“…… You want me to do WHAT?!”
Bruce sighed and eventually laughed as Tabitha looked at him wide-eyed. He grabbed her hands and kissed them, only for her to quickly snatch them away and glare at him.
“What? You’ve come a long way from the rage-infested, cocky brat that waltzed into my building and fixed my security system…”
“… You thought I was cocky…?” she looked at him with all seriousness. He laughed more and grabbed her hands yet again.
“Stop interrupting me! I believe that… you need to put that part of your life behind you; it’ll make things a lot easier on you.” he tried to explain. She just looked into his eyes for a moment and looked away.
“… I don’t think I can… he’s the reason why I’m what I am now.”
“Some people like the way you are…” he made her look at him by gently tugging at her chin, “You’ve accepted the fact that you’ll never be normal… which can be overrated a lot of times. The next step should be to let him know that.” he finished explaining.
“… You like that I’m a Metahuman…?”
“I like you, period! I don’t care that you’re a Metahuman!” he smiled. She blushed and smiled back but sighed a bit.
“What if… I lose it..?”
“I have all the confidence that you won’t.”
She looked up at the building and let out a shaky sigh. The last time she was there, she had almost lost it. Two years after becoming a Metahuman, she had finally come face-to-face with the man who was responsible for the transformation: Gary First. Even with the fellow Justice League members surrounding her, even with the near completion of her rehabilitation, she had come so close to giving the man what she felt he deserved: a quick and very painful death. Now that she was going in alone, what would stop her from completing the job?
As she went inside and signed the visitor’s log, she realized that her new boyfriend was right; there were so many things that she had left in the past: the man formerly known as Alpha should be added to that list. She had finally accepted that being a Metahuman was who she was. Tabitha was actually afraid of admitting that to him as well as she was willing to let go of the past, trying to forget about what he had done to her.
She waited in the same room as she did a few years ago and thought more. How could she really just forget about what he had done to her? He had left her for dead, turned her late best friend against her, lied to her family and even tried to kill her; things like that were not easy to forget! She sadly thought that maybe she had agreed on seeing Gary and letting bygones be bygones only to satisfy Bruce.
There was something different about him, she noticed as he entered the room. For one, there was only one guard with him. Gary gave her a genuine smile as the guard closed the door. The man that stood before her was actually clean-shaven, with a fresh haircut. His once salt and pepper hair was now fully grey however his facial features looked more defined. His hazel eyes shone as he sat down across from her. Two things made her very uneasy: the guard was actually behind the door… and Gray wasn’t restrained to the chair. Tabitha mentally readied herself for any unpredictability.
“… I’m surprised to see you…” his voice was confident yet sincere. She switched glances from the lone guard outside the door and back to Gary.
“Why ain’t you handcuffed to that chair?” she wasted no time showing her concern. He gave her a light smile.
“Oh… a lot has changed about me since the last time we spoke. I’ve had time to think about what I’ve done and my mental state. Plus… I’ve stopped fighting the staff about taking my medication.” he confessed. She started to calm down and tried to relax in her chair.
“So… the meds are working…?”
“I have a much clearer mind than four years ago, if that’s what you’re asking. Which… I want to apologize for, by the way…” his apology actually threw her off guard. For years, she wanted to hear that apology. She knew that it really wouldn’t change the fact that she was a Metahuman… but at least she would have known that he was willing to apologize for putting her through hell; that he actually gave a damn. Tabitha sat there and stared at him blankly.
“… I… don’t understand…”
“I didn’t come here for no apology; hell, I wanted that four years ago!”
“… Oh. Well… now that my mind is clear… I realized that you deserved one. So… if you didn’t come here for an apology… what did you come her for? We’re not what someone would call the best of friends…” she was afraid that he would want to know. Tabitha shifted in her seat and stopped looking at him.
“Closure… I guess. I don’t know.” she sighed; she really wished that she had practiced some type of speech and that Bruce was there with her. Tabitha finally looked at him, “I’m never gonna be normal again and… I’m fine with that, now. I guess… I wanna know… why me…?”
