Room for More
After defeating Steppenwolf, Bruce confides in Diana after she wakes him from a nightmare. Will he allow her in, or will he reject her like everyone else? Takes place right after Justice League, beginning with Bruce, Diana, and Alfred deciding how to turn the old manor into the JL headquarters. My submission for Day 7 of WonderBat Week!
Diana walked into the dimly lit hall she knew had housed some of the most elaborate parties in its prime. Once she had met Bruce, she had tried to learn everything she could of his family and background, wanting to know everything she could about the mysterious man that had captured her interest. When she had arrived in Man’s World, she had been intrigued, curious, about everything this new world had to offer, and after Steve had died, she had become worried that she wouldn’t find the will to be enticed by what it had to offer. But when she had met Bruce, everything had changed. He was different, unlike Steve in so many ways, yet he captivated her.
Steve was so positive, so full of life, so willing to see the good in people. Bruce was negative, always feeling the need to linger in the darkness that shrouded his life, although not without reason. The poor man had witnessed his parents’ murder when he was a child. She could only wonder what kind of darkness would creep into a normal man had they witnessed such a travesty. But Bruce was not normal. No, instead of wallowing in his parents’ deaths, allowing himself to fall into a depression so deep it would drive an average man insane, Bruce fought. He fought for the less fortunate, he fought justice, but most importantly, he fought for himself. He needed to prove to himself, and more importantly his parents, that he could, would, make a difference. And he did.
If she and Bruce hadn’t found each other, they wouldn’t have stopped Steppenwolf, allowing the world to fall to Darkseid. It was Bruce who had assembled Arthur, Victor, and Barry, finding them and convincing them to join the fight. It was Bruce who had risked everything to bring back Clark, no matter how much Diana had argued against it. And it was Bruce who had risked his life to give them the opening to attack Steppenwolf, viewing his life as less valuable than the rest of the teams; the rest of the world’s.
It was in that movement that Diana had realized how much she respected and valued Bruce, as a hero, a man, a friend, and possibly more? She had never considered the possibility of falling for another man after Steve, but something about the way Bruce carried himself made her realize she could possibly feel that way once more. Sure, he had his secrets, but so did she.
Diana continued to walk, unaware of the small smile that appeared on her face when she saw Bruce and Alfred standing next to each other, their backs to her. She watched Bruce open the double doors leading to the main foyer of the manor. “Must be a hundred, a hundred fifty feet,” he said, staring down the room with Alfred a step behind him.
“Must be,” Alfred replied, hands in his pocket as he glanced around the all too familiar room.
“Big round table, six chairs right there,” Bruce began, his hands animated as he spoke.
Diana walked into the room. “But room for more,” she said, finding a spot to stand next to Bruce.
He turned to glance at her, a smile on his face. “But room for more,” he said in agreement, as he glanced back over the room.
“I, uh, should get started on those plans then,” Alfred said, taking a step back. “Master Wayne, if you need me I shall be in the study.” He watched as Bruce looked over his shoulder, his eyebrows furrowing in embarrassment. He knew what his butler was trying to do, and he would have no part of it. Sure, Diana was an attractive, smart, and all around amazing woman, but she was a respected colleague. Nothing more.
Alfred walked down the abandoned hall, glancing over at his shoulder once more and spotting Bruce unconsciously staring at Diana, before he walked out of sight.
Diana quickly turned to face Bruce, her smile widening. She knew the Wayne Manor had been involved in an unfortunate fire, but somehow the charm and elegance still remained in the charred remains. Even in its current state Diana could see the beauty, even more enthralled by the history its walls kept.
“What are you doing here?” Bruce asked after a moment of silence. It wasn’t like he was angry or condemning her for staying in Gotham, he was just curious. After all, she had a job in Paris, a life to go back to. He couldn’t keep her from that. Which is why he hadn’t told her what his plans for the manor had been. He knew she would want to help, and although he wouldn’t have minded her staying in Gotham, working close with him, he knew he couldn’t let her neglect her other duties.
Diana turned her attention away from the room and instead focused on Bruce. “Alfred informed me what your intentions for the manor were, and I was, intrigued, to see what you had come up with.” She looked over the room once more, before returning her gaze to Bruce again, this time meeting his eyes. “It really is amazing Bruce.”
Bruce looked at her, that familiar crooked smile on his face. “It’ll be even better once we finish it,” he explained. “Now don’t you have to be in London for a museum event?” he asked.
Diana shrugged. “They’ll get along fine without me,” she said, placing a hand on her hip. “Unless you want me to leave? I hear the Bat can be pretty possessive of Gotham.”
Bruce chuckled. “Whether you stay in Gotham is your choice,” he said, turning to walk back out of the room.
