana." Hephaestus stopped and turned to face Diana. "Let's talk about the creature you fought."
Well, hell, she didn't want to talk about that either.
"I assume since you came seeking my assistance with armor for your Superman that you did not defeat your adversary."
Not even close. Something else she was unwilling to discuss with her brother. Diana detested losing a battle, but had learned to accept that she wouldn't win every one. But that didn't mean she accepted defeat lightly or that she wouldn't take measures to even the score.
"I did not."
Without asking, Hephaestus wrapped beefy hands around her bracers and lifted her arms. He first inspected the bracers then Diana's face before releasing.
"I also assume you kept the bracers on during the battle."
Hephaestus grunted, showing a bit more of his razor-sharp teeth. "You risk your life because of fear. Could you have defeated your enemy if you'd removed the bracers and been all you were meant to be?"
Diana had no idea. Doomsday was inordinately strong, but . . . She shook her head. "There were civilians around. The barbaric creature was enough, what good would it have done if I added my own rage to the battle?"
"Well, for one, I suspect you would've taken far fewer injuries." The grunt came again, just as disapproving as the first. "I did not make those to be permanent fixtures around your wrists."
"You know why I wear them when I battle, why Mother asked you to create them for me."
"I do, but you were a child then, Diana, not the trained, controlled warrior you are today. They are but a girl's crutch. You no longer require them."
"I'm an Amazon."
He nodded, thankfully not arguing the obvious.
"True, but not only that. When will you trust yourself to be who you are? A proud, accomplished Amazon, for sure, but also a daughter of Olympus."
"I'm not, not really."
"And that's why you will wield your divine power better than Apollo, better than Strife, better than me. But your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness."
Hephaestus was wrong. He didn't understand and, in truth, neither had Hippolyta. She'd raised Diana well, but had very little to offer other than lectures on restraint when Diana's so-called "divine power" exerted itself. Then Hippolyta had left the island one day and had returned with a shining pair of bracers for Diana to wear, yet another reminder to everyone of how different from them she truly was. But the bracers had worked, the way her mother promised they would. And while Diana no longer wore them twenty-four hours a day, she made sure to whenever she was dressed as Wonder Woman, never knowing when she would have to defend herself or another.
"I came here today for armor, Hephaestus, nothing more. Now, let's discuss that."
Diana blinked away the memory, trying to dislodge it from her mind. Although she wouldn't admit it, there was much truth in Hephaestus' words, unasked for as they might be. If Doomsday hadn't been sucked back to the Phantom Zone when he had, Diana had no doubt he would've killed her. The intent had been there, in his soulless eyes.
Running one hand over a bare wrist, Diana could still feel where her bracer had been. She always could, so tied to them she felt. Inwardly she sighed and rolled onto her side, cursing her mind that refused to allow her to sleep. Then she smiled, because for a minute, for a precious, perfect minute the clouds ruining her day had parted and permitted the sun to shine its rays upon her.
They'd walked outside the Fortress of Solitude, Diana soaking in the crisp, refreshing air. After having come face-to-face with Steve over a Kryptonian who, as far as Diana knew, shouldn't exist, Diana had decided to take advantage of a rare moment of calm.
"I was told that the best Christmas gift would be something you wanted, but could not easily get for yourself. Not an easy task. What is out of Superman's reach?"
And when her friend Hessia had challenged Diana with, "Do you know who he is?" when she still hadn't managed to figure out what to get Clark for Christmas, the thought had come to her like an epiphany.
"So I decided to give you time," she said, stretching out her arms, feeling for the first time today that everything was as it should be, that the Fates were finally on her side.
"Time?" Clark asked. "I don't understand."
"I asked our friends—Bruce, Barry and the rest—to handle things for us. For the next little while, you don't have to save the world. Not forever. But for a little while. That is my gift to you."
"Diana I . . ." Clark reached for her, holding Diana gently by her upper arms, a pleased smile on his handsome face.
"Merry Christmas." It was early, she knew, but today had to be as wretched for Clark as it had been for Diana. He needed this, needed time to not be the oft- needed, vigilant Superman but simply a man.
Then they were in the air, her hand twined in his dark hair, one of his hands firm on her waist, the other on her neck, holding her to him as he devoured her mouth. Her return kiss was just as hungry, just as needy. But then he was pulling away, eyes narrowed in shock and anger.
"Clark? What is it?"
"Diana— They . . ." Blue eyes shown with an infuriation that sapped the last molecule of Christmas warmth and spirit they'd shared only seconds ago.
" . . . They know."
He needn't have said more than that, Clark's rough tone and taut face filled in all the details.
They floated back to the icy ground. For all that Clark's super hearing was a boon to the Justice League; times like these Diana wished his hearing wasn't so acute. And while she had no idea what he was hearing . . . what people were saying about the reveal that Wonder Woman and Superman were an item, based on the reddening of his face, his gaze somewhere to his right, the reaction couldn't be good.
Clark looked nothing short of a man ready to explode; ready to bolt into the arctic air in search of whomever had managed to find out about them and leaked it to the public. In truth, Diana wanted to know as well, but right now her heart filled with guilt. While she hadn't lied to her friends, lies of omission still counted as mistruths. With the exception of Bruce, who had unearthed the truth in his own Batman way, no one else on the League knew, not even the ones who had so graciously agreed to cover for Clark and Diana while they spent some much-needed time alone.
But they hadn't been privy to all of the reasons behind Diana's request. They didn't know she and Clark would be spending their off-time together. They didn't know because Clark and Diana had decided to keep their relationship a secret, which had made a lot of sense when they'd first started dating.
"I can't believe this."