“Oh… Tabitha… it wasn’t personal; it never was at first. I was picking really small units; ones that I felt wouldn’t set off alarms if something was to go wrong. I… never planned on anything really going wrong, to tell the truth… especially the machine malfunctioning. And, as far as me picking you… it was purely coincidental that you were that guy’s sergeant.”
“So… you had no intentions of killing me…?”
“… I panicked when the machine broke down and killed you. Had I been in my right mind… I would’ve revived you. But at the time… the only thing I was thinking about was the project.” he explained. She slightly nodded.
“I… I found out that you ain’t a real general…” she saw that his eyes widened slightly, “How the hell did you pull it off?” it was something that she had wondered for quite some time. With so much paperwork to go through, not to mention boot camp and training overall, she figured that it was absolutely impossible to trick any branch of service into believing that someone was a service member, let alone a high ranking general in charge of their own department!
“… How did you find out…?”
“Let’s just say a little birdie told me… a one-eyed birdie…” it made her slightly twitch thinking about the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization; she owed someone, anyone from there a quick jolt… that Russian spy especially…
“I see; you ran into Nick Fury. He probably told you that I wanted the formula to be dispensed to all military personnel. He was right; I felt that it shouldn’t have been allotted to a special handful. So, I came up with a plan to steal the formula and disperse it myself; I knew how to do it. But… in order for that to work, I needed to look and act the part. There was an employee who worked there; a simple engineer. I knew that he was former military and… I befriended him. He taught me everything I needed to know. But, the icing on the cake? His wife…”
“His wife? What; the three of ya were in some sort of sick… weird orgy or something?” she asked, making a face. Gary laughed a little.
“Oh. Oh; she was an officer…”
“No. She made fake IDs. I offered the two an amount that they couldn’t refuse as well as a guaranteed job placement elsewhere for him.” she didn’t hear the rest of his words. She had stiffened up, becoming upset that she hadn’t put two and two together sooner; it couldn’t be…
“… T-The husband and… wife… you know where they’re at…?”
“I remember when I gave them the money, he said that it came at the right time; she got a job offer to teach back in her hometown; I guess she was some sort of teacher or professor. I, um… well… it was the reason why I had your body dumped there; not to send them a message directly but… it was just a sick reminder for me that it was because of them that I was truly able to do what I did.” he explained. She had a sudden sickness that started in the pit of her stomach and tried to make its way to her throat; she swallowed hard to ease it back down, “I don’t know if she still makes fake IDs but… with their quality, I highly doubt that she stopped. I gave her at least a couple of grand for one ID, alone.” he finished. She slightly panicked as her sight blurred a little; she was trying really hard to hold down the contents in her stomach, alone. Another hard swallow and she forced herself to focus on him.
“D-D-Did they… k-know about… your plans…?”
“Oh, no. The first rule of thumb when it comes to planning things like that: tell no one else. The only thing that they knew was that I needed fake IDs. She was worried when I told her that they needed to be military but I assured her that I was no terrorist! Are you… okay?” he finally noticed that she had become pale. She took a deep breath but the sickness stayed along with the blurriness.
“… Yeah. I… I just wanted… some answers. I-I-I’m over it now.” she knew that she needed to leave. Tabitha got up from the chair and grabbed the guard’s attention. Gary didn’t flinch as she walked past him but looked up at her slowly.
“… I was afraid…” he simply said. She turned and looked at him.
“The last time you were here… I was afraid. I knew that you were going to kill me on the spot. I don’t know why the guards did nothing but… I deserved it; I knew that. So… if I don’t ever see you again… I just wanted you to know that.” he explained. She could only nod and rush out of the room; she had a feeling that the sickness wasn’t going to stay down.
As she ran into the restroom, she cursed herself for being right; she wasn’t able to hold down the sickness that was pushing its way past her throat any longer: she barely made it to one of the sinks when she violently heaved out the contents in her stomach. She was glad that no one was in the restroom; waves of electrical currents flowed all over her body, making her break out into a cold sweat and vomiting once more. When she was finally done, she weakly tried to rinse the sink out. A feeling of embarrassment overtook her as she slumped down to the floor. After what seemed like forever, Tabitha finally calmed down and gained enough strength to finish cleaning up and leave. What he told her replayed in her mind over and over again, giving her a headache. It wasn’t true; it couldn’t be: why would doc do something like that to me, she thought. She shook her head; she wanted to hear it from her best friend in person.