Diana stepped closer to Bruce, looping her arm in with his and pulling him close. “Good,” she said, ignoring the faint blush that was creeping up on his cheek. “You can buy me dinner, and maybe show me those plans Alfred is pretending to work on.”
Bruce chuckled again. “Dinner with Bruce Wayne will surely put you in the public’s eyes. I do have a reputation to protect after all.” He began to walk out of the room, Diana at his side.
“Then what do you suggest?” Diana asked, unwilling to take no for an answer. She wanted to talk to him about the night they brought Clark back to life. She wanted to know if he felt that spark, that weird chill in the air, when they were alone.
He led her down the hall, following the once familiar path to the Batcave’s entrance. He quickly opened the door and led her onto the lift that would take them down. “I have some ideas already drawn up,” he said, stepping onto the lift himself. “I can have Alfred bring dinner down.”
The lift began to descend, darkness consuming them, which Diana was grateful for. He wouldn’t be able to see the smirk that played on her face. “You were expecting me, weren’t you?”
It was Bruce’s turn to shrug. “Call it a hunch.” The two continued to descend until they reached the cave, the only light coming from the large computer at the end of the room.
“Sounds like a date,” Diana said, stepping off the lift and walking towards the computer, leaving a speechless Bruce behind her.
“Bruce, you criticize yourself too much.” Diana looked up at Bruce, wine glass in one hand, one of Bruce’s blueprints in the other. “This looks incredible,” she said, taking a sip of the wine, before placing the blueprint on the table, stacking it on top of the other various drawings and ideas Bruce had thought up.
Bruce shook his head, before he turned back to the computer. “It needs to be perfect,” he said, typing a few keys before another set of blueprints appeared on the screen.
Diana sighed, turning her head to look at Bruce’s untouched wine glass on the table. “Must you always strive for perfection?” she asked, grabbing the glass off the table.
Bruce sighed. Of course she wouldn’t understand. She was, after all, part God. How could she relate to all the tragedy he had seen. “Not all of us are demi-Gods,” he said with a chuckle, trying to diffuse any tension.
Diana walked up behind him, placed her foot on his chair, and spun him around. “I’m not perfect,” she confessed, handing him the glass full of wine. She watched as he smirked before grabbing the glass and taking a sip of the liquid inside.
“I somehow find that hard to believe, Princess,” he said, emphasizing her previous title. He had no intention of instigating anything, however he wanted to rub the fact that she had known nothing but perfection her whole life in her face. He watched as she smiled, not falling for his bait, before she finished off the glass in her hand.
“Well, Bruce, this was fun,” she said, placing the empty glass on the table. “Tell Alfred dinner was delicious.” She took a step towards the lift, ready to leave for the night, when she heard Bruce rise from his chair.
“I don’t think you should be driving,” he said, glancing at the empty wine bottle on the table.
Diana turned to him and chuckled. “I’m fine Bruce,” she said, taking a step towards him. “I can handle a few glasses of wine.”
Bruce turned his attention to her, crossed his arms over his puffed chest, and shook his head. “I would still feel better without you behind the wheel.” He knew she was fine and would be perfectly alert, but he would never forgive himself if something had happened to her.
Diana crossed her arms over her chest, mirroring Bruce, and gave him a smirk. “And what do you suggest Mr. Wayne?”
Bruce, not wanting to give Diana the satisfaction, only stared her in the eye. He didn’t have to answer before Diana gave him another smug reply. “Bruce, are you just trying to get me in your bed?” she asked, laughing when she saw him visibly struggle with a response. Maybe she was drunk, because she knew under any other circumstance she wouldn’t have suggested such a thing.
Bruce remained silent as he turned, pressed a few keys on the computer, watching the screen turn off, before he downed the rest of his wine. God, this woman was going to be the death of him. “Alfred,” he began, clearing his throat and pulling the collar of his shirt away from his neck. “I can have Alfred show you the spare room.” He took a quiet, deep breath, hoping she wouldn’t hear him, before he turned back to her. “Unless you’d like to keep my bed warm,” he said, hoping a dose of flirting would make it appear as if everything was alright. Truth was, everything was not alright. In fact, everything was far from being alright. To say he wanted her in his bed was an understatement, but it was also an oversimplification of what he truly wanted. He wanted to get to know her, her story, and he wanted to show her the side of him only Alfred knew. He wanted to love her, but he didn’t know if he was ready to be rejected once more. So he would do the rejecting, making sure he kept her at an arm’s length, leaving him to his lonesome while she eventually moved on with her life.
“Bruce,” she warned, her voice stern as she narrowed her eyes at him. Bruce looked up, her beautiful brown eyes, hard and stern, contradicting the smile that played on her face. “I will accept your offer, but only to keep you from following me all night.”
