She told Bruce that she would let it go however she just couldn’t. The fact that Selina had stooped so low bothered Tabitha. She knew that it wasn’t truly about the ring; it was the act of taking something Bruce gave to her. She found herself wishing that the woman had taken her amulet instead.
Everyone felt that it was indeed silly and childish on Selina’s part to take the ring. No one was surprised that she did it; the other League members tried to convince Tabitha that she should just let things go. The longer she avoided her, not tracking her down, the quicker Selina would realize that her “deed” was done for nothing. At the very best, she had an expensive ring to pawn or sell outright; keeping the ring would only remind her that Bruce wanted nothing to do with her.
Those facts still didn’t deter Tabitha from thinking about the whole situation. The vile woman had even kissed her; Barbara’s goofy smirk would be a constant reminder of that! Not only did she have to “hear” it from the teen, her own best friend gave her opinion about the situation: “You’re just a villain magnet”! Tabitha was glad for once to hear that voice in her head; it constantly told her to calm down.
After speaking with the psychologist, Tabitha tried her best to figure out what was stressing her out in her life. She had to admit that it was a mixture of everything, things that she knew would normally not bother her as much. She had a feeling that if she left the Justice League, she would eventually stress herself out; Tabitha didn’t want to feel useless. She didn’t want to feel as though she was missing out on the best highlights of her life.
Maybe it was her relationship with Bruce. Was she genuinely happy with him? She cared a lot about him… but that feeling started when they were good friends. Was she seriously ready to settle down with him or was he simply someone who kept her from being alone? There was no doubt in her mind that she loved him; Tabitha just didn’t want to figure out her true feelings for him a day or two before their wedding!
The “voice” had died down; Tabitha realized that she wasn’t taking good care of herself. She started back to eating at least three meals a day, got at least six hours of sleep and even went back to exercising and keeping in shape. Maybe it wasn’t the stress that came from being in the Justice League nor the stress of being a billionaire’s fiancée; maybe she just needed to take better care of herself. The one thing that bothered her, however was that she noticed how tired she would get after a strenuous mission. She eventually concluded that because she toned down on using her abilities, her body was getting reused to using its natural strengths.
Bruce took noticed that his future wife was going through a bit of a change. He knew that she would always think about what Selina did. But he was glad that she didn’t retaliate. Even still, something else was bothering her. She was starting to train more and eat better, even get a healthier amount of sleep every night. However, her moods were almost erratic; even with decent sleep, there were days when little things made her upset in a tremendous way. Dr. Meridian let him know that there wasn’t anything mentally wrong with the lightning woman aside from her hearing that voice. Bruce had a feeling that her mutant DNA strand, regardless of what Dr. Lindsey stated, was behind her mood swings and exhaustion span.
“So… is this a business visit or…” Jamila let the two inside her home. Tabitha gave her a slight smirk as she thrusted a bridal book towards her.
“Oh, God; that shit again!” the professor rolled her eyes and laughed.
“We gotta have that conversation again about how it’s your job to help me?!”
“I technically don’t have to help you; I’m only responsible for the bachelorette party!”
“Wh… you’re throwing me a bachelorette party…?”
“I was going for a superhero theme. Seemed only right. Ooh… throw in some cops… heh; serve and protect indeed…”
“Oh… my God…”
“Don’t mind me; I’m just the groom who’s listening in on your plans…” Bruce rolled his eyes. Jamila laughed and gave both a hug.
“Like she’ll do anything! She’ll be too busy blushing all to high hell! Ooh; that’s pretty! That train, though…” she looked through the book.
“You’re right… on both accounts. She asked for my opinion but I’ve tried to tell her that it’s technically her day. If she wanted to wear jeans and a t-shirt, I wouldn’t care. That’s not the important part.” Bruce looked at his fiancée. Tabitha blushed as she gave him a tight hug.
“Oh, my God; that was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Why can’t my husband be like that?” Jamila sat at her kitchen table, “Could you get this dress without the train? And… wait; you’re not wearing white, are you?”
“I… why does it matter?”
“You’re not a virgin. It’s against tradition. I mean, unless…”
“You make me sound like a whore! You think I’ve slept with that many guys?!”
“I don’t think Jamila was implying that!” Bruce laughed.
“How many have you slept with?” Jamila eyed her best friend. Bruce cleared his throat to keep from laughing as Tabitha continued to blush.
“… W-Why you wanna know…”
“I’m your best friend and he’s about to be your husband; I think it’s a fair question!”
“… Three, okay?!”
“… Three…? That’s it?”
“What do you mean, ‘that’s it’?! That’s enough! That’s a low number to you?!”
“Well, yeah. You might as well not have had sex! Three. Seriously? Wow… no wonder you blush all the time; you’re a newbie!”
“Ha; that’ll put your number up to four! I don’t wanna be the one to ruin your reputation…” Jamila teased. Bruce laughed fully as Tabitha sighed.
