Pairing: WonderBat (Wonder Woman x Batman)
Rating: 14A / T
Universe: N/A – Reader’s Choice
Previous Chapter: <– Chapter 2
It was absolutely infuriating to stand still in that alleyway. Diana much preferred the aggressive stylings of an Amazon than the secretive methods of a detective, but she knew in her gut that revealing herself now would compromise the possible future strategies needed to deal with Bruce.
Even though she had genuinely hoped that this confrontation would be the end of it all.
The city of Gotham was bustling in its most lavish business district, making it difficult for her to pinpoint when the silence between her friends had ended. Clark’s confrontation was a misstep, a more emotional version of his civilian persona than anyone had ever seen, which made her wonder if this Bruce Wayne would notice the fury burning inside of his so-called ally. The possibility that they could be dealing with an imposter crossed her mind and she felt sick to her stomach before she finished processing the words.
Thinking that something had happened to him was troubling enough, but to imagine that he could have been replaced and stolen away at any point in the last few weeks without the Justice League ever noticing was a surefire way to make her wrap her arms around her waist, hoping she could hold herself up under the weight of such a feasible terror.
“Come on, Kal…” she whispered to herself in the hopes of encouraging him.
However, it couldn’t have been a mere coincidence that the conversation resumed after her hushed plea. “Quite possibly,” answered Clark Kent the reporter when asked if the mogul Bruce Wayne owned the company he worked for. “But I promise I’m not here to discuss that.”
The social facade he wore compelled Bruce to chuckle, but it was the direction in which his voice carried that nearly made Diana peek around the corner of the alley. “Well as much as I would love to stand here and totally not get caught saying something on the record, I’m needed inside.” Undoubtedly, he was beginning to leave the conversation without providing either of them with any kind of answer as to what was going on. Diana couldn’t see his facial expressions or his body language, meaning she couldn’t decipher if he was behaving genuinely with Kal.
“I’d love to schedule an interview with you sometime, Mr. Wayne!” the vigilant reporter shouted after the retreating CEO. His tone was crisp, proving that one of the talents that Bruce had over the amazing Superman was most definitely acting.
Diana never heard an uttered response, and for a single instance, she wondered why it felt as if the world had suddenly stopped. There wasn’t anyone on the street, no cars speeding past and no conversations to overhear. Somehow, in a city as frantic and volatile as Gotham, everything fell silent.
Diana looked to the sky as if she was praying to all of her gods to tell her what was happening…!
“Diana,” Kal grumbled in her ear.
“Here.” How swiftly her hand flew to her comms, as if she needed to use it similarly to a walkie talkie and press down on a button to participate in the discussion.
His voice was low and serious, twisted with something ill similar to devastation, “Something is wrong with him.”
“What?” Tossing her head over her shoulder, she waited for Kal to appear and join her in the alleyway. It was clear that he was on the move due to the gusts of air that coated his mouth piece whenever he spoke.
He confirmed he wasn’t returning to her side when he stated his own plan of action. “I’m going after Vicki Vale. She just spoke with him and I remember Bruce mentioning her before. Maybe her perspective can help us figure this out.”
That explanation wasn’t good enough for her. Diana refused to hold herself back as she nearly seethed into the communication link, “Figure out what, Kal?”
“Why Bruce’s brain has sustained a great deal of damage.”
Such a claim startled her, and justifiably so: apparently, this man was their Bruce, but only after having suffered through something kind of internal damage? It was imperative for her to know how he had reached such a conclusion, until Diana quickly recalled that Kal possessed x-ray vision. If he had performed an MRI-type scan on Bruce during their conversation and could see something frightfully wrong…
Diana swallowed a lump in her throat before answering him. “She’ll only be able to give you a superficial opinion of a chance in his personality. She isn’t a doctor.”
Perhaps his own shock was compelling Kal to behave irrationally, but he refuted her logic with the emotional impact that clouded his own. “I want to know what she noticed before we involve anyone else. I’ll contact you once I speak with her–.”