Having a super heroine best friend, Jamila had gotten used to her doorbell ringing at any given time of the day. So, it wasn’t a surprise that she had barely heard it as she was getting ready to lay down beside her husband, calling it a night. He groaned slightly, putting his pillow over his head.
“Stop it; she’s my best friend!”
“Does that mean she don’t have to know how to tell time?”
“The Justice League don’t go by nine to five hours!”
“You’re not a part of the Justice League!!” he yelled as she left the room. When she opened the door, she wasn’t expecting to be slammed into the wall by her shoulders. She looked into her best friend’s eyes with slight fear.
“Tell me he’s wrong, Jamila; tell me!!” she almost growled. The professor knew that something was wrong; the last time the lightning woman had called her by her real name, the woman had amnesia. Tabitha lifted the woman off her feet, pinning her to the wall as hard as she could. Jamila winced in pain and confusion as she felt Tabitha’s fingers digging into her arms.
“W-W-What… I-I-I don’t know… Tabitha…” she didn’t know what Tabitha was talking about. Her confusion only made it worse as Tabitha threw her best friend down to the ground. Something definitely was wrong, Jamila thought as she saw Tabitha glare down at her. She tried to scramble to her feet however fear was stopping her legs from working; she could only manage to crawl away as Tabitha slowly stalked her.
“You… you made a fake ID for that son-of-a-bitch!!”
“I-I-I-I make a lot of fake IDs… who are you talking abo…” her best friend’s words made the sickness come back to her. Tabitha swallowed hard and caught up to her friend, immediately wrapping her hand around Jamila’s throat, making the older woman gasp. She was about to lose it, she was about to black out; she felt it as she started to experience the tunnel vision.
Jamila’s eyes widened when she felt her hand grasping tighter around her throat, immediately cutting off her air supply. She could only watch in fear as the usual glimmer from her brown eyes started to quickly fade; she was about to rage…
“For the love of God, J’onn… I don’t know where you are… but Tabs is losing it!!!” Jamila had hoped that her frantic plea would reach him. For all she knew, he had cut off all ties with anyone associated with her. She had prayed that he didn’t; she didn’t care who had broken whose heart: she needed someone capable of snapping Tabitha out of her rage!
When the sickness started to climb into her throat again, Tabitha regained some of her vision and focus. She tried to hold in the sickness but as she did, she became fully aware. She had someone’s throat in her hand; she looked down and saw her best friend was wheezing, clawing at the hand she had firmly wrapped around her throat. Tears welled in her eyes and she immediately let go. As her best friend rolled to her side and started franticly coughing, Tabitha ran into the kitchen and retched into the sink. As she ran water to clean out the sink, she saw Jamila standing at a distance, obviously shaking from her ordeal. Tears finally made their way out of Tabitha’s eyes as her own shaking finally ceased.
“… Y-Y-You… you still make IDs…?” she cried. Jamila couldn’t look her best friend in the eyes; she trained them on the kitchen floor instead.
“… I couldn’t tell you…” her voice was a raspy whisper, “Especially seeing who you work for. I’m… sorry…” she was still confused; she knew that it was illegal what she did but why on earth would it make her best friend attack her the way that she did?
Tabitha breaking down, collapsing on the floor prompted her friend to come closer to her. She looked up at her through tear-soaked eyes and extended her hand out, showing the electrical currents that waved over her fingers.
“Don’t! Don’t come near me! It’s cuz of you that I’m what I am now!!” she cried more. Jamila had heard something and glanced over at the staircase where her husband stood with just as a confused look as she had. She quickly motioned for her husband to stay put but kept her eyes on her friend.
“… Tabs… I seriously don’t know what you’re talk…” as the words escaped her mouth, she finally realized what her best friend was getting at. Jamila started back to shaking as she gasped, remembering that particular job, “… no. Oh, God… no!!”
“How could you?!” Tabitha sobbed; it really depressed her to even think that her best friend had a hand in the reason why she became a Metahuman. Tears streaked down to Jamila’s cheeks as she slightly covered her mouth.