“Wait; you meant four. You’re missing someone…” he looked at her.
“… N-N-No. It’s… three…”
“So, we got you, J’onn and Ethan. Who’s missing? Oh… your friend… in the Army…” it pained Jamila to mention him. She knew that Tabitha didn’t need to think about her former best friend.
“… O-Oh. Tony? No. We never even… dated. And, I never slept with Ethan…”
“Wait, what?” Bruce gave her a surprised look.
“The fuck you mean, you never slept with him?! That’s a joke, right? How could you not sleep with him?! Man, I would’ve rode him into the sunset…”
“See, that’s why I don’t talk about things like this with you! It’s like you’re deprived or something!”
“Yes; very much so! I live my sex life through you…”
“Oh, dear God…”
“I can’t help that you pick the sexiest men to be with! Present company included…”
“Um… thank you…?”
“You’re welcome! So… if you didn’t sleep with Ethan or Tony… who’s the third guy… or girl…?”
“Why does everyone think that?!”
“Hey, it’s the twenty-first century. And if I think you’re cute and I don’t swing that way… pretty sure there’s plenty of lesbians out there waiting in line…”
“The funny part is that she couldn’t be any closer to the truth!”
“S-S-SHUT UP! I ain’t a lesbian…” she sighed out and shook her head, “It’s… Lex Luthor…”
“…… Hold up. Lex Luthor? LexCorp Lex Luthor?”
“Criminal mastermind, super villain Lex Luthor…” Bruce confirmed. Jamila took a long hard look from him to her friend.
“I… what the hell did I miss?!”
“A technicality. It happened when I was possessed.”
“Yeeah, that makes it much better!”
“Wow; I’m shocked you ain’t got nothing sexual to say about that…”
“I mean… damnit; you get all the sexy men! I didn’t want to say anything…”
“You’d screw Lex Luthor?!”
“What?! Yes! Don’t judge me!”
“You’re making it very hard not to…” Tabitha sat at the table. She paid more attention to the dress in the book; a white long sleeved gown that would definitely show off her figure that cascaded down into a long train. She did like the pearls that adorned the waistline as well as how the sleeves continued a bit past the wrists, forming a pointed strip. The one thing that she agreed with her friend on was the train; she also wondered if she would be able to have it removed. Then again, Bruce also had a point; it didn’t matter which dress she picked.
Jamila was about to go back to the book until she made a realization.
“Wait…” she gasped and looked at Bruce, “Please tell me you just had the same epiphany!”
“I’m not…… oh. Oh! Are we still on the…”
“Are you kidding me right now?! J’onn was your first? J’onn was your first?! Oh my fucking God…”
“W-W-What? He wasn’t good enough to be…”
“Okay, fuck your words right now! You gave your virginity… to Martian Manhunter. I’m… I’m done. I can’t.”
“I’m so glad that I learned this now instead of before. How would I be able to compete with that?”
“Pfft; obviously very well! The two of you getting married, right?”
“Jamila… is that how you really view relationships?”
“Whether you want to admit it or not, sex is a huge part of a relationship… unless you’re asexual. Tell the truth: if she wasn’t good in bed…”
“I really don’t want to answer that right now…”
“Fine! Tabs: if he wasn’t good in bed…”
“… I-I would’ve still been with him…”
“Was J’onn good in bed?”
“You ain’t with him no more; talking about his sexual prowess is fair damn game! You owe me!"
“I… owe you?”
“I’m your best friend!”
“Ain’t there some sort of rule about not talking about your sex life to your friends?”
“Don’t matter with J’onn! Come on!” Jamila begged. Tabitha gave Bruce a nervous look, who smiled at her.
“I’ve long since got over my jealousy of him.”
“Alright. Yes… he was good in bed… very good…” she mumbled.
“Yes! I knew it! He had to be! Damn! I bet he made it any…”
“Alright, we’re done with this! L-L-Let’s focus on the dress…”
She looked at it as a minor hiccup in her hectic life. The “voice” hadn’t made its presence known in a while although Dr. Meridian wanted her to continue sessions with her. While she didn’t understand why, Tabitha didn’t feel like arguing about it. The psychologist insisted that Tabitha spoke about J’onn or at least talk more about the breakup. She didn’t see the reasoning behind it; everything was so plain about it. If she had let herself dwell on it, she admitted that it still hurt a bit how the Martian left. So, she believed the best way to deal with it was to not think about it.
Besides, wasn’t she happier with Bruce as it was? He still had his slight moments of moodiness and was a bit awkward as far as sharing his true feelings. However, it was something that she was used to even when they were good friends. Tabitha would take whatever little feelings he was willing to show.