“Alfred.” Diana whispered his name as she recalled the heartbreak on poor Jason’s face when they last saw him in the BatCave. His behaviour made it seem as though he didn’t recognize one of Bruce’s own wards, that he was shaken to see him enter the manor through the secret doorway.
Could the person who harmed Bruce have also gotten to Alfred?
Could that person have done such damage inside of the manor!?
Was Jason in danger in that very moment, because they left him to fend for himself!?
Kal didn’t need to respond to her one-word remark. She knew without a doubt they were both terrified for the very same reasons. In her mind, it was time to turn fear into fervor. “I’m going to return to the manor.”
“Okay.” Was Kal’s reply through an audible sigh.
Their roles decided, Diana refused to sit with this restless energy any longer. It was no longer necessary to play the part of a professional business woman, so it was time to make use of the skills she had as an exiled Amazon. Her knees were barely bent when she leapt into the sky, but she cared very little about the landing as she looked out at the city from such a telling height.
In her mind’s eye, she knew that the manor was North-East from where they had positioned themselves next to Wayne Tower, and it was on the opposite side of Gotham. She had a far trek to make with very little time, her anxious mind warned her. Diana let herself fall down as she gauged the elevations of the different rooftops that had decided her path before falling onto the restaurant that she had been facing while in the alley.
Then, she took off in a way that would make Barry do a double take.
Diana avoided the commercial skyscrapers as she tore through the city like a bat out of Tartarus. She convinced herself that the cloud cover would be enough to hide her movements from the citizens down below. After all, it wasn’t uncommon for them to watch people hurl themselves from building to building, Wonder Woman imagined.
This was without a doubt one of her sloppiest moments as a hero, behaving like a common vigilante in this city, and yet her behaviour was something she was unapologetic for.
Traveling across Old Gotham through the air was rather simple and the breeze was undeniably refreshing, cooling against her heated flesh after spending her day fretting herself into a corner. It didn’t matter that she had been scared for Bruce for weeks – when it came down to a plan of action, she had behaved like she might have as a rebellious young girl, giddy while sneaking around Themyscira instead of doing her chores. Acting irrationally had been her worst trait, according to her mother, and in her own opinion when she reflected upon herself. But unlike reporter Clark Kent, Diana Prince had no skills or powers that could aid them in such a delicate situation.
Her civilian identity provided her with absolutely no benefits, and that was another hard truth she had been afraid to face.
It would make sense for Clark Kent to approach Vicki Vale.
It would seem entirely suspicious for Diana Prince to attempt the same thing.
Was it time to reinvent herself in the modern world once again? She loved her job wholeheartedly, she truly did. But it wasn’t something she could weaponize, and for that reason alone, her civilian identity had been an incredibly noticeable stumbling block today.
Acknowledging that made Wonder Woman throw herself over the Finger River without even glancing at one of the bridges she could have taken.
She needed to cut through Little Italy in order to charge past the East End and then traverse yet another river. Having put three districts behind her already, she still felt as if she wasn’t moving fast enough. In pushing herself to move like a airborne Flash, she cracked one of the heels of her Jimmy Choo’s and nearly wobbled onto her knees. Cursing, she wished she had switched into her armour before leaving the JLA Headquarters! She kicked them off of her feet without a single concern for the price tag attached to the famous shoes, with one of them flying into the metal walls covering a rooftop staircase exit.
Maybe a shoemaker would climb the steps and find a nice treat for themselves.
Diana couldn’t care about the heels she was leaving behind. She took off once again and found herself pushing off of concrete, of shingled rooftops with greater ease now that her weight didn’t rest on a pin-sized point.
It also helped when she dropped a few feet too many and ended up rolling onto the roof of the Black Bass Bar.
Her bare feet were even more of an essential when she needed to quickly dodge an arrow that had intended to strike her in the back.
