Superman/Wonder Woman: Power Couple
Story 7: You Are Stronger Than the Disease
This gap-filler begins at the end of SMWW 7 and then, like SMWW 8, skips several months and picks up with the confrontation at Clark's apartment between Diana and the Doomsday creature Clark has turned into.
Since this is a big crossover event for SM and WW, I don't know the scope the gap-fillers for this Doomed arc will take. So as to not overwhelm myself or confuse readers who may not be following the event, I'll try my best to limit the focus of the stories to what happens in SMWW only.
Sitting on Diana's queen size bed, Clark was failing miserably. Well, that wasn't exactly true, he corrected. His control hadn't yet snapped, but it soon would, he knew. The last few hours had tested the man and the superhero. Diana couldn't possibly know how many times Clark had been tempted to pull her into a dark corner of the club and explore every inch of her lush body with his hands and mouth.
No, Diana was too engrossed in the music and dancing to notice the telltale signs of her dance partner's precarious aroused state. But she felt his masculine hardness against her female softness. That much Clark knew with certainty. He'd taken every opportunity to hold Diana closely and dance with her from behind, a pathetic attempt to relieve the tension in his neglected loins.
Now, Clark sat on her bed, pretending to patiently wait for Diana to pack an overnight bag to take with her to the Fortress. If she would just leave a few personal items there, they could've flown directly from the club and to his Arctic home. Even though Clark had given Diana keys to both the Fortress and his Metropolis apartment, she still acted as a guest, making no claim on the space the way Clark silently hoped she would.
Instead, she only visited when she was invited, not once viewing the keys to Clark's homes as the sign of trust, love, and commitment the gesture represented. The woman left him stumped. So different was Diana from any other woman he'd dated and not in the obvious I'm-dating-Wonder Woman kind of way. Though her being Wonder Woman and all that entailed in partially defining and explaining her personality was undeniable. Yet it was Diana's Amazonian upbringing and godly inheritance Clark understood least of all.
But he wanted to. He just didn't know how to go about learning such things about her, Diana private and closed-off on a level Clark had yet to fully infiltrate. Despite having lived among mortals and full-humans for six years, Diana was a princess and now a full god. What did that mean for their relationship? Clark had no idea, particularly in light of his recent declaration of love. A declaration his Wonder Woman had yet to return.
He wanted to ask, wanted to clear the air about her feelings for him. But, as usual, he held back, opting to give her time and space. He had no idea how she would react if she felt he was pushing the issue, making emotional demands on her she might not be ready to reciprocate.
To be fair, couples rarely fell in love at the same time. One always fell first. In this instance, it had been Clark, which was fine. The issue, or rather his unvoiced fear, was the possibility Diana would never come to feel for him all that he felt for her.
Tell her. Tell her how you feel. Have the conversation you've both been avoiding all night. Hell, avoiding since the nuclear explosion.
When Diana turned to Clark, packed overnight bag in her right hand, blue eyes majestic and dangerously sensual, the weak thread of his self-control completely unraveled.
"Are you ready to go? I have everything I need."
He stood and stalked his prey. That was the only word to describe his movement toward Diana, a ravenous beast on the prowl for female flesh, the feminine form.
Divesting Diana of her expensive, leather bag, Clark led her across the room and to the dresser.
While she had been making her clothing choices, opening and closing drawers with crisp efficiency, Clark's mind had conjured a most appetizing fantasy.
"What are you doing? I thought you were in a hurry to get to the Fortress."
Diana soon had her answer when Clark settled her in front of the dresser with the large three-sectional mirror and stripped them both. Their muscular, aroused bodies on glorious display, the mirror a visual aphrodisiac.
"I want you now, Diana. Like this, right here, in front of this decadent mirror."
With a sound that could've been part growl, part moan, the beast captured its' prey, sliding in deep then deeper.
Rolling her head back and hands forward, plastering them on the sturdy wooden dresser for support, Diana accepted Clark's beast – his primal claiming.
But she was no one's prey, her forceful hips pushing, grinding, and taking her own pleasure.
Her enraptured moans and golden-brown rose buds had Clark reaching around and taking hold of the heavily swaying globes.
He squeezed, caressed, played, thumbing Diana's nipples until they were pebble hard and she clawed at the dresser, the deep gouges ruining the glossy finish. Diana was in this with him, as eager for his touch as Clark was for hers. The beast wild, free, uninhibited. And the woman, the goddess, managing him with deftness, with an unrivaled fierceness of her own.
Biting her lower lip and swallowing the urge to scream her pleasure, alerting the household to their amorous activity, Diana closed her eyes and dropped her head.
"No, keep them open. I want to see your eyes when you shatter in my arms. I want to see what I do to you, let you see what you do to me."