“Oh, my God… I swear, I didn’t know! I’m so sorry, Tabitha!” he didn’t care what she said; Albert had barely made it to his wife in time to catch her as she collapsed. He looked at the two sobbing women.
“What the hell is going on?!” he asked. Still shaking, Jamila tried to wipe her eyes and look at him.
“T-T-That guy… before we moved here… the one who wanted the military IDs…”
“… The scientist? What about… him…” he thought for a moment and then widened his eyes, putting two and two together. He stared at Tabitha, shaking his head, “Oh, fuck… Tabitha…” was all he could say. Despite the warning, Jamila went over to her best friend and held her. She was glad that Tabitha didn’t push her away and simply clung onto her. The two held each other until they both stopped crying.
“Tabs… you’re my best friend; I would never do anything to hurt you…” Jamila tried. Tabitha responded with a sniffle and a slight nod.
“Why? Why you do it?”
“… I’ve never asked a client why they needed a fake ID; I never wanted to know why he wanted a military ID! It was my job to make whatever the client wanted…”
“… She’s been making IDs before I even met her. Pays a hell of a lot more than being a professor! We… we had mouths to feed… and bills to pay. If it was just us… I would’ve made her quit…” Albert tried to explain.
“You really… didn’t know what he was planning…”
“No. I would’ve told him to go fuck himself if I knew…” Jamila told her. Tabitha sighed a little and started to get up. She looked at her best friend and slightly cringed at the marks around her neck. What had gotten into her; as upset as she was at the news, she knew that normally, she would never put her hands on her best friend. She wiped at the fresh tears forming into her eyes as the professor looked away.
“I’m… I’m sorry… for attacking you. I… fuck! When he told me… it made me so sick…”
“… You stopped thinking. I deserved it… making IDs for people like that…” she mumbled. Tabitha made her look into her eyes, gently grabbing her by the shoulders.
“No; you ain’t a bad person, doc… bad people don’t take in total strangers into their home. I just… lost it… again…” it almost made her angry that had it not been for her getting sick to her stomach, she would’ve killed her best friend.
“… I gotta be careful who I make IDs for…”
“No! Doc… you can’t make no more IDs… period!” she looked dead into her eyes. Jamila slightly looked away.
“If you need the money that fucking bad… I’ll ask Bruce…” she immediately made up her mind. Jamila shot her a look.
“I… I can’t let you do that…”
“Whatever it takes to make you stop! Cuz… I don’t wanna be the one to bring you in; I can’t…” the thought made her tear up. She sucked in a breath to keep the tears away, “And, I can’t do my job… I’m no good to the League.” she continued. Jamila thought about her words as her hands absentmindedly reached up and touched the bruises on her neck. She grimaced as she touched the sore and tender spots, a painful reminder of how truly powerful… and dangerous her best friend really was. She wasn’t about to cross her anymore.
Tabitha saw that Jamila finally noticed the bruises she had left around her neck and a tear fell. Before Jamila could respond, Tabitha immediately hugged her tightly. She hugged her back and nodded.
“Alright… no more IDs…”
J’onn gave out a silent sigh of relief; he was worried that she would actually go through with blacking out: he would have been ready to risk showing himself to stop her from killing her friend. He wondered what was actually wrong with her; had his sudden departure put that much of an impact on her mentality? He lingered for a while as the two women hugged and reluctantly went on his way.
Months passed steadily as Tabitha tried to balance her erratic emotions, fighting alongside Peter and getting more and more into Bruce Wayne. Not that she had gotten over the Martian completely; she still thought about him. However, as Bruce started to give her his all, thoughts of J’onn began to be few and far apart. She couldn’t help but to think of him whenever she performed her Monitor duties; he was the reason why she was in that position in the first place. However, as time passed, she learned not to dwell on the bad things but the good things. She was thankful that she had met the Martian… and wouldn’t forget him.
For Bruce, life was actually… better. There had been quite a few women who made lasting impressions on him but even with them, he was always reluctant on revealing who he really was. That was the one thing that absolutely irked him about falling in love: would telling the woman that he cared about that he was Batman change their relationship? Ten times out of ten, it always did. It couldn’t be helped; who wanted to be Batman’s girlfriend, knowing the dangers and the risks he always put himself in? He thought that maybe he would be able to keep it from whoever the love of his life was but that wouldn’t work; how would he explain the outings?