He was a far cry from the Martian in many ways than one. But she couldn’t help but to see that they were the same in their own little ways. Both had problems expressing their feelings in front of others. However, Bruce overcame that obstacle; everyone knew that the two were together. He had no problem showing little signs of affection in front of the other members. It seemed to Tabitha as if J’onn went out of his way to make sure that no one knew about the two dating. She came to the conclusion that she was better off being with someone who didn’t mind if the whole world knew.
Bruce saw that she seemed a lot happier after talking to Dr. Meridian. Things were getting back to normal, normal for a superhero couple that was. When she wasn’t busy being Monitor, she helped out in Gotham as much as possible. Bruce couldn’t push aside the fact that she was just as tired as she was before changing her lifestyle. He also took notice that she was getting sick more often than he felt comfortable with. Of course, she attempted to hide it but he knew that she was a systematic person; if she strayed from her usual routine, something was bothering her. Whenever he asked, she tried to assure him that she was fine. He addressed his concerns to her best friend; while Jamila insisted that it had nothing to do with the mutant DNA, he talked her into attempting to get some sort of sample from her so that he could run his own tests.
It was her lunch break, at least she made it her lunch break! Being the fiancée of the boss (as well as a woman with lightning powers), Tabitha dared anyone to tell her that she couldn’t take a break! She usually didn’t go to the diner in the Fashion District by herself but she was in the mood for it and knew that Bruce wouldn’t have time to join her.
Her last job wasn’t too far away from the diner; Tabitha felt like walking, anyway. She finally got used to the lingering haze within the city; no one knew exactly why it was like that in Gotham. It would lift during sunny days but those days were rare. Tabitha had become familiar with Gotham and actually saw that it wasn’t a bad city, scenic-wise. It had a rich history, one that she appreciated. The crime wasn’t as bad as it was when she first got there; the city was enjoyable to sightseers once more.
It didn’t bother her that most people stopped to slightly stare or smile widely at her (quite a few women sneered but she was used to that as well); that came with being engaged to Bruce Wayne. Tabitha considered not working however they both knew that it didn’t fit her. Even when she made her home on Watchtower, she always had some type of work to do. Things wouldn’t change just because she was about to marry one of the richest men in the United States!
So she returned the smiles and nods, trying to be on her way. Before she could turn the corner to get to the diner, someone had caught her eye. She stopped and watched, her anger slowly building inside of her as Selina walked on the other side of the street. Tabitha clenched her fists, fighting the urge to release her lightning in the woman’s direction.
“…… Calm down…” the voice made its presence. Tabitha narrowed her eyes at her target, making sure not to lose sight of her.
“Shut up…” she nearly growled, “Whoever you are… I ain’t got time to listen to you!”
She could do nothing but replay the scene over and over again; her dropping her bag and Selina smoothly picking it up. She had a bit of sense remaining; Tabitha would not attack the woman in broad daylight. Instead, she made the decision to follow her. She would wait until she got her alone.
The streets weren’t too crowded; most of the people that lived and worked in the Fashion District dined elsewhere for lunch. Tabitha had to be inconspicuous. She was thankful that Selina didn’t look back as Tabitha followed her at a distance. She lost track of time and direction, anticipating the moment she would be able to confront her. The public definitely didn’t need to see what she would potentially do to her!
Tabitha had to make a move soon; she realized that if Selina went into an apartment building, she would lose her. As angered as she was, she knew that it would be truly senseless to tear through an entire apartment building just to get to one person. As she followed at a distance, Tabitha finally made the decision to pick up her pace to catch up to the woman. She knew she wasn’t as fast as Wally so she had hoped that no one truly saw her as she grabbed Selina from behind. She didn’t have a chance to gasp as she was slammed into the side of a building in an alleyway. Instead of looking bewildered, Selina gave her a coy smile.
“If you wanted to see me, all you had to do was call…” the very idea irked her greatly. Before she could control herself, Tabitha charged up and brought her fist towards Selina. The fact that it connected with the bricks of the building only heightened her annoyance. Her vision started to blur as she glared at Selina. A sickness started to bubble in the pit of stomach but Tabitha ignored it. The only thing on her mind was simply letting that rage consume her.
The last thing that registered clearly in Tabitha’s mind was Selina trying to escape from the alleyway. Tabitha did a Lightning Cloud and appeared in front of her, making the woman back away. She thought that she would be able to talk her way out of the fight however Selina saw that something had changed in the lightning woman. She had seen her annoyed before and found it funny that the woman was so easily distracted with a bit of taunting. But this felt different. Tabitha was definitely in no mood to play around.
“Where… is my ring…” she breathed as she charged up for another attack. Selina admitted to herself that she had nearly forgotten about that ring. She thought that both Tabitha and Bruce would’ve immediately came after her. When they didn’t, she put it in the back of her mind.
She now saw that Tabitha hadn’t forgotten. It was safe to say that the act festered in the woman’s brain and now she was at an unreachable point. Maybe if she swallowed her pride and gave the ring back, she would come out of the ordeal unharmed.