Bruce nodded, his face remaining emotionless as he turned to place his empty wine glass alongside hers, grabbed his coat, and threw it on.. “Follow me Princess,” he said, leading her down the opposite end of the Batcave, a faint smile on his lips when she ascended the stairs in front of him.
He quickly followed her up the stairs and led her into his newest residence, letting her take a few extra moments to enjoy the scenery. He watched as she walked up to one of his glass walls, taking in the view of the lake, before he smiled again, thinking of their last walk along it. It was here that she had told him of Steppenwolf and his last invasion, before the Amazons, Atlanteans, and Man had banded together to drive him away. It was here that he found himself so enticed by her, unable to keep his eyes off her face, wanting to kiss her. Had it been any other conversation, he might have.
“Alfred,” Bruce called out, as he pulled off his coat and threw it over the back of one of the chairs.
Alfred quickly walked out from a room, a smile on his face when he saw Diana standing next to Bruce. “Ah, Ms. Prince, I assume Mr. Wayne hasn’t driven you crazy yet. What can I do for you?”
“Diana will be staying the night,” Bruce replied, giving Alfred a warning glance when the butler began to grin. “If you could please show her to the extra bedroom.”
Alfred looked up at Diana and grinned nonetheless, before giving Bruce a nod. “If you please follow me Ms.” he began, offering her his hand. Diana quickly accepted it, before Alfred looped her arm in with his, leading her down the hall and into the room.
Bruce watched the two of them walk away, before he took a seat and let out a sigh, letting his hand rub his tired face. He was definitely too old for this.
He quickly made his way to his own room, needing a good night’s sleep after everything they had been through.
Bruce cringed when he heard that familiar cackle. It had haunted his dreams, his every waking moment, and he couldn’t wait for the day when this maniac was gone. But for now he had a mission; find Jason. Save Jason.
Bruce couldn’t believe he had let Jason go off alone, only to be caught by Joker. He could only imagine what that mad man was doing to his protege.
“No,” he heard, his heart dropping when he recognized Jason’s voice. He was hurt. He was in pain.
Bruce turned the corner, his hand reaching into his belt and pulling out a batarang. He heard a loud noise and a table breaking, before he heard Jason scream.
Bruce continued to walk, however he felt as if he was getting nowhere, walking in circles while the world went on around him. Before he knew it, he heard an explosion. He turned his head, his eyes following the smoke that rose into the air. “Jason,” he whispered, running towards the blast, his heart stopping when he saw the rubble from the building. He quickly rummaged through the rubble, hoping to find some good news, however his heart fell into his stomach when he caught the flash of color. Jason’s uniform; Robin’s uniform.
“No, no, no,” Bruce began to chant to himself, as he rushed over to Jason’s lifeless body. He carefully moved the rocks and rubble off the boy, and carefully lifted him into his arms. Not wanting to accept his death, Bruce held Jason close, trying to find a pulse. He stood up, lifting Jason’s body, and began to weep. How could he have let this happen? He was supposed to keep him safe. He had failed Jason.
It was in that moment Bruce began to yell, not caring if the world heard his cries. He was angry, he was hurt, and he felt like nothing but a failure.
“Bruce,” he heard a faint voice say, before he let out another yell, holding Jason’s body closer. “Bruce.” He ignored the voice as it grew louder, more persistent. “Bruce!” Bruce let out a yell, trying to drown out the voice. He wanted to feel pain, he needed to feel pain. He deserved it. His yells grew louder, more urgent, but so did that voice. “Bruce!”
Bruce woke with a start, sitting up in his bed, panting as he tried to catch is breath. He was covered in sweat, his heart racing, as he re-lived one of the worst moments of his lives, aside from his parents’ murders. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to control his ragged breathing. When he opened them he realized Diana sat in front of him, her hands firmly placed on his shoulders “Bruce,” she said quietly, gently squeezing a shoulder as she looked him in the eye. “Breathe.”
She watched Bruce continue to take deep breaths, his labored breathing slowly returning to normal. He wiped the sweat off his brow, before wiping the last bit of sleep from his eyes, suddenly not tired anymore. She quickly glanced down at his shirtless body, a blush starting to form on her cheeks. She took back what she said about him striving for perfection; his body would make the Gods jealous. “What are you doing in here?” he asked, bringing her gaze back to his eyes.
“I heard you screaming,” she said, continuing to look into his eyes. She watched as he threw back the covers and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, before standing and walking over to the window. His gaze settled onto the lake, hoping it would bring him some sense of peace; it did not.
“Go back to sleep Diana,” he said, refusing to turn to face her.
