Trying to get the creative juices flowing once again. Hope you all enjoy!


J'onn paused to lay a hand on his friend's shoulder as an offer of comfort to the Amazon hero that was seated with a look of pure concern etched onto her face. At the moment, the hand was the only truthful comfort that he could offer. He knew that any words offered would be at best uncertain, and he didn't want to unintentionally mislead her. He took a deep breath in, gathering himself to find something, anything to say that would help ease her mind, but knew that words from him wouldn't be able to do enough for her. Only one thing could do that now. "I'll return to check on his progress periodically Diana." J'onn finally said to break the silence aside from the hissing and beeping noises that came from medical equipment. More specifically, the equipment attached to him.

Diana didn't even flinch upon hearing J'onn's words. Her focus remained solely on the man lying on the medical bed in front of her. His condition was critical still, but for the moment it was also stabilized. When her Martian friend realized that she wasn't going to reply, he removed his hand and walked to the medical wing door. He paused as the door slid open, looking back at his friend. "You should try talking to Superman." He suggested. "He's taking this as hard as anyone else."

At those words, Diana's attention turned toward her friend standing at the doorway. The look of concern had vanished, replaced now with a look of pure outrage and fury. "He doesn't want to hear what I'd have to say to him right now." She responded darkly, quietly. Then just as quickly the anger was gone again, once again returning to the concerned look before she turned her focus back to the man on the bed.

J'onn's shoulders slumped. He knew that Diana wasn't happy with Superman's decisions, but didn't want to believe that she actually held him responsible for the aftermath of what had started off as a mission seemingly no different from any other. He knew that Superman was hurting too, and in Diana's current state she was very likely almost correct. The only thing that was wrong with her assessment was that it wasn't about what Superman wanted to hear. He'd been ridiculed, frowned upon, and protested before. The difference this time would be that he didn't need to hear what Diana apparently had to say, and that line of thought caused the Martian to seek out another ally in need of help.

Superman wasn't difficult to find. Even without telepathy it wasn't hard to find him. There were five likely locations on the Watchtower where one could locate the Man of Steel if needed. He very likely didn't have an appetite and so wouldn't be in the commissary. He wasn't scheduled for Monitor Duty, so the Monitor Womb was also out. There were no scheduled meetings for him to be in a conference room, and after what had happened; he'd be too restless to have confined himself into his personal quarters. That left the Observation Deck.

Sure enough, there he was with his arms crossed over his broad chest while staring out at the Earth. His head seemed to be hanging lower than normal though, despite being aware of having company thanks to J'onn using the door instead of phasing through a wall. Not that it mattered either way. Superman was almost as perceptive as Batman when it came to noticing a presence around them. "It was my fault, J'onn." Superman announced, catching the Martian off guard slightly.

"No Superman." J'onn disagreed. "It was an accident, and I'm certain he'd tell you the same if he could."

At that, Superman turned his head to reveal the emotions he'd been dealing with up to that point. "That's what Lois tried to tell me." He replied in barely a whisper.

"She is truly an intelligent woman." J'onn came back with.

"She wasn't there!" Superman shouted as he pounded on the window in front of him that separated him from space. "All I had to do was listen, and this wouldn't have happened."

"You can't know that." J'onn argued. "We each of us are all aware that there are risks which come from taking a proactive role in protecting the world. Batman knew this better than most. And even his planning can't account for every possible outcome."

"This is different J'onn." Superman countered as his eyes fell to view his feet. "My actions are the cause this time. And it might have cost me a good friend."

"We still don't know that yet either." J'onn offered. "Batman's condition has stabilized, or I wouldn't be here standing next to you now."

"So, he's going to be alright?" Superman asked as he turned to face J'onn, his eyes holding onto a sliver of hope that Bruce would be alright.