“Oh; that gaudy thing? Don’t worry, it’s in a safe place. For a man with a lot of money, he sure has bad taste in jewelry…” she waved off, “Come on; I know you’re going to insist on following me.” she slightly turned, heading to her apartment.
What Selina didn’t know was that her words fell on slightly deaf ears. She had heard the beginning of what Selina said. But, in her mind, “jewelry” was easily replaced with “women”. The words made her immediately experience tunnel vision… and Tabitha gladly welcomed it.
“……Please… don’t…” that voice tried to reason with her. Tabitha only shook her head.
“This got nothing to do with you!” she growled. Puzzled, Selina looked back; she found her words odd.
“Wha…” it was all Tabitha allowed her to say; without warning, she was in front of the woman with her hand wrapped around her neck. Before Selina could pry her fingers away, she felt a sharp pain make its way through the side of her face; Tabitha had slammed her into the brick building. She tried to shake the stars away from her vision and the ringing in her ears but was slammed into the building once more.
This wasn’t the Tabitha she was used to. The other times they had fought, the woman had relied on her lightning abilities; the very last time, it showed that she was being trained by Bruce: Tabitha was a bit more tactical. Not this time. The lightning woman had snapped and showed off her true power. Grant it, it was uncontrolled and brutal but it was there, lightning and all. Selina knew that whatever this was Tabitha was experiencing had gone far beyond the ring.
A couple of more slams into the brick building face first and Selina knew that her face had swollen. Everything happened so quickly, she had no time to fight back let alone try to reason with the woman. She had hoped that the woman would either tire out or realize that she was in no shape to fight back.
Relief never came. Selina was positive that Tabitha slammed her into that wall so many times, she made a large imprint. Finally, she decided to stop but threw her to the ground. Selina tried to look up at her; her vision was blurred and her left eye was closed.
“T-Tabitha…” although it was very hard for her to focus, she knew that the lightning woman was stalking her. It was evident that Tabitha was no longer coherent. She tried to scramble away from her but was quickly met with a charged kick to her abdomen. She coughed as her breath left her; when she tried to breathe in, immense pain caused her vision to whiten, “S-Stop; just… go get the damn ring!” she tried. Tabitha’s response was another lightning-charged kick that sent her flying into the wall.
Selina didn’t want to do anything but lay there; begging for mercy was useless at that point. She knew that blood was seeping from her mouth and hoped that Tabitha saw it as well when the woman grabbed her by the shirt. The one thing that she noticed as they were now face-to-face was that she had a wild, raged look in her eyes. Even her breathing was erratic; Selina prayed that the woman would eventually pass out from hyperventilating!
With a heavy grunt, Tabitha threw her to the other side of the alley followed by a Lightning Cloud to face her yet again. She hovered over her, simply glaring down at her. Selina tried once more to get away but was stopped as Tabitha placed her foot on top of her ankle.
“W-W-Wait… Tabitha… please… s-s-stop…” Selina cried; the pressure she placed on her ankle was a sure sign of what was about to happen. Another singe of pain coursed through her body as Tabitha applied more pressure, the bones in Selina’s ankle slowly cracking. She wanted to let out a sigh of relief as Tabitha removed her foot but she knew that she wouldn’t be able to even limp away; there was no way she would be able to put any pressure on that ankle.
Without warning, Tabitha let out a frantic yell as she slammed her foot down on Selina’s ankle. Coupled with the rest of the pain she felt, the shock of a crushed ankle made her finally scream. The piercing aches coursed throughout her body, making her immediately pass out from it all. That blood curdling scream was enough to make Tabitha’s vision come back to normal. Her body burned as she tried to control her breathing. Her heart continued to race as she finally noticed Selina on the ground, bloodied and bruised.
“W… Wha… Se… n-n-no…” she shook as she stared at her in horror. She couldn’t think straight, the sickness that plagued her for months started to climb into her throat, “F-Fuck… Selina…” Tabitha placed her sweaty hands on top of her head in disbelief, “S-Shit!”
She didn’t know who else to turn to; before she knew it, Tabitha made her way into Dr. Meridian’s office. The blond, along with her client looked up in confusion at her. She couldn’t calm herself down and was breathing heavily. She trembled as she made her way inside, sweat and blood dampened her clothing.
“Um, Tabitha? I’m… with a client right no…” she cut herself short as currents of electricity flowed from her arms. Tabitha glared at the man.
“Get out…” she didn’t have to tell him twice; he gathered his things and ran out the room. Her glare softened to a look of utter confusion when the two were alone, “I… doc… p-please… h-help…”
“Okay… tell me what happened. Do I need to call Bruce?”
“I… Selina… fuck! I think… I k-k-killed… her…” she was finding it harder and harder to control her breathing as well as that sickness. Tabitha paced the floor erratically as Chase looked on in fear.
