The next morning Dinah wakes to the smell of cooking tickling her nose. She smiles to herself. Clark must be cooking her breakfast. She rolls on to her back and stretches out some muscles.
Because of the way being a hero makes demands on her life Dinah really appreciates the times she can have normal like right now. Waking up in her boyfriend's bed after a night of passion...that's a normal everyday thing. Millions of women experience that.
Ok so her boyfriend is a superpowered alien but apart from that it's pretty normal.
Dinah snuggles back up under the covers and tries to enjoy the last few minutes before she has to wake up fully. She'll have to get up for work soon. Since she pretty much lived in Metropolis full time now she needed to earn a living and having thought about doing this for awhile decided to go ahead and do it.
She set up a martial arts school.
She has the skills why not use them and earn some money by teaching others.
Clark had been fully supportive of her saying if it is what she truly wished to do he was behind her 100%.
Dinah can hear the door to the bedroom open and soft steps walk towards her. The bed dips as a weight sits down and then warm lips kiss her gently on her shoulder.
"I know you're awake," Clark whispers to her.
"Hmm. Hmm. Your heart rate is different when you're awake from when you're asleep."
Dinah opens her eyes and looks at Clark with a curious expression. "You listen to my heart?"
Clark smiles adorably at her and places his hand over her chest and his fingers gently start to beat out the identical rhythm her heart beats at. "All the time. Every person's heart has its own unique pattern and I can hear them. Yours helps me sleep."
"Because it means I'm with the woman I really care for."
Huh. Dinah didn't know about that. Seems 4 months into this relationship and they still have new things to learn about each other. She sits herself up while Clark places the tray he brought with him on her lap.
Dinah smiles at the fact he always, without fail, places a little flower in a tiny vase, on the tray. She bites into her toast and glances at the clock on the bedside table. She almost chokes. "You let me sleep in!" she screams.
"You look so cute when you're asleep it would have been a sin to wake you up."
"Oh no. Your clever words won't save you this time. I have a school to open Clark," she chastises him.
"And you also have a boyfriend who can move at supersonic speeds and can get you there in seconds if you ask him," he calmly argues back.
"Oh. Good point."
"Did you forget?"
"No. I didn't forget. It is just I don't look at you Clark and see Superman. I see Clark Kent."
"There's not much difference between them Dinah," Clark points out. His brow then furrows. "Dinah do you want me to just be 'normal'?"
"What?" she asks, confused by that question.
"Do you want me to just be the human farmboy turned reporter Clark Kent?"
"No. Of course not. I told you I don't want you to be anything but yourself." Dinah pauses and tries to explain herself better. "I didn't forget who you are Clark. It is just more I look at you and don't really think about your powers because that's not what I'm attracted to about you. I like you the person. Is this making sense?"
"Also I'm use to being independent Clark. Doing things for myself and not relying on anyone."
"I'm not asking you to rely on me Dinah. I let you sleep because it was a late night and you simply need more rest than I do." Clark sighs. "Dinah there are always going to be these differences. I can't be human."
Dinah manages a smile. "Clark. Differences are what makes a relationship interesting. People who are too similar would bore each other silly."
"Is this an opposites attract thing?"
"No. That's a myth. People who are polar opposites from each other have nothing in common whatsoever and therefore have no basis to form a relationship...well not one that would last for any length of time. It's shades of grey. You need to have common interests yet be different enough to keep it interesting. Whether that's enough for it to work...that's the question no-one can have ahead of time."
"Are we working?"
"I like to think we are. I'm happy with where we are."
"I'm happy too."
"And you see how mature we are. We're sitting here talking about it instead of letting it fester and yelling at each other."
Clark looks at her oddly. "You take pride in that," he picked up from her tone.
"Hell yeah. Clark...we haven't talked a lot about our past relationships but for me...mistakes were made and I like to think I learned something from them."
"You yelled at me last week," Clark reminds her.
"I was having a bad day and sometimes your lame humour won't cut it no matter how cute you are."
"Oh I'm the one with the lame humour am I?"
Diana grins. He's not being serious. Banter. That's fun. "Yep."
"Well at least I have a sense of humour."
"I have a sense of humour Clark."
"Really? Well it's been 4 months and I'm still waiting to see it."
Dinah arches an eyebrow. "You do remember you told me about your weaknesses right?" she vaguely threatens.
"A vulnerability is not the same as being helpless...and I know your weaknesses too."