The woman had no clue what she did to Clark, and not just during the intimate moments. Superman was everyone's hero. Clark Kent only wanted to be Diana's. But goddesses didn't need heroes and, apparently, neither did Amazonian princesses.
Bright blue eyes opened and locked on Clark's, penetrating and so near the breaking point.
So was he.
Gazing into each other's eyes, they watched, enthralled, as they shuttered, heaved, and exploded in rapturous rays of mutual satisfaction. The experience, one of a kind and powerful.
Clark heard her approach long before the rattle of keys in his door. The part of him that remained, the part with its humanity still intact swore. The beast that now dwelled within, taking over and pushing Clark Kent aside, felt differently about the guest. It wanted to play, to hunt, to break the uninvited visitor.
Clark wanted none of that, yet he knew this day would come. Despite his best efforts at avoiding Diana these past few days, even going as far as leaving her a voicemail telling her he would be out of town and to not come looking for him, Diana was not one to be put off nor led around by her nose.
Ever since his battle with Doomsday, Diana had picked up on subtle changes in Clark, although he'd been successful at hiding the worst of it from her. Still, Diana was a bright, perceptive woman. More, she knew Superman. And Superman did not go days without making his presence known, whether in Metropolis or Smallville, or wherever he was needed.
Then there was Clark Kent. Diana would've eventually gone in search of him, too.
Now, as the lock on the door slid to the open position and Diana let herself in, Clark couldn't help but wonder where Diana had searched or whom she talked to before deciding to look for him at his apartment. The only other haven he had after the Fortress refused him admittance, not recognizing his altered DNA.
A growl clawed at this throat, begging for release when he heard her voice – concerned and sexy.
"Are you here? Are you hurt?"
If she only knew. But Diana soon would. It only served her right for not listening to his warning, for waving her honeysuckle scent in front of the beast.
"Hiiii, Diana. Sorry the place isn't . . . ready for visitors. Guess that's what I get . . . for giving a girl a key. Should have known better."
After convincing himself he could handle what was happening to him, Clark had dressed, steadied his nerves and anger and went into work. Once there, once seeing the lavish new offices of ClarkCatTropolis and listening to Cat harass him about not pulling his weight, he snapped. Because of Cat and the unknown person who sent her that damn photo of Superman and Wonder Woman kissing, the tiny, local blog had gone viral and international, earning Cat Grant and Clark Kent instant notoriety.
Overnight, they became the sensation of the Internet. All eyes were on them for the next big reveal.
Gone was the privacy he so desperately sought for himself and Diana, replaced by intrusive glances, furtive looks, fearful whisperings, speculations of world domination, and thoughts of dangerous, alien-Amazonian offspring.
So he'd lost it, furious at his professional gain, furious at Cat for running with the story without consulting him first, furious at having his relationship laid bare and publically discussed and dissected.
He'd stalked home, the beast riding him, fighting its way to the surface.
Unable to resist, unable to battle the tide of anger, the beast roared out of Clark, destroying all in its path until nothing of Clark Kent remained in the apartment. Not even the half-man, half-creature that had, yes, waited for Wonder Woman to come and find him, find them.
"Never any privacy. You knowww, Diana, sometimes a man needs his privacy."
The gravelly, hard pitch of his unearthly voice would've sent a lesser woman, a lesser warrior fleeing in terror.
But not Diana. The foolish woman drew nearer, stepping closer to the beast and feral danger.
"Clark, what are you talking about? Your voice sounds . . . strange."
"You're one to talk. You ever listen to yourself, Diana? You've spent six years away from your people, and you still can't shake the accent. Not all the way. You're as much an alien as I am. Comes out when you're angry. Or when you're afraiiidddd."
Finally, their eyes met – beast versus goddess.
"I can hear that accent now."
The thought of being the one to instill fear in such a warrior brought pleasure to the beast's blackened heart. But Clark cringed at the creature's words, a razor-sharp blade meant to slice and dice and leave Diana a bloody mess.
Diana had no use for a secret identity. She only pretended to be Diana Prince for his benefit, to better fit into his world. But Diana Prince meant little to Diana, not in the same way that being Clark Kent meant everything to him.
The alien pretending to be human. The goddess humoring the boyfriend. How pathetic.
Despite his lancing attitude, Diana didn't look away, although the hideous sight of him should've sent her flying out of the apartment and to safety.
"I'm afraid for you, Clark. Let me help you."
If possible, her cool, composed response angered the beast even more.
"Sounnnds good, Diana. Getting a little . . . lonely in here." Grinning, he bared teeth that held no humor, only malevolence. "Could use some company."
Ah, there, a reaction from the stoic warrior.
Opening her coat, revealing her signature armor and uncoiling her lasso, Wonder Woman finally appeared. The one the beast wanted all along.