Projectiles seemed to be a Gotham specialty.
It wasn’t unfathomable that she could outrun a random threat in a city of human and metahumans alike, inspiring Diana to locate the tallest building in the vicinity and hurl herself towards it without even looking back. It was arrogant of her to think that she cold escape the notice of the superpowered people as easily as she could the locals, and she had no doubt angered someone with some sort of gift. Unfortunately for them, she didn’t have the time to work out her aggression at that very moment.
However, just as Diana was about to touch down, she heard the familiar sound of a fired grappling hook hurtling towards her. Could her attacker be one of the Robins she wasn’t familiar with? Or was it someone who she would need to fight off if she dared to stop and check? She felt like such an alien in this city more so than anywhere else in the world, which she knew might cause her to risk making allies over trusting her individual skills.
But if she could recruit someone like Dick or Barbara to her cause, wouldn’t the risk be worth it?
Diana let her feet slide over the rocky rooftop, needing to slow down if she was going to make her mystery assailant’s acquaintance. In her gray power suit, hair slicked back in a ponytail and fist clenched, she was prepared to end any fight quickly enough if she had made the wrong choice to stop.
The caped person shot over the edge of the skyscraper and attempted to snipe her as they fell. Clearly, the archer had no idea who they were hunting, as she easily drew her right arm up over her face and let her bracelet slip free of her sleeve, protecting her with ease. A heavy breath filled Diana’s lungs as she feared that she had decided to waste time with this masked individual. Her patience worn thin, her goal was to grab them by the throat and dangle them over the edge if she needed to, threatening them to leave her be as a kind gesture.
Instead of beating them in a fight and leaving them to wallow in pain, alone on top of a skyscraper.
But before she could move, a rather confident insult was thrown at her with a similar intent as that arrow. “So do villains just think that a power suit makes them powerful now? Please tell me this isn’t your entire gang’s wardrobe?” The pitch she heard implied that the vigilante across from her was a female, meaning her only hope was that she was dealing with a Batgirl, not one of Bruce’s Rogue Gallery.
“I’m not a villain, but if you delay me anymore, I could become your enemy.” Diana cautioned her attacker, despite noticing the bat-like points on the side of their face mask. Perhaps violence was how the BatClan greeted one another?
“Big words for someone whose stomping around Gotham like she owns the place. Where you headed, then? Arkham is the other way.” The threat in her tone was meant to sound jovial, but combined with another fired arrow at Diana’s face and it was much too aggressive for her liking.
It was all she could do not to raise her voice and scowl at the apparent arrow enthusiast. “I’m not here for you.”
“No? You shook my building.”
Another arrow, another deflection.
“I did that–”
Two more fired, despite none of them landing thus far.
“For you–!” Tired of her sarcasm failing to land, Diana charged at her attacker at a blinding speed, teeth gritted and hands poised to grab hold of that cape. Somehow, her leap was dodged and Diana nearly went sailing over the side of the building. If not for the raised ledge along the side of the roof, she might have. Grabbing hold of it caused her shoulder muscle to twist but she used the momentum to swing herself over the building and throw her body weight down on top of the caped arrow-slinger.
The woman tried to perform a dodge roll of her own in order to escape Diana’s wrath, but it was almost too easy to do the very same thing and reach for her.
She didn’t grab her cape, or her shoes.
She grabbed that damn crossbow and broke it in half over her knee.
A punch was delivered to her jaw as an immediate response, and the sharp recognition of the pain urged Diana to lose control of her rage. She turned to look at her opponent and noticed that a heeled boot was about to sail into her face too. With an almost unfair ease did she grab hold of that ankle and stop it inches away from her cheek. The poor arrow slinger tried to wiggle free, despite the futility of her actions.
Empowered by her literal upper hand, Diana rose onto her bare feet slowly, precisely as if she wasn’t embodying a storm of emotions. She lifted her opponent into the air and, for safety reasons, decided to take hold of her other ankle too. Then, she decreed with a rocky tone. “I have much more pressing matters than teaching you how to realize when you’ve been beat.”