"Your ticklish feet!" Clark dives for them under the covers making Dinah squeal with laughter and happiness. The tray gets knocked over, not that either of them care. As Dinah assessed their relationship is still a work in progress and it's not perfect but at moments like this it doesn't seem far from it.
Secret Levels Underneath the Luthor Mansion...
Lex had worked with his scientists through the night and eventually managed to devise a method of tracking down the members of the Justice Lords. Lex's power disrupter would have left behind a very unique energy imprint, one that could be tracked, and now he had the location of where they currently were and conveniently they were all on one place which would make it a lot easier for Lex to carry out his plans.
Lex turns his gaze to Roulette, who is asleep, in a chair in the corner. He, forever being the gentleman, has a cup of coffee brought down for her by his assistant before he nudges her awake.
"Hmm?" Roulette queries still half asleep and the smell of coffee fills her nose.
"I've found them," Lex announces.
Roulette wakes up a bit more and takes the offered coffee. She takes a sip. "Where?"
"Alcatraz. It seems the government in their world reopened it especially to hold the Justice Lords for even without their powers they would be dangerous foes," Lex informs her of what he has discovered about the current situation of the now fallen dictators of the other world.
"And we're going to visit them?" Roulette seriously questions that based on Lex's description. Of course she isn't buying for a moment Lex just intends to go and say hello to them. He's plotting something.
"Come now Roulette. You dealt with dangerous people every day you ran your fight club. This is no different," Lex argues.
Roulette could think of several ways it did differ. No-one she worked with were totally heartless, brutal, tyrants who would kill without compunction. "I still don't understand why you want to see them," she says, seeing if she can get Lex to reveal anything.
"That I'm going to keep as a surprise for the moment," Lex says with an infuriating smile that says he is going to leave Roulette to just sit and wonder for awhile longer what he is really planning.
A few days later on Alcatraz, the Earth formerly ruled by the Justice Lords...
The island prison of Alcatraz had been transformed to hold the most dangerous prisoners on the planet. After their defeat and depowerment the Justice Lords had been returned to their Earth. As soon as the populace realised that those they had feared for so long, had imposed a brutal dictatorship upon them, had lost their powers they were inevitably arrested...although they put up a hell of a fight even then.
Wonder Woman in particular made sure several paid with their lives when they tried to take her. Especially the one who betrayed them on that other world after he had a sudden pang of guilt or something as near that preposterous an idea considering he was at the forefront of what they did up to that point.
Diana had cursed Bruce many times since his betrayal. Helping the Justice League and Luthor defeat them. Even after Bruce's death she still cursed him for leaving them all where they now are. Diana's only comfort had been she had made sure he paid with his life for his betrayal.
Even without her godly gifts she was still an Amazon who, by nature, are quite a bit stronger than your average human. Combine that with her equal to none combat skills and taking her down had not been easy but eventually numbers told and her allies, now as powerless as her, were unable to assist her in any way.
Batman assisted in attempting to subdue her. Just before she was overwhelmed she struck a fatal blow with a knife to his jugular. As she fell unconscious she had that small victory and feeling of justice to keep her.
The trial that followed their capture...if you want to call it that, was a farce. Show trial. Each member of the Justice Lords knew they would be found guilty of murder, assault, treason, crimes against humanity and a hundred other made up charges.
Since that day they had been locked up here, rarely seeing other, in fear that they might plan an escape and restore their powers if left too long in each other's company.
Right now a tall woman with short black hair dressed in the standard orange prison uniform kneels before the alter they allowed her to have in her cell as she prays to her Gods.
"Blessed Hera hear my pray..."
She stops because Diana can't remember the last time any of her Gods answered her prayers. Her hands clench into fists and she smashes them down onto the alter which shudders under the force but does not break.
Why had her Gods forsaken her?
Hadn't she done what they asked of her?
Hadn't she brought peace, order and discipline to a world sorely in need of it.
Tyrant. Murderer. Monster. She had been called all these things but she just did what had to be done and what thanks did she get?
Thrown into this cell to rot for however long she lived. With her powers gone she was most probably mortal now. She would die...and part of her almost welcomed it. Better dead than stuck in here. Better dead, where she can be reunited with the beloved she lost, than to continue like this, failing to do what she promised for him each and every day.
"Tsk tsk. I don't think that is how you pray."
Diana stiffens. That voice. She knows that voice. It mocks her in her sleep from her dreams. "You're dead. I killed you," she states in a low, controlled but nonetheless tense voice.
"Wrong Luthor," is the reply she gets.