He was glad that this time around was different; the love of his life was a super heroine; she had to keep her own identity a secret as well. She knew exactly who he was, even before they became lovers, and she accepted him fully. To make matters better… they were fighting crime together. A part of him worried about her safety but he knew that she had the same worries. They just had to keep each other safe for the most part. He was even worried that it seemed as though the lightning woman was getting closer and closer to reforming back to her former self and raging. The one thing that kept his heart at ease on that matter was that he was with her, along with Barbara and his adopted son; the three were very capable of calming her down or even taking her out if it was to happen. Bruce never wanted to think about the latter but Tabitha was no fool; she told him several times that if it ever came down to that, she would want someone really close to her to “do the honors”: that someone would be Bruce.
She had grown so much since the first time they had become partners, Bruce realized. She was fully aware of the fact that she used to go into a blind rage and knew the beginning signs of it; there was no real need for anyone to baby her. She had stopped using her Metahuman abilities as much, so her skill level was on par with Bruce’s and the others. Once his ankle was better, he took over training her; while he liked the fact that Ted was training her, he didn’t know all of the martial arts that he did. She was a quick learner and surprisingly disciplined; he enjoyed spending every moment with her.
That was why he was really nervous about what he wanted to do. Bruce Wayne loved Tabitha Lyght; his deep feelings for her were there for quite some time. He couldn’t hide from his true feelings any longer; he wanted to make sure that this was the one that didn’t get away.
Everyone in Gotham was astounded with the news of their prodigal son dating his head electrician; it was almost unthinkable that he would be involved with someone so… common. Regardless, she tried not to let the stares and disapproving looks get to her; Tabitha knew that she was not the type of woman that people were used to seeing Bruce with. She would constantly wish that everyone knew the real Bruce Wayne, the one who cared less about the expensive dinners and trips. The real Bruce looked at, analyzed and judged people from the inside out. It didn’t matter that Tabitha Lyght wasn’t sophisticated or even wealthy enough; he loved her for who she was, period.
It seemed like another regular fundraiser to her. So, she wondered why Bruce insisted that her family and the Lindseys attended. She also saw that quite a few Justice League members were present as well, which was even weirder; they were hardly ever invited to one of his shindigs unless they were there for undercover security purposes. Nevertheless, Tabitha and Jamila stood around one of the various rounded food tables that had been scattered around in the main dining room of the manor.
“Nice wig…” Jamila mumbled, making the woman blush.
“Shut up!” she retaliated. She knew that it was inevitable; once they started dating, she knew that she would have to make appearances with him to all the fancy dinners, fundraisers and galas: wearing her signature t-shirt head wrap was out of the question. She absolutely hated wigs but was willing to tolerate them in order to not embarrass her boyfriend out in public. At least he made sure that they were the same medium brown color as her original hair color had been.
“Seriously; you look really good, skinny bitch!” Jamila eyed her friend’s figure in the snug blue dress Bruce picked out for her.
“Thanks. If I hear my daddy call me pudgy one more time…” she shook her head as she took a sip of her champagne. She immediately made a face at her glass.
“Hmm? What’s up?” Jamila took notice. Tabitha shook her head and gave the glass to one of the servers.
“Sorry… it tastes funny to me…”
“Would you like something else, Miss Lyght?”
“I guess… some water. Bruce’ll have my head if I gotta beer!” she lightly laughed. The server nodded and left. Jamila sniffed her glass and shrugged.
“Smells okay to me… maybe a bad batch?”
“God, I hope not! That means we gotta grab everyone’s glass, go through all the batches…”
“I see. Easier to just let everyone get sick and deal with that; I got it…” Jamila responded calmly, taking a sip of her champagne. Tabitha looked at her for a second and burst into laughter. The professor tried to stay calm but failed and laughed along with her. She looked across the room to locate her husband but her eyes stopped at the couple in the middle of the room, “Ooh! Who’s that with Bruce…?” she asked. Tabitha followed her friend’s gaze and they landed on Bruce talking to a woman. She was beautiful, with jet black long hair that flowed past her shoulders. She laughed at whatever Bruce had said and her green eyes glowed with excitement. Tabitha was about to shrug it off until she saw how the woman… touched Bruce. It was like one of her touches, the ones that she did when she wanted to be affectionate with him. That was her touch… and no other woman should be touching Bruce Wayne in that manner!