J'onn wanted to reassure his friend that Bruce would in fact be fine, but he knew that like with Diana, misplacing such hope could be more damaging if he turned out to be wrong. He instead took in a deep breath, knowing that he had to answer the question regardless. "At this moment, it's hard to tell for certain." He explained. "The next twenty-four to forty-eight hours will be the most critical. Batman has a strong heart, and I believe that if he makes it through that window of time then the odds of him recovering will vastly improve."

Superman's look went from hopeful to hard upon hearing J'onn's words. "If this window of time is so critical, then shouldn't someone be in there monitoring him during it?"

"Diana has been at Batman's side ever since the surgery ended." J'onn informed. "She refuses to leave him, and if something were to occur, she will notify me immediately. With her current state of mind, I thought it best to provide her with some privacy. I still intend to check on Batman's status periodically, but I doubt there is anyone that can coax her from leaving his side."

Superman turned back to the window, staring out into space. His thoughts were overwhelming to J'onn and try as he might, he couldn't help but to hear Superman's silent plea that Diana would find it in her to forgive him for his mistaken actions. She will Superman. J'onn reached out to tell him telepathically. She knows deep down that it was an accident.

"She didn't seem to believe that when it happened J'onn." Superman replied, thinking about what had transpired to cause harm to one friend physically, and quite apparently another emotionally.

~~ Prior to the mission ~~

Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman were situated on a nearby rooftop to a LexCorp facility that was dug into the side of a mountain. Batman was peering through his binoculars, inspecting the perimeter security. "I don't suppose you can see any security measures inside the building can you Kent?" He asked nonchalantly.

Superman brows furrowed as he focused on his x-ray vision. He scanned every wall that he could, and even attempted to see through the mountain. He just knew that Batman would be asking that next. "Looks like Lex lined every wall with lead, even the ones that go into the mountainside."

"Figured as much." Batman responded. "On the outside, I can see he's got some sentinel droids, armed guards, gun towers to the north and south ends, and turrets to the east and west. It's obvious that he doesn't want any intruders seeing what's inside."

"It's more than likely that the level of security inside will be just as high as it is outside, if not more so." Diana added. "Superman and I can likely take out the turrets and evade detection, but that still would leave the armed guards, droids, and towers to deal with."

"And if Lex has truly found a way to synthesize Kryptonite radiation into projectile firing weapons like you're contacts have informed you Kent, then we need a different approach to keep anyone from sounding an alarm if at all possible." Batman responded. "I'll handle the turrets on the east side; you and Superman take out the gun tower on the north and wait there for my signal. I'll get inside and see if there's any truth to the rumors. Once I'm in, give me ten minutes, and if I don't report back send Diana in. We can't risk you going in if there is Kryptonite powered weaponry inside."

"Fair enough, ten minutes it is." Superman agreed.

Batman watched as Diana and Superman flew off in the direction of the north tower. He'd picked it due to it being the highest point of the four corners, sitting on the mountainside. Once they made their move, he shot out his grapnel, and swung over to the first set of turrets. He made quick work of disabling them before working his way around to handle the rest. He moved silently, making certain not to be detected by the ground forces stationed below. Once all the turrets were down, he gave a cursory look to the north tower and saw that Diana and Superman had successfully taken out the guards there. This was their chance to see what the bald headed megalomaniac was really up to.

Diana watched intently as Batman found an access point on the east wall. He made short work, disappearing behind it quickly, and she began a mental countdown of the previously requested ten minutes. Superman was observing on the opposite side of the tower. With Batman already inside, Diana glanced over to her friend, only to notice him become instantly rigid. "What is it Kal?" She quietly asked.

"Luthor." Superman growled as his hands started to crush the railing he'd been gripping. "He's here."

Diana joined him at the other side of the tower, and sure enough on the west side was an expensive vehicle stopped with Luthor standing at the opened back door. She had no warning whatsoever as Superman leapt into action, heading straight toward his dangerous adversary. She knew then that Batman needed to be apprised of the situation and opened a comm channel. "Batman, Superman spotted Luthor and took off to engage him. You'd best make a quick exit before the alarms are set off."