“Y-You… Tabitha, I need for you to calm down…”
“It… happened. It fucking happened! I… j-just… s-s-shit!!” she punched the nearest wall to her. Tears started to stream down to her cheeks as she realized what she had done, “I… I can’t… n-n-no…”
“…… You need to calm down, please…”
“I… fucking… CAN’T!!!”
“Tabitha? Was that the voice? It said something to you?” Chase picked up her phone.
“J-J-Just… make it stop!”
“…… Don’t make me do this to you…”
“W-W-What? D-Do… what… to me…? What are you gonna do?! Who are you?!?!” she panicked. She was hyperventilating, wheezing as she continued to try to breathe normally.
“Tabitha…?” Chase cautiously approached her.
“…… You’ve left me no choice. I’m sorry…” the whisper seemed to echo in her head. Tabitha’s eyes widened as she started to gag for air.
“I… I… can’t… b-breathe…” was the last thing she could say. Chase watched in horror as she collapsed.
“Tabitha!” she immediately dialed Bruce’s number.
“Dr. Meridian, it’s too early for remind…”
“Bruce, come quick! Tabitha barged in here and just passed out!”
No one knew what to say to him; they had never seen him so distraught. He had every right to be, they knew that. The League members had no idea how to handle the sight of Bruce carrying a limp Tabitha in his arms, rushing her to the infirmary. Quite a few followed, trying to figure out what happened. Bruce ignored the others’ questions as he watched the medics work to get her breathing on her own. A large lump gathered in his throat when he saw that they eventually had to put her on a respirator. He clenched his fists, fighting the urge to go back into the room to figure out what was wrong with her. He tried to tell himself that the people working on her were the best medics in the world… and they were doing all that they could.
The only thing anyone got out of him was a repeat of what Chase had told him: her behavior was erratic, talking in spurts about killing Selina. Clark went to check her story and was relieved to find the woman only terribly beaten and bruised with a shattered left ankle in an alley two blocks away from her home. Bruce stayed on Watchtower, awaiting any type of news on Tabitha’s condition.
The last time he could remember weeping was when his parents were killed. After making the decision to become Batman, he also made the decision that he would never show weakness, again. It didn’t mean that he was uncaring; he felt that he couldn’t afford to show any emotions. This time, he couldn’t help it. His fiancée had laid there for two days, unresponsive but no one could tell him what was wrong with her. He didn’t want to think about the theories at the moment; he just wanted her to be fine.
The truth being, Bruce Wayne was a very emotional man; he was definitely going through a slew of them. After a while, there was only one lingering emotion: fury. No one knew anything; it seemed that the Watchtower medics were contempt with keeping her on the respirator! He removed his head from his hands and looked at her with misted eyes. Disregarding the machine helping her breathe, she looked so peaceful to him. Her messed up clothing had been removed and she was in a white hospital gown. He didn’t know how to feel about the fact that she only had small bruising on her left knuckles while it was uncertain if Selina would walk again, let alone the countless constructive face surgeries she would endure.
Bruce’s thoughts were abruptly interrupted by the urgent beeping of her monitors. His heart felt as though it dropped into the pit of his stomach as Tabitha’s body jerked in small spasms. Three medics ran in and began looking her over.
“She’s seizing! I’m sorry, sir but you’ll have to leave!” one of the medics ordered. Before he could object, the other two pushed him out of the room, forcing him to watch from the other side of the glass. Bruce seethed as he watched, longing to go back in there to at least hold her hand. Something was making her suffer and he couldn’t do anything about it. Hot tears blurred his vision as he continued to watch. After what seemed like an eternity to him, everything calmed down.
“… Bruce…” Diana carefully approached him. She was fighting her own tears after watching her friend go through the seizure, “What… happened…?”
“I don’t know…” it was the closest he got to screaming; it was what he wanted to do at that point, “I don’t know anything…”
She narrowed her eyes, not particularly at him but at the entire situation. How was it possible that no one knew anything about Tabitha’s sudden decline in health?
“Then, find out something! Don’t you dare sit and mope when I know you can do something!” she glared at him. She was right, he finally realized. Why was he relying on the civilians? Why was he being pushed around by them? Bruce knew that the only way to get some results… was to get them through his means!
The professor didn’t even try to hide her tears as she looked at her best friend.
“Oh, my God… Tabs…” she immediately grabbed the woman’s hand. She looked at Bruce, “What happened?!”
“I… damnit, Jamila; I don’t know! She went into one of her blackout rages; she nearly killed Selina! She went to Dr. Meridian. She tried to tell her what happened but… she was panicking. And then she just… collapsed.” he explained.
“What… what did the doctors say…?”
“… The only thing they know is that… something is slowly shutting down her organ function…”
“W-What? Which one?!”
“… All of them…” Bruce added, looking away, “I… I need your help.”
“Bruce… I don’t know anything about this. I’m a doctor of education and science, not medicine.”