It didn’t matter that Bruce had calmly removed the woman’s hand and gave her a strange look; the only thing Tabitha saw was that someone was touching him! Whenever he was being interviewed by a female reporter, especially an entertainment reporter, they would try to touch him as much as they could; that was fine: it was their job to try to get all cozy and mingle. This woman… she had never seen before. She knew that the green-eyed vixen wasn’t a reporter or even a friend; since they started dating, she was introduced to all of his associates.
“… Excuse me for a minute…”
“Oh… shit’s ‘bout to get real…” Jamila gulped down the rest of her champagne and followed her best friend over to the two. A thought occurred to her as they made their way over; she knew what her best friend was capable of! Jamila immediately grabbed Tabitha by the arm, “Tabs… remember where we’re at…” she quietly warned. Tabitha huffed, narrowed her eyes at the two but nodded. She cleared her throat and put on her best smile as she came to Bruce’s side, wrapping her arm around his.
He had seen her making an angry beeline towards the two and was relieved in many ways than one, especially when he saw the professor whisper something to her to make her calm down! He gave his girlfriend a genuine smile, thanking her mentally for the “rescue”. The woman in front of him didn’t hide her disappointment of Tabitha’s arrival, even scowling at her.
“Have you met my girlfriend?”
“… No. I didn’t even know that you were taken…” the woman almost narrowed her eyes at Tabitha. Regardless of the rudeness, Tabitha kept her smile as she switched glances from Bruce to the fair-skinned woman.
“This is Tabitha. Tabitha, this is Selina Kyle. She’s a sponsor for the fundraiser tonight.” he introduced. Tabitha thought about being petty and not offering her hand but she knew that she had to be the better woman; she gave Selina a wider grin and enthusiastically threw her hand out.
“Oh! Well, then it’s very nice to meet you, Miss Kyle!” she kept the smile on her face. Selina reluctantly shook her hand, making sure that she gave her a firm grip. Really, Tabitha wanted to raise an eyebrow at her; she felt that Selina was trying to prove her strength. How surprised she would be if she only knew who she was dealing with, the thought made Tabitha smile.
“Likewise… I’m sure. It’s funny that Bruce never mentioned you…”
“… Oh? Hmm… I’m surprised that he would even have to mention something, honey; the media makes sure they broadcast it as much as possible!” Tabitha gleamed. Jamila stifled a snicker hearing her best friend lay on her accent so thickly. Bruce kept his composure as Selina slightly flinched at the accent.
“I figured you weren’t from here. Well, then… have a good night…” she said and reluctantly left but not before giving Bruce a certain look. Tabitha kept her smile, wrapping her arm even more around Bruce’s.
“You too! Hope to see ya at the next fundraiser!” she stopped herself from waving. She waited until Selina was out of sight before turning her attention towards Bruce, “So… who’s Selina Kyle…”
“She’s a fundraiser spons…”
“No… who is she… really? Cuz, I saw that look she gave you… and she touched you…”
“Women touch me all the time; it was…” he stopped himself short as Tabitha narrowed her eyes at him. Jamila uneasily looked around the room.
“Think I’ll get me another glass of champagne…” she mumbled and left. Bruce sighed slightly.
“… We used to date…”
“Oh. And you didn’t tell her about me because…” she raised an eyebrow at him.
“Like you said, she should’ve already known! Look… it’s not what you think; trust me. Can we talk about it… later… in private… please…?” he almost begged. She gave him a look but eventually nodded.
“Nice accent, by the way…”
“She had it coming!”
The fundraiser was coming to an end as Bruce and Tabitha grabbed everyone’s attention at the front of the room. Throughout the entire bash, J’onn kept a watchful eye on Tabitha. Shape shifted into a random human form, he watched as she mingled, laughed, ate; he was even proud that she kept her composure dealing with the woman who was obviously flirting with Bruce, cracking a smile when she tried to be obnoxious as possible with the thick accent.