Diana spins round to her feet and glares through the unbreakable glass of her cell door. "You," she hisses in rage as she realises who this is. This is the Lex Luthor responsible for her being here. The one from the other Earth.
Lex smiles. "Remember me I see."
"I dream every night of you suffering the same fate as your double," she says with venomous loathing of the man in front of her.
Lex looks amused. "I saw the video. Decapitation. Efficient...if messy." That is what happened to the Lex Luthor of this universe. Wonder Woman cut his head off.
"What do you want? Why are here? To mock me? Is that it? Go ahead. I've heard it all many times before."
"No Wonder Woman. I'm not here to mock you," Lex says calmly. "I'm here to help you."
Diana laughs with a bitter hollowness. "That's a joke," she assumes.
"Not at all," Lex assures her of his seriousness.
"You put me here!" she rages.
"Yes. I did," Lex confirms with no small amount of pride. "However that is only because you threatened my world. Promise me that you shall not ever again and I can help you."
"I don't make deals with people like you."
"No. You kill people like me but you haven't heard my full offer yet."
"And I won't," Diana dismisses him as she turns her back to him.
Lex continues to speak anyway. "The restoration of your powers."
Diana's brow drops. "Impossible," she denies that possibility. After all doesn't he think they tried in the period before they were captured. They tried everything they could think of and failed to restore their lost powers.
"You forget who created the device to take them away," Lex points out. "You don't think I can't undo my own work."
Diana turns to look this Lex Luthor in the eye. "What would you ask in return?" she wonders because there would have to be a price.
"Your assistance in a few small problems I have. Once done you can return to this world and reimpose your order upon it...for as long as you agree never to return to mine!"
"Why would I agree to this? I killed your double and if I could get my hands on you right now I would kill you," Diana swears.
"I'm sure you would but is retraining that impulse too high a price to pay to get back your powers...and not just yours."
The whole facility then shakes.
"What have you done?" Diana demands to know.
"Brought a few friends with me who are breaking out your colleagues. I'm certain at least some of them would agree to my terms."
Lex means he brought some members of his Injustice League who are right now freeing the Justice Lords.
Diana frowns. Her colleagues were not all as principled as her. No doubt they would agree to even the terms Lex Luthor would set down. Without her presence no-one would be able to reign them in. "Very well. I accept," she agrees, very reluctantly, to Lex's terms.
Lex smiles. "I knew you would see it my way."
"Don't get too cocky Luthor. I am not pleased about this."
"Would you prefer to stay here? Do you like being powerless? Sitting here while the world you tried to create reverts back to the way it was previously?"
Diana clenches her fists. All her hard work is no doubt wasting away as she rots here and as it unravels it all dishonours his memory. It was a torture worthy of Hades. Making a deal with this Luthor...it needed to be done because it could restore what she lost and allow her to make sure she can continue to honour her lost love. "I said I agree. I don't have to like it...or you!" she spits out in near hatred of Alexander Luthor.
"No. You don't," Lex agrees about how she feels. She doesn't have to like him. Only honour the deal. That's all Lex requires.
Lex reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small square device which he places on the electronic lock to Wonder Woman's door. It generates an electrical charge which fries it and the door opens.
Diana steps out...her first step to freedom. She looks at Luthor. She could snap his neck. She has the strength and skill...but she made a deal and she keeps to those. "How do we leave?" she asks.
"Follow me," Lex tells her and he breaks into a run with Wonder Woman following. Diana follows him into the open courtyard of the prison where she spots villains, most of whom they had gotten rid of in this world long ago, fighting the prison guards.
Grundy, whom Lex had once again had to free from prison, was smacking the guards around easily as bullets bounced off him. Killer Frost was freezing guards atop the walls and watchtowers. Diana feels sick to her stomach when she spots the double of Cheetah slicing guards to death with her claws. Cheetah had been one of Diana's most persistent and dangerous foes until she woke up and did what was necessary to end the rivalry once and for all. Seeing the twin of her bitter enemy here brings all those old hates back to the surface.
Diana takes a moment to calm herself as she sees a whole plethora of other villains fighting the guards to create a safe space in the middle of the courtyard. She is already beginning to regret this deal. Diana turns her attention to the group gathered together beside an Asian woman in a red dress that consist of her fellow Justice Lords.
"Yo! Diana!" Wally West shouts out to her and Diana manages a smile at seeing the red-haired young joker of the team. She had rarely seen any of them in so long.
Lex moves to Roulette, who had been organising his Injustice League for the prison break after he finally let her in on what they were doing. She is very good at organising and planning. Lex takes another device from his pocket, a remote control for the portal generator and activates it.