"Maybe we cannn have a little fun."
She reached for him, a single hand that neither trembled nor hesitated at the monstrous sight and nearness of him.
"Clark—what's happened to you? Batman said—"
"Batman," the creature that was Clark growled. "You know, I think he's jealous! What does he have? Nothing like us. Spends all his time, all that money trying to be just . . . like . . . us."
The hand she'd raised remained, suspended, her earnest face almost too beautiful to look upon, especially the concerned eyes that met his with a tenderness the creature would twist and use against her.
"But you know what? He's not. And he never will be. Poor little scared, jealous Batman."
Bruce would rather see Clark alone than with Diana. Bruce, a man whose money, charm, and good looks could get him any woman he desired. But the one woman Clark wanted, the one woman he loved, the one woman he wanted to build a future with . . . Doesn't love you, the beast whispered in his head.
"Clark . . . you're sick. The fight with Doomsday infected you."
"You think I don't know that? You think I'm some kind of idiot?" That I'm not as intelligent as Batman. "I don't show it off, like some people. But I'm a clever, clever boy, Diana."
The hand that had reached for him, the one that had stalled its progress when the beast began spewing its venom, lingered still, even when the beast raised its wretched clawed hand to Diana.
"Actually, there's a question I've been meaning to ask you."
"Oh?" he repeated, mocking and cruel. "Why don't you ever ask me to help you with your problems? I ask you to help me. Zod and Faora . . . you were right there. I made sure you knew how much your help mattered to me." Despite how embarrassed it made him feel, having her come to his rescue because of a stupid mistake on his part. "You never do that. This whole thing with . . . what's his name? The First Born? You told me about it after it happened."
But asking for help would've made you vulnerable, weak, too human. All the things I feel when I can't be everything to everyone, including you.
"You could have died. How is that right?"
"How is that fair?"
The clawed hand, the one Diana foolishly thought was reaching for her hand, now held her lasso. The so-called Lasso of Truth. Well, the beast intended to torture the woman with her own weapon. Maybe then she would see what needed to be done, what she alone had the power to do.
Finally realizing the beast now held her famed lasso, Diana's brows furrowed in confusion and her hand drew away in dawning anxiety.
"My lasso—Clark, what are you—"
In ugly but mighty hands, the beast fisted the golden lasso. Even held by a creature that shouldn't exist, the lasso glowed under his feral touch. And there was an unexpected surge of power that flowed from the lasso and into the creature, loosening his tongue and excavating the deepest recesses of Clark's mind and heart.
"Am I not good enough, Diana? Just your hick boyfriend—Good enough to hang out with when you feel like it, but not good enough to bring into your world?"
The beast pulled the lasso taut.
"Princess," he drawled.
The temporary confusion the beast had seen in Diana's eyes when he'd first divested her of her lasso, was now gone. The stony warrior was back, defensive and unyielding.
"Clark—that's ridiculous. I took you to meet my brother. You know how I feel about you—"
Snap went the lasso again, harder, more ferocious.
"Do I? I told you months ago. You still can't say it back. You're so wrapped up in this icy . . . well, it doesn't matter now."
But it did to Clark Kent. Everything about this woman mattered to him. He'd confessed his love. Admittedly, it hadn't been at the best possible moment, certainly not a romantic time or place. But he'd shared his heart with Diana and gotten an, "Of course you do," in return.
The night they'd spent together after going to the club, Clark was sure Diana would say the words back. But she hadn't. Days had turned into weeks and then months, and still no declaration of love, not even an acknowledgement of Clark's own confession.
But they'd gone on with their relationship. A silent agreement to not mention the giant elephant in the god damn room. But Clark had hoped, with time, all would work itself out.
Now however . . .
"You're going to have to kill me, you know. It's just a matter of time. I know what's happening to me. I don't want to become . . . that. I'd rather die."
Surely Diana had to see the truth, despite him being the one with the lasso in his hand.
"Now you are being foolish—we haven't even tried to—"
He should've known. The woman was too stubborn for her own good, thinking him a cause she could save, a cause worth saving.
"I'm just going to get stronger. Soon, things will start dying if they get close to me." You'll die. I couldn't bare that. "You need to do it now. While you still can. While I'll still let you."
The beast wrapped the lasso around his neck. A quick method of death the Amazon quite capable of administering. If only she were properly motivated. And, when she lifted that sweet hand of hers again, a gentle caress over roughened skin, his cheek warming at the touch all the way to Clark's embattled heart, he knew.
The beast knew what had to be done.
"I'm not going to kill you, Clark. We're not there yet."
The beast came to life, her denial, her failure to comply, forcing his hand.