He really missed her, to the point where he was closer and closer to approaching her and begging for a second chance… regardless of who she was with. He was debating on when he was going to reveal himself to her; as the party was coming to an end, J’onn knew that his window of opportunity was closing fast. What would he do, how would he go about revealing himself to her, he asked himself. He was so caught up in coming up with some sort of plan that he hadn’t notice that someone approached him. Jamila simply smiled at him, handing him a glass of champagne.
“Hi! Looks like you need to loosen up…” she tried. She had noticed the man had been staring at her best friend the entire night… and didn’t like it. The stranger was indeed very handsome; his dark exotic eyes simply staring at her as he grabbed the glass. She just couldn’t shake the vibe that lingered around him; something wasn’t right about the man, she thought to herself as he gave her a warm smile.
“Thank you, Miss…?”
“Dr. Lindsey.” she emphasized the title.
“A medical doctor?” he asked. It made her laugh a little, slowly sipping the remainder of her champagne.
“I wish! A doctor of science and education. Are you enjoying yourself, Mr.…?”
“You can call me John, Dr. Lindsey…” he rushed and went back to watching Tabitha.
“Oh, that’s it? Just… John?” she asked. She became a bit annoyed that he continued to glance towards Tabitha’s way. Well… she is beautiful, she tried to reason. Maybe John was simply admiring her from afar.
Jamila was about to leave the stranger alone until a sudden feeling swept through her. She took the opportunity to study him since he was ignoring her. She had never seen him before, she knew but she couldn’t shake the feeling, “John… you look oddly familiar to me. Did you go to school in North Carolina?” maybe she went to college with the man; had seen him around campus.
“Hmm. What’s your last name… if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Jones. Quite a common last name; you may have heard of quite a few John Joneses…”
“Yeah… that’s true. My maiden name is Jones so…” she nodded in agreement however something had hit her before she could finish her sentence. She continued to study the man with more emphasis; she knew him. The vibe that continued to linger around him wasn’t a bad vibe at all; the professor knew that she knew this John Jones: maybe he was a student…
Jamila’s eyes widened as she continued to stare at him and leaned in closer. J’onn looked down at her.
“Is… everything okay, Dr. Lindsey…?”
“………… J’onn?!” she whispered. He was glad that he had complete control over his composure; she would’ve definitely seen the shock in his face that the professor had caught on. He didn’t think that it would hurt to use his basic human alias around her, especially seeing that he was disguising his voice and looks. He had to think of something; he knew that she was mere seconds away from running over to her best friend to tell her: this was not the way he planned on revealing himself. He gave her a slightly confused look and erased the fact that she had figured him out at the same time. When her expression went from surprised to a simple blank stare, he knew that it worked.
“Dr. Lindsey… are you okay?” he asked. She blinked a couple of times and gave him an uncertain look.
“…… Yeah. I’m sorry; guess I spaced out for a sec!”
“Too much champagne?” he asked with a hint of a smile. Jamila gave him a look and a wry smile.
“I can hold my liquor, thank you very much!” she returned. Jamila was about to continue speaking to the man until Bruce asked for everyone’s attention. His small speech included thanking everyone who contributed to the fundraiser, mentioning an upcoming event that he hoped to see the same faces at. There were a couple of jokes that were laughed at and then he gearing towards the end of his speech. Tabitha looked slightly uncomfortable but stayed beside him, keeping her smile. She was relieved when he ended the speech and was about to leave until he quickly grabbed her hand.
“One more thing before everyone leaves…” he clasped her hand tighter. She gave him an odd look as he looked and smiled at her. Everything seemed to go in slow motion for Tabitha as she watched him get down on one knee. She barely heard the gasps and sounds of surprise through her own heart pounding through her ears. Her knees buckled slightly as she watched him pull the ring out of his pocket; it was the biggest diamond she had ever seen in her life! However, it wasn’t the ring that made her want to faint; it was the obvious confirmation of what he was about to do and say, “No big speeches, just straight and to the point: will you marry me, Tabitha?” he asked. She was absolutely speechless! She never knew that Bruce felt that way about her. Sure, he had told her that he had been in love with her for the longest; she knew that he loved her so technically, the proposal wasn’t as sudden as it looked. She did love him, there was no doubt in her mind that she did; however, it was what he was doing at that moment that made her question just how much. She had never thought about marriage, even after experiencing the time travel. This was a very huge step for her to take; part of her hated that the man did this in public, in front of her family and the Justice League: what if she didn’t want to get married… at all?