“Are you sure that the DNA strand isn’t causing this?”
“It wouldn’t cause anything this dramatic. It’s already a part of her; there would’ve been signs a long time ago…” she tried to explain. Bruce sighed heavily and nodded.
“I still would like your help. We need to get her out of this coma and get her back to normal.”
“You know I’d do anything for her…”
He was thankful for the professor; the two ran any and every test they could think of. Bruce insisted that they checked on Tabitha’s mutant DNA strand but ended up owing her best friend an apology. Jamila was right; the strand wasn’t the culprit of Tabitha’s strange and deadly illness.
It took almost a week before Bruce finally found what he believed was the answer. He was working on little to no sleep, beyond exhausted but there was a shimmer of relief in his voice as he called for Jamila. Although she was just as tired as Bruce, her heart raced as she went into the infirmary.
“I wanted to kick myself for taking a break. But now, I’m so glad I did! We missed something… and it was right in front of us this whole time!” he gave her a sheet of paper. Jamila looked it over, a wrinkle forming on her forehead.
“Whoa… her hormone levels are through the roof! Yeah… how’d we miss that?” she sat down and continued to look at the results, “Even still, I don’t see how this…… wait… that’s… that hormone. Why do I know…… oh. Oh! Bruce! Tabs is…?” her eyes widened at Bruce. He slowly nodded.
“Yes. She’s pregnant.” he confirmed. The announcement made her cover her mouth in sheer astonishment.
“Oh, my God. That makes this more serious…”
“… Yes and no. It’s the reason why she’s in a coma.”
“What…? But… how? Maybe it’s the strand after all? Combined with her being pregnant…”
“No. It was just… I want to say this happens when something alien is introduced into the body…”
“Wait; how can you be so cruel and technical about this? For fuck’s sake, you’re gonna be a…”
“I meant that literally.” Bruce looked dead at Jamila.
“Okay. I know that we’re both exhausted but you’re really confusing the shit outta me right now! I don’t know how to take that… literally…? Holy…… shit…”
“Honestly? Those were my exact words.” he couldn’t help but to add a smirk. He handed her another sheet of paper, an ultrasound. Jamila looked on, eyes still widened, taking in everything. The digital picture was clear as day; she had to marvel at the technology the superheroes had at their disposal! However, there was no mistaking whose child Tabitha was carrying.
“How’s this possible…? He’s been gone…”
“Almost a year, I know. I don’t know much about Martian reproduction. I can’t say that I was even curious to ask! But, I’m assuming that because she’s human is why she’s been carrying for so long.”
“Damnit! The mood swings, her getting sick so much… how the hell did I miss that?!”
“Remember: we just thought that it had to do with her DNA strand.”
“Huh; true.” Jamila sat down and looked at her best friend, “So… it’s safe to say that the human body can’t hold any other species’ fetus. It… it’s a natural defense mechanism for the body to fight off anything foreign. But we don’t know for sure if it’s the baby or her own body shutting her organs down.”
“… We have to see to it that both survive…” Bruce looked at Jamila. She shot a look at him.
“You have a plan?”
“That is the plan. There has to be some way to stop whichever one is doing the harm.” Bruce idly grabbed Tabitha’s hand. No amount of sighing could hold back his tears. He cursed at them, at everything in his head. Once he found out that she was pregnant, he had a lot of thinking to do. Although he knew that it was the right decision, it didn’t mean that he had to like it, “… I can’t stay…”
“I have to call things off with her. Everything…” his words resonated in her head. Before she could control anything, Jamila approached him and slapped him as hard as she could.
“Why would you do that to her?! You… fucking… coward!!”
“No; fuck you!! Hasn’t she been through enough?! We ain’t found a cure for nothing and you’re calling it quits?! What the hell kind of man are you?!”
“I love her. I really do. And I will always love her. She will get better; her and the baby. But… I can’t do this. It’s not fair to her or that child; I can’t raise it.”
“You know what? For a superhero, you fucking suck! You’re gonna make her do this by herself all because…”
“If it was anyone else’s child, I would be more than willing to accept it as my own! I obviously can’t in this situation! How… it’s not like J’onn isn’t coming back! This makes them a family; as much as I love her, why would I stand in the way of that?” he tried to explain. Jamila shook her head, still furious with him.
“You can’t make that decision for her.”
“A decision needs to be made now, about everything! I don’t like it but it needs to be done!”
“I pray for your life that she agrees with that!” she glared at him but turned away.
“… We still have to figure out how to make her better…”
“You’re the one with all the answers.”
“Alright, alright!” she huffed and sat back down in a chair. She ran her hands through her dreads, “Okay… this has to be something that the baby is doing. Because her new DNA is enhanced. Well… whatever needs to be done, Martian DNA will be needed. She’s… I don’t know how far along she is by Martian standards; it may be too risky to extract the little one’s DNA…”
“I… I have Martian DNA in my lab.”