Diana watches on as the portal opens. Here they go again to that other world. She hadn't thought it that good an idea the first time round but had been talked into it by her friends. It was a mistake Diana had come to realise. Other worlds were not their concern. They should have stayed focussed on this one alone. If this deal restores their powers Diana will make sure that from now on this world is the only one they care about.
Coming up next to Diana comes Dinah Lance with her blond hair cut as short as Diana's own raven locks. "This is a bad idea," Dinah expresses her opinion of seeing Lex Luthor of all people and having it explained what was going on.
"It's better than rotting in prison Canary," is all Diana can come up with to justify this at the moment.
Dinah could not argue with that she guessed. Also she supposed this gave her a chance to confront her double who helped defeat her in the first place. Dinah had been wishing for a long time to settle up with her counterpart.
The image in the portal clarifies.
"Time to make our departure!" Lex announces to not only the Justice Lords but his own Injustice League members as well.
The Injustice League members form a perimeter holding off the authorities until the Justice Lords, Lex and Roulette are through before they follow. Lex shuts the portal down.
Diana looks around the lab they find themselves in and wrinkles her nose in disgust. Smells awful. Smells like crime and corruption. The same crime and corruption she and the Justice Lords had all but eradicated back home. Worse than that it smells like Lex Luthor...but a deal's a deal as Lex himself would say so she'll tolerate it.
"Welcome to my humble abode," Lex welcomes his guests.
"Humble?" Hal Jordan scoffs at that. Hal who was no longer the ladies man he used to be. The tough conditions in prison, where beatings from the guards were a fairly regular occurrence, had left a hardened, angry and bitter man in the place of where the old charismatic Hal Jordan use to be.
Diana steps forward. She could sense the unease amongst her compatriots but they were powerless and surrounded by Luthor's minions. She must keep everything calm until they receive their powers back. "We have a deal Luthor," she reminds him.
"Which I will uphold...when the moment is right," Lex then suddenly adds with a sly grin teasing at his lips.
"I knew it!" Wally roars. "I knew you would double cross us!" He makes a motion to attack Lex but is stopped by J'onn, now permanently stuck in his native Martian form.
After Diana herself, J'onn could see patience was needed. They needed to be tolerant and endure whatever humiliations Lex would impose...but once they got their powers back all bets were off.
"Let me go J'onn!" Wally shouts as he struggles. "We need to be rid of him just as we got rid of our Luthor!"
Lex chuckles amused. "Ah the impertinence of youth," he remarks while he mentally remembers the man's appearance. This little venture will give him vital information on the identities of some of the Justice League...although so far he had noted they had all been careful not to call each other by their real names. They were not stupid. Lex would credit them that much.
"Flash. Calm yourself," Diana commands in that tone of hers that could bring anyone into line. Wally's expression still shows his anger but he stops trying to get to Luthor. "All that was agreed was that Luthor would restore our powers. There was no timetable so we can give him some leeway," Diana tries to calm the situation down.
"Well said," Lex praises her. He then clicks his fingers and joining them in the room come many members of Lex's personal security. "These fine gentlemen will escort you to your rooms. Please do as they ask. I would hate for any of you to suffer an accident," he says with a veiled threat.
There is grumbling and many severe looks but Diana stares it all down as her colleagues are escorted to their rooms. Diana stays behind last. "Word of advice Luthor the leeway we will give is not infinite," she warns him.
"It won't need to be," Lex replies. "Just some time to acquaint you with the changes in this world since you were last here and the tasks I will ask of you."
Diana's blue eyes narrow as she looks at Lex coldly and with deep mistrust. The sooner this deal is over the better she will feel and the sooner they can get home and reimpose their order and discipline and all those that turned against them, who mocked them, who put them on trial and imprisoned them, they would pay a high price. Diana would restore her fallen beloved's legacy. This she swears.
Back in the world they left the warden of Alcatraz prison stands in the courtyard looking at the empty space where the Justice Lords vanished, his stare blank in complete shock. "My god, my god, my god," he repeats over and over in a strained disbelieving whisper at what his eyes are beholding. "They're free. God help anyone who comes across them. God help us all," he utters as a prayer now that the most dangerous prisoners in the world are once more at large.
Author's Note: And so the Justice Lords are free once more but has Lex bitten off more than he can chew thinking he can use them? Thanks to everyone who wrote reviews. Next up; Clark and Dinah have a spat while Lex reveals the first task he has planned for the Justice Lords...only one of them has her own plans.