"On my way." She heard Batman growl before the line was disconnected. Diana looked back over to Luthor's direction and found him still standing with Superman now on the ground and in obvious pain. Luthor's bodyguard had pulled out a weapon and fired it, and it was easy to discover that this was indeed one of the weapons fueled by Kryptonite radiated ammunition. She knew that she had to help her teammate before it was too late, and she jumped directly into the fray.

~~ Present time ~~

Superman noticed that J'onn had left him with his thoughts as he was alone once again on the Observation Deck. He released a sigh, and turned on his heels. He had a mission report to file, and a friend to check on with an angry Amazon keeping watch.

After sufficiently writing and filing his mission report, Superman wandered by the entrance to the medical wing a few times. His mind was wavering over whether he should enter or not. He was certain that Diana would still be there, and that caused him to hesitate as he expected a firm discussion over the actions he'd chosen to take during the mission would occur. He didn't want to get into a heated discussion when Bruce was lying there, and among the many things that he needed in his current state was rest. On the other hand, he was Superman's friend, and in the end that had to take precedent over any uncomfortable situation.

Superman took in a deep cleansing breath of air and stepped up to the door, waiting only briefly for the doors to slide open and grant him entrance. Sure enough inside the first ICU recovery room was Bruce lying on a medical bed with Diana seated next to it and by that means him. She turned to steal a glance at the entrant, and a scowl immediately formed once she noticed just who it was.

"How's he doing?" Superman asked, both equally out of concern as well as wanting to focus on the main issue of Batman's health instead of mistaken judgment calls made by him.

"As well as can be expected after being shot in the chest with a radiation drenched, armor piercing round." Diana growled before returning her focus to the injured man lying in front of her.

"You know what I meant Diana." Superman barked in an exasperated half whisper before calming himself down. "Look, I'm sorry. I made a mistake going after Luthor instead of waiting until everything was clear. I just…"

"It wasn't just that Kal." Diana fired back, interrupting him. "Not only did you deviate from the plan, but your actions of breaking rank knocked over the robot that shot Bruce."

"Don't you think I know that Diana?" Superman heatedly responded, his ire temporarily rising again. "But there's nothing I can do about it now no matter how much I wish I could take it back. I've said I'm sorry and I meant it, but Bruce above all the others know the risks that are involved in this business. And everyone else knows that he readily takes on more risks than any other heroes. Every time regardless of the situation he's also always been the one that bounces right back up whenever he gets knocked down."

"I know that." Diana spat while firing a glower directly at him. "But I also know that Bruce doesn't have any special powers, and there's only so much a person can take. For all we know, today could've been that day. You want to know how he's doing!? He's in a coma Kal. His heart was hit by the bullet and as a result of that he lost a lot of blood. According to J'onn, the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours will tell if he will make it. And after the little time that I've…"

Diana paused in what she was saying, but Superman clearly noticed how there were tears forming around her eyes even though she fought to keep them from falling. He knew that Bruce's condition was still critical, but now he was taking notice of Diana had been holding onto one of Bruce's hands possessively. And her mentioning of the little time…"Oh, Diana." He gasped. "I…I'm so sorry. I didn't realize that you and Bruce…"

Superman instantly closed the distance between the two good friends and placed a hand on Diana's shoulder as a sign of offering comfort and strength. Her head bowed as her shoulders slumped under his touch. "I'm sorry Kal." She managed to choke out in a whisper. "Bruce warned me about this, but I never thought that it would be possible to lose him so quickly after only having been with him for a few short weeks."

Upon hearing her words, Superman pulled Diana up into a hug. "You haven't lost him Di." He softly stated. "Bruce is strong, and he'll make it through this."

"I hope so Kal." Diana confided as her emotions finally began to spill over the protective inner damn she'd built for herself. "But I also hope that he doesn't take this as a sign that we shouldn't be together. I know you never meant to cause Bruce harm, and I shouldn't have lashed out at you."