“… What…? How’d you get… does J’onn know this?”
“How do you think I got it? He willingly offered.”
“… You got everyone’s DNA on file? Wait, don’t answer that: I really don’t wanna know!” the professor shook her head, “I guess… to the Batcave!”
He was going to wait until something happened. Whether it was for the better or worse, Bruce mentally promised that he would be there. He did all the testing that he could with the serum he made; it was beyond time to put it to the test. He wondered why the Martian hadn’t shown up; J’onn always had a knack for appearing at just the right moments. Then again, he was pretty sure that everyone knew about the engagement. It was probably enough to drive the Martian away for good.
Nonetheless, Bruce truly believed that the pregnancy would bring them back together. He didn’t want to be in the way of that. Raising a child terrified him; how would he deal with raising a half Martian child? Both notions scared him to death; he felt that he had no other choice but to let her go.
The professor pointed out some harsh truths, he at least admitted that. How would Tabitha react to everything? They had never talked about children. He saw how she treated Dr. Lindsey’s children however they were closing in on their preteen years. For all that he knew, Tabitha could be just as terrified about having her own! No one would know until she recovered. Bruce just hoped that he made the right choice and that she wouldn’t be too upset with him.
He had lost track of time but at least he was getting more sleep than before. Albeit on a not so comfortable roll away couch but once she was responsive, he would find the time to complain. He knew the medics’ routine checks by heart; it was always enough to stir him out of any amount of sleep.
“Sir!” a medic rushed in. Her urgent voice was enough to make him jump from the couch as though he wasn’t sleep at all. His mind wasn’t too groggy to study her; she had a surprised expression on her face. That was a good sign, he hoped.
“A big one! Look…” she gave him a sheet of paper. Her test results. He had seen so many since she slipped into her coma; Bruce knew what most of the numbers meant as well as what to look for. He stared at the results, finally dragging his hand across his face.
“They’re functioning. On their own! Also her liver and her lungs…” she glanced at Tabitha and shook her head in amazement, “Sir… what did you give her…?” she was beyond curious. No one else knew about the real cause of Tabitha’s illness. Because of who he was, the medics had no other choice but to let Bruce run his own tests as well as provide his own method of a cure. Bruce let out a small laugh, wiping at his tears.
“… Something that I had hoped would work…”
Her lungs burned and she didn’t understand why. It was as though she hadn’t breathed in a long time. She felt weighed down and tried to move. She couldn’t hear, she couldn’t see, she could barely breathe; Tabitha started to freak out. Then, she remembered the last thing someone… or something tried to tell her: calm down. Once she did so, her senses started to slowly work. She was laying down, she realized. The sounds of machines bombarded her ears. The hospital, she wanted to moan out.
At first, the voices were all jumbled up and muffled. As she laid there, trying her best to breathe normally, they separated from each other and became clear. Several people… all of whom she was familiar with. Tabitha willed her eyes to open; she wasn’t the least bit surprised that her vision was blurry. Despite being impatient and uncomfortable, she decided to let her eyes adjust on their own. The figures sitting around in the room became more recognizable. She tried to speak but found that something was painfully blocking that function. What could she do? It hurt to even make a sound; she needed to get their attention. The only thing that came to mind was to see if she could produce lightning.
She saw something out the corner of her eye. While the family spoke amongst each other, Jamila turned to look at her best friend. Her eyes widened as she saw weak currents travel from Tabitha’s hands to her arms. Their eyes met, both glistening with tears.
“T-Tabs…” she covered her mouth. The words wouldn’t come to her; all Jamila could do was grab Bruce and force him to look.
“Tabitha…” his words made everyone stop speaking and look over at her.
The medics removed her from the respirators, still keeping an eye on her. She was weak and took her time to do things. Finally, she was able to sit up on her own and her throat had been refreshed. She looked at the worried and relieved faces that waited for her to say something.
“… What… happened…?” she had enough time to recollect her memory but simply couldn’t.
“You don’t remember anything?” Bruce asked her. As she tried, she slowly shook her head, “Well… you beat up Selina… pretty bad…” he looked at her for some sort of reaction. She leaned back, letting the words soak in. The visions came back in pieces as she shook slightly.
“Oh, my God… I did… is she…” she looked up at Bruce with tears in her eyes.
“She survived. With a lot of physical therapy, she might be able to walk with just a limp.”
“Bruce… it happened. I lost it and… I just… let it happen…” Tabitha started to cry.
“Okay, how about we talk more about that when you get better?”
“N-No. I wanna… talk about it… now. Everything.”
“Okay. So, you want to know exactly what happened to you.” Bruce asked her.
“Fine. But, I need everyone to leave.” he glared at the others in the room. They all gave him a look before finally leaving. Jamila gave him a noticeable glare before exiting with the League members, “There’s no need for the whole world to know; I’ll leave that up to you.” he started. Bruce told her everything that happened, from Dr. Meridian’s frantic call to her mysterious illness that kept her on life support.