This woman was a fighter, that Diana could appreciate. Already, she could tell that she was trying to figure out how to get out of her grip, and she refused to remain defeated. On any other day, it would prove to be entertaining to battle her. Nevertheless, she needed to guarantee that their match was over, which required her words more than her hands.
“Would you consider yourself a friend of Batman’s?” Diana interrogated.
The question made her fight harder. “I wouldn’t, no. We have… argh, different methods.”
“In terms of what?”
“Of how to get the job done. Though, his opinion means very little when he’s not around anymore. If I’m picking up the slack, then I’ll take care of Gotham my way.”
Diana had heard enough. She dropped her opponent and watched her use her hands to cushion the fall that would have landed her on her head. Performing a backflip to escape each other’s immediate range, the masked woman was clearly gearing up to attack her once again. But enough was enough.
“I’m trying to help Bruce.” Diana admitted without any hesitation. Indeed, on the other side of the roof, the shocked woman had something clasped in her gloved hand that she was about to throw. However, the proclamation had startled her into stillness.
Suspicious, she asked. “How do you know his name? Who are you?”
“I’m Diana. And you?”
“Huntress.” Was her blunt answer, decisive in keeping her real name a secret. Diana had no issue with that, as she was just as protective of relating her superhero name to the way she looked when out of her armour.
Nodding, Diana merely carried on. “Batman hasn’t been protecting Gotham?”
A scoff was her immediate reply. “Have you seen him? It’s like he’s out to lunch, twenty-four seven. Crime has been on the rise for the last couple of weeks without him suiting up and I’m drowning in robbers and murderers and mafia all over the city.”
The more she learned about Bruce’s predicament, the worse she felt. Diana had no idea anything was going on for nearly a month, going so far as to ignore the reports about Gotham on the tv for fear of angering her friend further. In reality, he was the one in the greatest danger. Nothing was making sense but everything she was coming to understand was incredibly frightening.
It only made her wish she could soar to Jason faster.
First, she had to handle Huntress, hero to hero. “Thank you for taking care of Gotham. Batman and I don’t always have the same methods either, but sometimes, we have to do what’s necessary.”
That comment managed to garner a grin from the rather grumpy vigilante. “Heh, you get it. But I’m not the only one. In fact, I was planning on calling on an old friend of Bruce’s that could be of help to the both of us.”
The promise of aid in Bruce’s situation was all Diana had wanted from this encounter, and even if it wasn’t how she expected to receive it, the end result proved to be worth it. “I’ll come back as soon as I am done with another pressing matter. I’ll look for you, all right?”
The hands-on-hips pose that Huntress took seemed to be all too familiar to her. “And you’ll find me. I’m all over this city now. But please, either learn to fly or get a grappling hook of your own. Your jumping is going to startle the elderly.”
“If they had nothing to do with Bruce’s situation,” Diana teased as she turned to leave. “Then they have nothing to fear.” And on that note, she leapt off the skyscraper and carried on towards Wayne Manor.
As pleasant as their confrontation had ended, it did nothing in that moment to help her get to Jason, or Alfred for that matter. Something was going on at the manor and the effects had trickled over into all aspects of Bruce’s life, most definitely into his city.
However, Gotham wasn’t the only place in the world with its catastrophes, made apparent by the panicked voice of Arthur wailing in her ear suddenly. “Aquaman here! That damn sludge I collected from all of your cities? Well, it’s turning into a monster on its own!”
((Woo, this ended up being a long one, but I finished it! It was fun, introducing Huntress. And gee, I wonder who she is gonna call on for help? There are a lot of possibilities racing through Diana’s mind, and now that Clark has figured out that it IS indeed Bruce, we are working towards my goal for this story. Hope you enjoyed and you continue to stick around! ~ Maiden))