"No, don't be concerned about that." Superman responded. "You're handling this better than I would be if Lois were in there instead of Bruce." At that thought, Superman hugged Diana just a little tighter as he now wanted to go down to hold Lois. His thinking instantly moving to just how fleeting life could be at times.

Superman slowly released his hold on Diana before taking a step back and returning his hand to her shoulder. "If you need anything, anything at all just let me know." He offered.

Diana nodded as a sign of gratitude and stayed in that same spot until Kal exited, leaving her alone once again with Bruce.

The following morning J'onn came back to the medical wing so that he could check on Batman's condition. He took note that Diana had barely moved from the position she'd been in at Batman's side each time he'd come in through the night. She was still watching him as the machines continued to assist in his breathing, his chest slowly rising only to fall before repeating the process. She was also still holding his hand despite the clammy feel of it instead of the warmth she'd felt at different times within the three weeks before.

J'onn then noticed how Diana was avoiding making eye contact with him intentionally, and found that was due to them being tinged in red puffiness. He could sense that she also had a feeling he'd want to talk about Superman, and really didn't want to rehash that subject so soon.

Diana knew from the way J'onn was looking at her that he could sense how her emotions were still running rampant. She knew deep down that Kal had only acted on instinct, not thinking about how Luthor had apparently spent money on a facility just to set up a trap. Even the information he'd leaked out had been meticulously done in a manner that even Bruce hadn't picked up on the likelihood of it being purposely done. But still, Kal's actions had inadvertently turned the mission into a scramble of dodging radiated bullets from new "experimental" weapons.

"There's no change in his status." J'onn announced, which caused Diana to reluctantly finally look his way. Before she could verbalize a response though, he held up a hand to subdue her and continued. "No change at this point is a good thing Diana. Actual improvement won't be truly noticeable until after another day or two."

"What about his mind J'onn?" Diana asked, looking for any positive. "Is it at least active?"

J'onn let Diana see his eyes as they began to glow a bright orange. Even though he'd already performed this task, her seeing it would be beneficial to her own psyche as much as anything else. After a few moments, his eyes returned to normal, and he glanced down at her. "Although faint, I can sense that his mind is still active. He is still with us."

Hearing that caused Diana to relax ever so slightly, but that was paramount to before. She'd been incredibly rigid with concern before she'd even arrived carrying Batman in her arms. In fact, J'onn had never seen such worry from her before. Perhaps talking about what occurred would help you? He asked by reaching out to her mind with his telepathy in hopes of getting her to open up. Upon seeing her not balking at the notion; he grabbed another chair and pulled it up in front of her own. At that point there was a hint of hesitation from her, but she soon started going over what had happened.

~~ Flashback to the battle, Diana's POV ~~

There were robots seemingly coming out of the woodwork. Even though the three known as the Trinity of the Justice League had wanted to remain in the shadows, I couldn't help but to feel the thrill of excitement toward the battle they were currently engaged in. Lex had spared no expense in setting up his ruse to lure Superman in, and had he come alone it would've worked to perfection. But Superman had learned over the years that two heads were always better than one, even if that one was virtually invulnerable. It was a weakness that Lex had successfully exploited before, but now he was finding that Superman was adapting and taking advantage of his own resources. In this case his friendship with Batman and I.

Batman had taken on the part of keeping the soldiers and approaching droids at bay. A smoke bomb here, an exploding batarang there, and everything he did seemed to be orchestrated to allow the big guns the chance to focus on the large eight legged cybernetic robots that were mounted with a wide array of weapons including the ones that had brought them there in the first place. Neither Superman nor I wasted a moment to engage them, and in the beginning we functioned like a well oiled machine. Superman slammed into the nearest one, and I blocked a radiated bullet that had been aimed at the Man of Steel before using my lasso to tie up another robot.

