by Chicago

Disclaimer: The Joe Kelly run on JLA implied a burgeoning relationship between Diana and Bruce. It was "resolved" in issue 90, but some of us found the resolution unsatisfying. Kerithwyn Jade asked me to try my hand at resolving it, and this was the result. Characters belong to DC Comics, borrowed for fun and not for profit.

There were times when they sparred, and she had him pinned down by the shoulders, their faces inches apart, when she thought he might kiss her.

Truth: She would have let him kiss her.

Of course, he never would. He understood boundaries, both his and hers. And he knew as well as she did that mixing romance with teamwork was a bad idea. Because, really, their worlds were too different, and the best they could hope for if they did date is that it wouldn't end too badly.

Truth: She could kill him with a casual gesture, without thinking about it. She was afraid that in a moment of passion, she might.

So they remained teammates, comrades-in-arms, fighting the good fight side by side. They both understood what it meant to fight to the death, and they were both prepared to do so for the sake of innocents. By the same token, they knew enough to respect sacrifice, and to not undo the good made possible by a warrior laying down his or her life.

Truth: When a blazing fireball had taken out the League's communication post, it had taken Superman's hand on her arm to prevent her from going back to try to save her teammates instead of capitalizing on the diversion.

Fortunately, no one had died in the day's battle, and there was time now to tend to their wounded. J'onn was resting in his quarters, healing his burns. They had sent Wally home to his wife, believing him when he said he needed her in his arms more than he needed to be observed for after-effects of being run ragged. Eel was on monitor, relieving Clark Kent to address potential media backlash. Kyle was... somewhere, leaving Diana to watch over Bruce.

Truth: Had anyone made an issue of it, she would have insisted on being allowed to stay by his bedside. The idea of how close he had been to death made her feel cold.

He almost looked asleep, the clear plastic tubing across his nose the only reminder that his repose was closer to coma than rest. She watched the steady rise and fall of his chest, reassured by the monitor over his head that showed his vitals to be strong and increasingly normal. He would be disoriented and likely irritated when he awoke, and she figured that she could handle the brunt of his grousing as well as any of them.

Truth: She wanted hers to be the first face he saw when he shook off the shock to his body and opened his eyes.

She took his hand in hers, running her fingers softly over his calluses. Amazon hands were tough, but not in the same ways, not so hard. It was surprising the differences she still found between her world and this one.

Truth: It was a thrill to feel Batman's bare skin, even it were only his fingers against hers.

In repose, his face lost some of its hard lines, and the grim set of his mouth relaxed into a hinted smile that she suspected would have been his natural expression had his life gone differently. His lips seemed fuller than they did when he wore them in that disapprovingly thin line that was his trademark expression. Curious, she leaned in closer, close enough that her lips almost touched his.

Truth: They did touch.

His hand in hers twitched a little as their lips touched, and she felt rather than saw him open his eyes.

Truth: His hand had actually moved a little just before she leaned in to him.

His voice was raspy, but his tone was amused. "I thought it was the sleeping princess who was wakened with a kiss," he murmured.

Truth: She had just kissed him.

She pulled back a little to meet the blue eyes she rarely saw without the shielding of the lenses of the cowl. "This is a different kind of fairy tale," she replied throatily.

Truth: It wasn't a fairy tale at all, and the dream would not become real.

"I see," he acknowledged, his eyes studying her face. He lifted his hand from the counterpane, setting his fingers against her cheek, and she closed her eyes as she closed her hand against his.

Truth: She wanted to kiss him again, to have him kiss her back. She wanted to nuzzle his hand. And she knew he would pull away if she did, and he would be right.

"We won," she reported, because he probably figured that out, but he should hear it from her anyway.

Truth: She had to say something, and "I could love you" was not an option.

"Good. The others?" He was scanning her face for reassurance that they were all well.

Truth: The expression in his eyes as they met hers was longing and regret, because they both knew it could never be.

"Fine. Recovering. They'll be relieved to know that you're awake."

Truth: She needed an excuse to leave his side, to make a retreat in order to reconfigure her love for him to its chaste warrior pureness.

He nodded and let his hand drop. "You should go tell them," he acknowledged. "I'll be fine resting here."

Truth: He would wait until she was safely out the door, then he would don his cape and cowl and return to his Cave.

"Yes, and you should rest," she stated sternly as she rose to her feet. "I will be back to check on you."

Truth: He would be gone before she could return, and she would be disappointed in him if it were otherwise.

He didn't reply and she didn't wait to see if he would. Instead she left the medbay and headed toward the monitor womb. She would wait until the teleporter buzzed with his departure, and then she would return to Themyscira. She raised her hand to her lips, still feeling the texture of his lips against hers. She needed to forget it.

Truth: She never would.


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