Diana stared at his back, her eyes sad. She knew what a broken man looked like, and Bruce was the perfect description of one. She wanted to help him, wanted to let him know she was here for him, but he needed to let her in. “Bruce,” she began, stopping when he turned to face her.
He said nothing as he stared at her, trying his hardest not to smile at what she was wearing. She was dressed in one of the t shirts and basketball shorts he wore for quick workouts, no doubt thanks to Alfred. Even in an old tee she was breathtaking. “A bit casual for you,” he said, trying to switch the conversation.
Diana glanced down at her attire, a half-hearted smile on her lips, before she responded, “It’s comfortable.” She looked up once more and patted the bed space next to her, glaring at Bruce when he hesitated. “I’m not asking,” she said, watching as he let out a defeated sigh and walked over to the bed. He took a seat next to her, allowing her to gently place her head on his shoulder, before he took another deep breath. “Who was it?” she asked. She knew the dreams that followed the death of a loved one all too well, especially when the guilt weighed heavy on your heart.
“Diana,” he began again. He didn’t want to share his secrets. He didn’t want to corrupt her with the darkness he constantly found himself in.
“Bruce,” she said, interrupting him as she placed a hand on his thigh. She gave it a gentle squeeze, not needing to look at him to know he had the faintest resemblance of a smile on his face. “You can let me in.”
Bruce quietly placed his hand on hers and contemplated her offer. He had spent years shutting everyone out, avoiding getting too close to anyone in fear of going through the pain of another loss. But Diana wasn’t anyone. Diana was, well she was Diana. She was different. She was someone he could trust; someone he could love. “Jason Todd,” he answered. When he received no response he continued. “He was my partner, someone that trusted me to keep him safe, and I failed him.”
Diana interlocked their fingers and gave his hand a small squeeze. “What happened?”
Bruce gulped, unsure if he should continue, however he knew he was okay when he felt Diana’s hand on his forearm, letting him know she was there. “A mad man,” he said. “He got him alone, beat him nearly to death, and-” He stopped, trying to compose himself. “He killed him. Locked him in a warehouse and blew it up. I- I found his body.” Bruce dropped his head and let out a heavy sigh, letting Diana know he couldn’t go on.
She began to rub his arm softly, letting him know she was still with him. “You keep his uniform as a reminder?” she asked. She had noticed the small uniform on display when she had first visited Bruce and his hideaway, however Alfred had been hesitant to share anything about Bruce’s previous life, and she hadn’t dared ask Bruce anything personal. However, after what they had just gone through, saving the world twice, she knew he could trust her with his life, as she trusted him with hers.
Bruce nodded. “As a reminder.”
Bruce turned his face, finally meeting her eyes. “That the world is a dark, dark place,” he said, his eyes never leaving hers. “And you need to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
“A noble mission,” Diana said, glancing down at their tangled hands. “You fight a good fight Bruce,” she said, moving her hand from his arm to his face. “But you don’t have to fight it alone.”
Bruce, feeling Diana’s soft hand rest on his cheek, closed his eyes and gave her a faint smile. How did she manage to calm him in a matter of seconds? For years he had been tortured with the memory of Jason’s death, and in one night Diana had managed to make him see the light at the end of the tunnel; she was the light at the end of his dark metaphorical tunnel. “I know,” he said, placing his hand over the hand Diana had on his face. He opened his eyes, his smile widening when he saw her face inches for him.
Without another word he closed the gap and placed his lips on hers, knitting his eyebrows as he focused on their kiss. Something about having her lips on his sent chills down his body, making him feel things he had never felt before. She unlaced their fingers and brought her other hand to his cheek, cradling his head as she continued to kiss him. Her thumbs gently wiped the fallen tears from his face, as her lips curved into a small, yet noticeable, smile.
Bruce continued to kiss her, gently placing a hand on the back of her head, keeping her close, while his other hand fell to the small of her back. As quickly as he had kissed her, he pulled away, bringing his head to rest on her forehead. “Thank you,” he said, knowing no one besides her would have been able to soothe him the way she could. Just her presence alone made him feel safe.
Diana closed her eyes, getting lost in the feeling of being there with him. “No more hiding in the dark,” she said. It wasn’t a question, but rather a statement, letting him know she wasn’t going anywhere. She would help him through the darkness. She would be that light he needed.
Bruce nodded and pecked her lips once more. His feelings for Diana were real, and in that moment he knew she could be exactly what he was in need of. He had closed himself off years ago, afraid to lose anyone else, afraid to love anyone. He had assumed he was past the point of finding love, but with Diana he knew, there was always room for more.
I really hope everyone enjoyed this!
So with BvS and JL you don’t know where exactly Bruce’s new house is, so I figured it was close enough to the manor that the cave was still accessible. Let’s just go it it 😉