It was when the numbers increased dramatically that things began to turn from our favor. One wall of the facility came crashing down, forcing Bruce to run for cover rather than stay and be crushed. With the wider opening, the robots then could come out in sets of ten at a time instead of three. With the greater number of opponents and angles to cover, I couldn't block all of the projectiles being fired at myself, and that left Superman vulnerable as well. He wasn't accustomed to evading gun fire before, and so it took a few direct hits before he started looking for cover in order to let the radiation run its course through his body.

Batman meanwhile managed to fling another explosive batarang at an approaching robot that was coming in for a likely kill shot on the Man of Steel. The explosion he caused wasn't enough to destroy it, but the blast did knock it off balance to the point where it stumbled back a few steps. Superman having caught his collective breath, took that moment to fly into action once again before another robot could get the same opportunity. He used his heat vision to cut through the legs of the batarang damaged robot, and ripped off another leg before using it like a spear to pierce through the next closest one to him.

Batman didn't waist any time, going immediately back to work on the ground forces, making his way over closer to me. "They're pinning us in." He said once he was in hearing distance. "We need to regroup before they overtake us."

I swung a droid into an approaching robot before responding to him. "I'm open to suggestions at this point, but perhaps we should try getting to a position where we can bottleneck their advancement."

Batman nodded and glanced around while I covered for him until he spotted an acceptable area. "Let's work our way into the mountainside portion of the facility. The robots seem to have stopped coming out, and that should provide us with some cover." Batman offered, and I nodded before beginning to work towards clearing a path in that direction.

It took some work, but soon we both had made it to an entry point right below the base of the mountain. By the time we'd managed to work our way there, Lex had finally noticed and appeared to be working towards countering our movement. He'd been too late though in taking such an action with his primary focus having been on taking down Superman. Batman was able to radio Superman in, and once he joined us at the entrance the advantage was once again ours.

The bottleneck worked just as we'd hoped as the mountainside provided us with the added protection needed to ensure that we couldn't be completely surrounded. When the numbers dwindled down to just ten remaining robots and only a few ground forces, Lex decided to cut tail and retreat as he knew it was only a matter of time before he too fell. Superman saw his attempt to retreat and that was when it happened.

Batman called out to him, trying to get Superman to remain in formation with us, but to no avail. He'd already grabbed hold of the leg of a still standing robot, and spun around before violently swinging it into another that had been preparing to fire at him. The second robot came crashing down while it's weapons were still releasing their deadly projectiles. I'd managed to block a stray projectile that was headed in my direction, and then I heard the thud and Bruce's grunt following it.

He stood there seemingly stoic for a few seconds, but then he turned his head to look at me before weakly tossing another explosive batarang up over my head where it struck another robot that had been closing in. I turned and flew upward, slamming my fist into the midsection of that robot causing the metal to buckle inward and a crease to open up. I reached in quickly and yanked some wiring apart which caused the offending machinery to collapse. When I looked back to him, Batman had dropped to his knees and was falling back until his body was lying in an awkward position. "Batman!" I screamed as I instantly flew over to him. Superman heard me at that point and quickly tossed the remaining two robots into each other, and finally ending the threat.

The one robot that had struck Batman was still lying on the ground and firing its weapons until Superman had to have realized that it was the one which had struck his friend. He quickly tore it apart before flying back over and landing next to us. "Batman." He called out as he knelt down on the opposite of Bruce from me. "Are you alright?"

As Bruce was coughing up blood by this point, I tried to coax him into relaxing and conserving his energy. Still he tried to form words in between coughs, but couldn't quite manage it. "Oh God." Superman announced. The round pierced through his armor and hit his heart."

"Wonder Woman to Watchtower." I called out after placing my hand to my communicator. "Two for immediate transport to the medical bay. My location. Have J'onn meet us there. Batman's been hit."

~~ Present time ~~

"The rest you already know J'onn." I said in finishing my recollection of what had transpired.

