Wonderbat Milestones: Day 2 – Teammates
Title: Give Up The “Me” For “We”
Word Count: 1104
Author’s Note: H e l p M e. I am so tired. I can’t even type straight! You won’t believe how many spelling mistakes I made while writing this. Anyway, this thing you’re about to read is a mess. I had no ideas for this theme. I really only knew how this was going to end so everything in the middle is winged and it kind of went really off book, omg. I don’t even want to post it but I’m determined to post something for all 5 days and day 2 ends in 1.5 hours… I hope you weren’t expecting Wonderbat-working-together-in-harmony fluff. Instead, have some Bruce-is-stubborn-and-self-sacrificing-while-Diana-is-stubborn-and-concerned-and-now-they’re-fighting angst (it’s not really angst).
“I work alone.”
Nowadays those words felt silly coming out of his mouth. It was like a child trying to deny stealing from the cookie jar while his hand was still in the jar: stupid and an obvious lie. Bruce was a founding member of the Justice League, part of the famous Trinity, and been training young partners for years now. He hadn’t worked alone in so long yet he couldn’t seem to let go of his mantra.
It was a shield, a defensive mechanism for moments for moments like these when his teammates tried to get too close; when they wanted to go in a different direction; when they tried to chastise or, worse, take care of him after he inevitably hurt himself. Just like Diana was trying to do now.
“Do you understand?”
Diana stood there, arms crossed and hip jutted. Her lips were pressed thin, her eyebrow raised in a perfect arch. She looked like a mother and boy did that piss him off. He wasn’t a child to be scolded and his mother had died a long time ago.
“No,” she spat out, stubborn as always. “I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t,” Bruce snapped. Everything was hurting, from his swollen ankle to the concussion turning his brain into soup. “You never seem to understand when people don’t want your help. Always thinking you know best, always crossing the lines. Assuming… assuming…” He stopped, pitifully out of breath. Each heaving breath made his ribcage burn but he was the goddamn Batman: he could ignore a couple of broken ribs.
“Assuming…?” Diana prompted, as if Bruce wasn’t struggling for breath at the moment. Her brows furrowed as he leaned against the med table, not as subtle as he probably thought he was being.
“Assuming you know better because you’re a woman and us males are just violent babies that need your guidance,” Bruce finally said with one last huff.
“Gee, Bruce, are you sure you’re not talking about yourself.” Bruce’s head snapped up, his burning with indignation.
“The hammer of justice is unisex: I’ve never treated someone different based on their gender!”
“And I appreciate that. But the stuff about always knowing best and crossing lines? That’s all you, as you proved tonight.”
“I did what had to be done.”
“You almost got yourself killed!” Diana’s voice dripped with exasperation. Bruce remained silent at that, jaw clenched and arms folded against a bruised chest. He was stripped down to his boxers, letting Diana marvel at the colorful patchwork of injuries staining every part of his skin. Red, purple, black, and blue: it was a violent masterpiece meant for a museum.
“Bruce…” Diana murmured softly when the tense silence had worn on her last nerve. Her eyes were gentle, like he was an injured bird that might fly away at any moment. Slowly she approached before laying a hand on a tensed shoulder. “Bruce, we are teammates. Do you know what that means?” Bruce made a clicking sound, eerily similar to the *tt* noise Damian was known for, and turned his head away. “It means we work together. It means we trust each other’s judgment and make decisions together. It means we don’t go it alone, that we give and receive help from one another. Do you understand that?”
“Leave me alone, Diana.”
“What’s wrong, Bruce. It’s been quite a while since you’ve done something like this. Tell me what happened.” Her gaze was like fire on his skin as he fisted his hair in his hands, growling inhumanly. His chest was tight and not from the pain of… well, everything. He couldn’t explain it if he wanted to, couldn’t tell her why he had gone off on his own, why he had gone right after they all decided to go left. He couldn’t do it. “Bruce?”
He surged away from the med table, successfully pushing Diana back a few inches as he did so. His head was hurting so bad. He just wanted to ignore it like he always did, to push all of it down until there was nothing but numbness. But he couldn’t, not with Diana harassing him. Bruce might’ve been on a team but he’d never been a team player. Surely Diana knew that by now!
“Do you truly not care, Bruce? Clark and I worry about you so much when you get into one of these moods and I know your kids worry too! You remember them, right? Your kids that struggled a year without you when they thought you were dead? Do you know what it does to them every time you go off on one of your suicide mission?”
“No, Bruce. The least you can do is explain to me, explain to them, why you do what you do.” Bruce stood there, eyes squeezed shut and fists clenched. When no reply came, Diana made a sound of frustration. “Fine. Fine!” Bruce listened to the sound of boots against stone, the sound of her walking away. Only when they were distant did he speak up.
“Teammates means protecting. That’s what I did and what I will continue to do.”
Diana halted in her place and Bruce strained his ears, wondering if she would come back or walk away. When she spoke it almost sounded like she was right next to him.
“Teammates means protecting each other. Let us protect you sometimes.”
Bruce sighed, a long-suffering sound that rattled his whole body. He back walked until he leaning against the med table again before sitting on it. He opened his eyes and glared at the ground, listening to the sounds of Diana’s approaching until her boots were within his line of view.
With a strange sort of detachment, Bruce listened as Diana got out the first aid kit and set up the appropriate supplies. He could no longer feel the pain in his body but the pain in his head was nearly unbearable. When Diana’s gentle fingers danced on his skin he shivered and his head fell to the side, landing on her shoulder. Diana made no comment, instead focussing on dressing his wounds.
Bruce did not protest. He made no complaint as the woman, his teammate, tended to him. It was weird, being taken care of by someone outside the family, but it was also… nice. Nice to feel her hands run across new and old wounds, nice — and heart-stopping — to feel her press a kiss against the J the Joker had carved into his should a long time ago.
Something told Bruce that that had nothing to do with Diana being his teammate.
Belated reblog for day 2, but worth the read! Love the tension, the depth to the both of them! ~ Maiden