What was she afraid of? She knew Bruce Wayne; she knew everything about him. The two now spent almost every waking moment with one another; it was almost as though they were already married. For a while, she had thought that the only reason why she had kissed him back that night was because she needed something to make her feel better. However, she knew that she was never forced to kiss him, she was never forced to fall in love with him; everything simply came naturally. This wasn’t some fling to try to get over the Martian; this was real. Bruce Wayne was doing something that J’onn J’onzz never did: confess his love for her in front of everyone. Tabitha couldn’t speak as a tear rolled down to her cheek.
“Um… Tabitha… don’t leave me hanging, here…” Bruce half whispered, drawing a few laughs from those who overheard. The crowd responded as Tabitha covered her mouth and nodded, Bruce immediately slipping the ring on her finger. He got up and gave her a loving hug and a tender kiss. Tabitha had no time to look at the expressions of everyone in the room, particularly Selina’s as she huffed and stormed out of the room. Her best friend had her mouth covered throughout the entire proposal, tears glistening at the corners of her eyes.
“Holy… shit! Can you believe that?! They’re…” she turned to the stranger and saw that he was gone, “… Oh. Oh, well; let’s keep the party going!!” she yelled. Everything that J’onn was planning had been ruined; he never imagined that Bruce would propose marriage to the one he still loved. He couldn’t do it; he couldn’t stand there and watch any more of it; he simply left.
As the remaining guests left, Bruce and Tabitha received congratulations from everyone. She was a bit nervous as the Justice League members started to approach them, wondering how they really felt about everything. She was overly relieved as she saw the smiles on their faces when they hugged the two; she didn’t care if they were fake or not: at least they cared enough about them to pretend to be happy for them, not wanting to cause any ill feelings. They all had wished them well, a few already making plans on how the wedding would go! All except for Diana. The two never tried to hide that they were together in front of the League members… but they never said anything as well. She had her suspicions about the two, especially when Tabitha made the decision to move back completely to Gotham instead of staying in Metropolis. Diana had selfishly wondered if Tabitha had broken Bruce’s ankle on purpose just to get closer to him…
She was going to be nice and approach them; she knew that it was the least she could do. However, she made sure that she waited until the other members left before she came up to them.
“Just to let you know… I don’t approve of this one bit…”
“… I should have known that something was going on between the two of you. I just never thought that you would actually go through with it, Bruce. Seems like your little speech about not dating colleagues was just an excuse… or was it something that you just told me…?”
“Now, hold on…” Tabitha definitely didn’t like the way Diana had approached the two. She had a feeling that the Amazon would not approve but she thought that she would be woman enough to cast her jealous emotions aside and wish the two well.
Diana simply glared at Tabitha as she tried to intercept her words.
“Don’t. Save it; and here I thought we were friends…”
“… You know what? I thought the same thing but friends don’t drive other people away!” she had bitten her tongue long enough. While she had given up on ever getting back with J’onn, it still bothered her that Diana was the one who put in his head to leave. It didn’t matter if she hadn’t known about their relationship; what right did she have to tell him to do something like that? All she had to do was not say a word to him and the Martian would at least have still been on Watchtower!
The comment was enough to make Diana stop seething and give Tabitha a slightly confused look.
“… What? I’ve never driven anyone away…”
“Yeah? Oh, so I guess we’re missing a member for the hell of it, then! You don’t like our relationship, fine; don’t come to the wedding! But, you ain’t got no damn right to question Bruce’s feelings for anyone! And you damn sure ain’t got the right to make decisions for grown folks! He ain’t gotta make excuses for no one! If he really wanted to be with you… he would’ve!” her words shocked even Bruce. Tabitha grabbed his hand tightly and began dragging him away, “I’m tired. Goodnight, Diana…” she finished and the two turned to leave. Diana could do nothing but stand there and watch, thinking about what Tabitha had said.