"Then it was truly an accident." J'onn surmised what Diana was certain he had already concluded.

"It was an avoidable accident J'onn." Diana corrected. "Had it been anyone other than Luthor, Superman would've held his position like he should have."

"While I do agree with your opinion Diana, you have to accept that Superman's actions are only being questioned because of Batman's current condition." J'onn responded. "Had he not been struck, no one would be questioning his actions. You must also consider how many times Superman's actions in the past have been the right decision to be made in other battles."

Diana gave him a glare that would've made Bruce proud for a moment, but she soon softened, and sighed. "I know you're right J'onn. This is the second time that I've allowed my emotions to get the better of me. I just can't stop thinking about how afraid I am at the possibility of losing him after only being with him for a few short weeks. It's just that after all the pursuing, and finally having broken through all Bruce's defenses I 've had such little time with him."

"That is part of the reason Batman initially wanted to keep you at arm's length." J'onn offered. "He didn't want to cause you this much pain, and he knew that one day it would inevitably happen."

"Yes, I know J'onn." Diana huffed out, having gone over these arguments with Bruce time and time again. "But it's a pain I'd rather experience having been with him than the pain of losing a friend and not knowing what could have been. These past three weeks have been some of the happiest of my life."

"And that is why Batman changed his mind." J'onn stated confidently with a smile. "I'll be back in a few hours to check on his condition. Hopefully we have made it successfully through the worst of it already."

~~ 7 days later ~~

Diana opened her eyes at the sound of a groan from a familiar, yet well missed baritone voice. She picked her head up off the side of Bruce's medical bed, and found that her right hand was gently being squeezed his left. She smiled when she finally could look into his deep blue eyes. "Welcome back." She said softly.

Bruce looked around more with just his eyes than turning his head. "How long?" He managed to croak out.

Diana's smile grew upon hearing his first words. Of course the Batman would want to know how long he'd been out of commission. His drive to fight the good fight was one of the many attributes that caused her to fall for him in the first place. "Seven days." She answered while also sending a mental message to J'onn about Bruce's waking up.

Within moments the Martian came phasing through into Bruce's room, a small relieved smile gracing his features. "It's good to see you back." He stated as he began making the routine checks on the various monitors as a normal precaution. Once finished, he looked to the other two in the room. "Everything appears to be as expected, but you still have a long way to go before I would recommend taking on any physical activities. However in a few weeks, you should have fully recovered."

"Thank you J'onn." Bruce responded before looking at Diana fully for the first time. "Are you alright Diana?" He asked with some concern.

"I'm fine." She replied quickly. "Just haven't slept much is all."

Bruce then glanced over to J'onn, mentally asking for all the details of why Diana looked so worn down, only to receive confirmation that her having little sleep was most likely an understatement. He then returned to looking into her beautiful eyes and a smile that could bring any man to his knees. "I'm fine Princess." He said softly. "You should go and get some rest before you wind up needing a medical room of your own because of exhaustion."

"Don't worry about me Bruce." Diana retorted. "I can handle myself, and you should take your own advice. We nearly lost you."

Bruce heard the unspoken words from her, and it caused that same concern of his about their relationship to creep up, but he managed to squash it back down for the moment. "Fine, I'll rest so long as you do too." He countered.

"Deal." Diana responded before leaning in and pressing her lips gently against his.

J'onn took that as his hint to give the couple some privacy, and once the doors closed behind him, Diana smiled against Bruce's lips. "You know, after having gone though this I realized something." Diana confessed.

Bruce looked into her eyes, curious. "What's that?" He asked.

"Just how short time can be, and how often everyone takes it for granted." She answered. "And I need you to know that being with you, I've never been happier in my life. And…and I love you Bruce."

Diana was surprised to see what appeared to be relaxation gracing Bruce's facial features. "That's good Princess." He responded, which caused her to turn her head slightly out of confusion until he continued. "Because I love you too."


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