Neither could she, but there was no help for it now.
"I think I'll go home." Diana lifted into the air, only to find a grip of granite holding an ankle.
"What are you doing? Why are you leaving?"
She looked down at him, then to the hand holding her in place. He didn't release her, instead, Clark gave a gentle but firm tug, encouraging, without words, for Diana to descend.
"You're upset. Preoccupied. I don't blame you. I'm not the one bombarded by whatever in the world people are saying about us. I don't expect you to shut it out or to ignore it. I would never ask you to do that."
"So you're just going to leave?"
"Yes." The Fates had won this round, and Diana had lost. She was tired and growing more irritated by the moment, thinking about all the people she would have to speak to and apologize to for deceiving them. The thought was not an appealing one. "The gift of time is still yours Clark, that hasn't changed."
Clark grabbed Diana's hand and led her back into the Fortress, not stopping until they reached the top of the steps. He spun around to face her, pushing Diana up against the wall, his massive body a block of furious male in front of her.
"You damn well know your gift was more than simply time away from JL business." Tree trunk arms lifted and slammed on each side of Diana's head. "The gift was for the both of us . . . to spend time together. How will we do that if I'm here and you're in London?"
"That's just it, Clark, you aren't here." She pointed down the steps and to the door that led outside. "You're out there; ears and mind full of only the gods know what."
"But I'm in here with you now, the sounds muted by the Fortress' walls. And you can't take a Christmas gift back, Diana. That's not how it works." Clark lowered his arms to her waist then his open, wet mouth to her bare shoulder, neck, chin, and then earlobe. "I won't let you go, Diana. I'm mad, and, dammit, I want to know who and why, and if you hadn't just given me the best Christmas gift I've ever received, I would've already flown off to track down the person who invaded our privacy and took the decision away from us as to when and how we would inform others of our relationship."
"If you are that upset, then you should—"
Forceful lips claimed Diana's, a punishing kiss that told her Clark hadn't liked what she was about to suggest. But she didn't want him to feel as if he had to stay with her simply because she'd given him a gift. A gift that had unraveled as soon as he heard reports of their secret relationship made public.
Despite herself, Diana wrapped her arms around his neck and sank deeper into the kiss. How could she not? The tongue ravaging her mouth was sublime, as were the rugged hands sliding up and down hips and thighs, pulling Diana closer and against a hardness that was not part of Clark's armor.
And with speed that matched his superior hearing, Clark lifted Diana and had her in his bedroom and behind a locked door before she could do more than gasp and moan. Just as quickly, Clark divested them of their uniforms, his powerfully hard and naked body overtop of Diana.
"You said we could get back to this. For the record, I plan to cash in my IOU and redeem my gift of time right now and for as long as I can keep you with me."
Clark lowered himself completely onto Diana but did nothing more. But, gods, that was enough to send her heart racing, desire soaring, wetness flowing.
"I won't let the public or the media ruin this time with you. Nor will I allow my own displeasure at the situation to spoil it either. I've wanted to spend uninterrupted time with you for weeks, but didn't know how to make it happen, with our jam packed schedules and obligations."
He nudged her legs farther apart, firmly planting himself between her thighs, his boastful erection on her stomach, daring the Fates to challenge this moment. "But you made it happen for the both of us." Leaning down, Clark rimmed her lips with his sultry tongue. "Thank you. I have a gift for you, too."
She laughed. "I just bet you do."
"You're a naughty Amazon." He pulled her lower lip into his mouth, nipping and sucking before letting it go. "Not that, a real Christmas gift, Diana. I hope you'll like it."
"I'm sure I will, as much as I did your plant." Diana's hands found Clark's mussed hair and began a sensual scalp massage she knew he loved.
His eyes closed followed by a contented moan of pleasure that made Diana feel as naughty as Clark had accused her of being.
"I'll let you be on top the first time."
Blue, lazy eyes opened, lips parted in a primal, masculine grin. "Then what?"
She winked. "Reverse cowgirl."
If possible, Clark hardened even more. "Oh, the words you pick up when you hang around with the wrong crowd." He entered her, quick, hard, and delicious. "And by wrong crowd I mean me."
As if that needed explaining, but the Kryptonian from Smallville had no equal, as far as Diana was concerned.
Giving up on falling asleep, Diana sat up in bed, thinking she could perhaps read for a bit. She liked to read and when she was tired but unable to sleep, a chapter or two would normally do the trick.
A strong, hairy arm wrapped around her waist. "Where do you think you're going?"
"I can't sleep. I thought I would grab a novel from your bookshelf."
Clark rolled onto his back and pulled Diana on top of him. He held her there, kissing her collarbone and neck then licking where he'd kissed.
"If you still have energy to read, then I clearly didn't do something right."
Oh, Clark had done everything right, just like always.
He sat up with her, wrapping Diana's legs around his waist then pulling her on top of an erection that never seemed to diminish. If anything, he was as magnificently rigid as he'd been the first four times they'd made love. After that, Diana had stopped counting. What was the point when Clark was making her feel so good, taking both of their minds off of the media fallout awaiting them on the other side of the Fortress' walls.
So Diana ceased thinking about the wreck her day had been and allowed herself to enjoy the exquisite Christmas pleasure it had turned in to.
"Merry Christmas, Diana."
"Merry Christmas, Clark."
Okay, so I couldn't resist going beyond issue three, and, depending where issue four picks up, the last part of "Merry Christmas" could legitimately count as a gapfiller instead of wishful musings of a WWSM fan. So, yeah, the last part was for me and others like me who hope that Clark and Diana won't let the gossip mongers ruin their Christmas and Diana's gift of time.