"What makes you think I'm going to give you a choice," he raged, a massive fist leveled at Diana, swinging with deadly force.
Surprised but agile, Diana jumped out of the way, the beast's fist cracking the floor where his prey had just been.
She thought him redeemable. He was not. The beast would make Wonder Woman kill him. She was the Goddess of War now. She could use her new powers on him, whatever they may be. As he said, later he might be too strong for even War to control, to kill.
Faster than he could think or move, Diana regained control of her lasso, whipped it out at the beast and sent him flying. Her, "I always have a choice," punctuating her resolution and his crash into the wall behind him.
His hard landing shook the building and glass exploded, followed by an odd silence in the war-torn apartment, both he and Diana physically unfazed by the altercation. Strange, even in this life-and-death situation, their spat was that of lovers. No one but them could truly understand the nuance of what had been said and that which had been left unsaid between them.
But, of course, Batman, being Batman, had to intrude on their moment, as violent and dangerous as it had been.
From the broken window came Batman's husky, concerned voice. "Diana, what's happening?"
A ludicrous question from Gotham's resident genius. The carnage that had been Clark's apartment made his query rhetorical at best, uncharacteristically stupid at worst.
"Hi there, Batman." A low, angry taunt. "We were just talking about you."
Back to Batman and eyes, smartly, on the beast shrouded by darkness, Diana raised a hand to the jealous interloper. "Go, Bruce. Evacuate the building. I have this."
"Don't be a fool—I can—"
Watch it there, Bruce. This lover's spat doesn't involve you. You can't handle the beast . . . or Diana.
"I. Have. This." A snarl from Wonder Woman, her head snapping around to face Bruce.
That's my girl. This fight is between beauty and the beast.
"Fine. Save him."
Out the window he went, black cape a silent flap in the spring air.
"Bye bye, Batman."
Diana turned back to him, her words of, "Clark, enough. Listen to me," stern gentleness.
The beast lay on the floor, unwilling to resume the battle, just wanting Wonder Woman to end it before things rocketed out of their control.
"If things deteriorate," she began, bending and reclaiming her lasso, "then yes, I will make sure you cannot hurt anyone. But I do not believe we are there yet."
Stubborn, stubborn Amazon.
And, no, Diana hadn't just agreed to kill him, only to not allow him to hurt anyone, if his condition worsened. The woman was smart, not boxing herself into a corner that would force her hand later.
When she next spoke, her words sent the beast into an emotional tailspin, dousing all lingering aggression.
"The man worthy of my love is stronger than that. He would not roll over and show his belly when things turn difficult. He would fight. I have seen you fight worse things than this."
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the Amazon version of a pep talk. As unromantic as it was, the beast . . . Clark was listening, feeling, not wanting to die but unsure how to live.
"You are stronger than this disease, Clark."
He didn't feel strong. Clark had tried to fight the burning rage inside of him, tried to keep it contained. But it rose up, waged a mutiny and set itself free.
But Diana thinks you're strong. She's asking you to be strong . . . for her . . . for yourself . . . for the world that depends on Superman.
"Batman told me it will respond to your mind. You can control it, if you choose to."
And there was the gauntlet, thrown down by the Goddess of War, a challenge to the man, the hero.
"I . . ."
There were no words. Clark didn't know what to say, and Diana didn't need more words from him.
"The man worthy of my love is stronger than that," she'd said. "You are stronger than this disease."
Yes, I am.
Gritting monstrous teeth capable of ripping a throat in two, Clark battled the beast within.
It didn't want to retreat, didn't want to submit.
"You are stronger than this disease. Worthy of my love. My. Love."
Fighting every infected cell in his traitorous body, Clark rose onto his knees and bellowed his pain, his wrath, his resistance, causing a wind tunnel that sent vibrations through the apartment and into the Metropolis night.
Human . . . Clark Kent once more, he dropped to the floor, physically and emotionally spent, Diana by his side.
Her much smaller hand came to rest on his, claws no longer present.
Hidden, for now.
For the first time since entering the beast's lair, Diana relaxed, revealing, in the way she stared down at Clark, all her worry for him, as well as her own sadness for what he was becoming, for what he had temporarily become.
"Diana," he forced himself to say, needed to say. "I'm so sorry. The things I said."
"Shhh," she graciously soothed. "It doesn't matter. It wasn't you. You're going to be all right."
Diana wore the Lasso of Truth, but she lied. The beast may have spoken the words with vile, cruel intent, but the emotions, the insecurities had been all Clark's.
It did matter.
It had been him.
And they both knew it.
As far as everything being all right . . .
"But that's it, Diana, I can still feel it. It's not gone, it's just waiting."
Her hand tightened on his, and the wisp of bleakness in her gaze was fleeting but there.
"And it wants to come back."