“So… what was it…?” she looked at Bruce. He sighed and managed a small smile.
“You’re pregnant, Tabitha.”
“……… What…? B-But… h… how far along…?”
“… I don’t know. It’s hard to tell.”
“I don’t get it. None of it. How is me being pregnant the cause of all this…?”
“It’s… not mine.” he sighed out.
“What do you mean, it’s not………” Tabitha’s eyes widened when she made the realization, shaking her head, “N-n-no. That’s… that’s impossible…”
“I’ve been with the Justice League for a while now. Nothing’s impossible.” he shook his head, “We don’t know about Martian development. So, what’s normal for us may not be the same for them.” Bruce tried to explain. It left Tabitha dumbfounded. Becoming pregnant never dawned on her; she was too busy trying to fit in with the Justice League and fighting her own personal battles. Especially after J’onn left, she felt that her little trip to the future was null and void. How wrong she was!
She reclined back, trying to grasp everything. Pregnant. With a Martian child. The father nowhere to be found. As she covered her eyes in disbelief, it finally dawned on her: all of those times she was sick. Tabitha swore it was the DNA strand’s doing; how would she had known that it was a case of morning sickness? She admitted that she had been moody a lot as well. Her overreactions to petty things. She let out a gasp: she was pregnant when the Martian was still on Watchtower!
“I… I was pregnant when he was still here. Shit… no wonder I was in a fucked up mood towards him!” Tabitha truly wished that he was there; now more than ever she wanted to apologize to him, “So, the baby’s… attacking my organs still?”
“No. With Jamila’s help, we found a serum to counterattack that. It won’t hurt the baby but it stops both your body and it from attacking each other.” he said. Tabitha nodded. She gazed at him as he looked away, holding her hand. She sighed and squeezed it.
“You’re breaking up with me… aren’t you?” she surprised him. Bruce shot her a look and opened his mouth but nothing came out, “It’s… well, it ain’t okay but… I kinda understand. I can’t ask you to raise a Martian child.”
“I love you, Tabitha. I always will. And I will be there for you, through everything. So, you won’t be alone in this. It’s just… it’s not fair to J’onn. He should be the one raising his own child; he will be the one!”
“You… really think he’ll be back?”
“He said he would. He’s never broken a promise since I’ve known him. This is proof that… you two were meant to be.”
“What if I don’t want it that way? What made you think that you could decide that for me?”
“I know; I jumped the gun and made the decision without you or even for you. Either way, I wasn’t going to make up my mind on that. I can’t raise a Martian child as my own.”
“Huh… for obvious reasons.” Tabitha leaned her head back and sighed deeply. She gave him a look, “Alright. So, we’re done. But, we’re still friends… right?”
“Of course. You’re… taking this better than I imagined.”
“Trust me, this shit hurts! But… you ain’t doing this to hurt me. Hell, you ain’t even doing this for me! It makes sense. Cuz there’d be questions I’d have a hard time answering! So this is for the best, I guess. But, I won’t put up a fit if you agree to two things.”
“One: we stay friends. Like, how we were when I was your electrician.”
“And, two: if we get back together, you gotta stop being mad at J’onn!”
“I…” he let out a small laugh, “I questioned a lot of things that he did. And yes, I was jealous. But… he’s always been my friend. And, I’ve long since lost my envy. But it’s a deal.” Bruce gave her a smile before he hugged her.
Her parents gave her huge hugs, almost not wanting to let her go. Tabitha told them all that happened to her as the three sat in the living room. A week had passed since she woke up from her coma. She was still on light duty as far as being Monitor and admitted that she was still a little weak from her ordeal. She followed orders and took everything one step at a time.
Tabitha automatically knew the looks she would get: shock, bewilderment and then happiness at her news. She had to laugh as the two went through those emotions exactly how she called it! They eventually learned of her breakup and who the father really was. She was at a loss of words for their next reactions: ones of almost relief. Tabitha was surprised to find out that while they liked Bruce, had nothing against him, they actually preferred J’onn. They felt that the engagement was something that made Tabitha feel less lonely and that her true love was for the Martian. As awkward as their first and second encounters with him were, they had learned to love and accept him. Maybe Bruce was right after all; maybe J’onn and Tabitha were really meant to be.
She found herself almost exhausted after dinner and was glad that none of her brothers were visiting; she claimed one of the rooms to get some sleep in. Her thoughts consumed her once everything was quiet. After her shower, she found herself sitting on the bed, staring at her stomach. She tried to imagine herself with a pregnant belly, wondering why after a year she wasn’t showing… at all! She had gained a little bit of weight but nothing to set off any alarms (unless she counted her father’s instincts).
She was pregnant. Tabitha Lyght was pregnant. She was going to be a mother. She had never thought about being one. For the moment, she only had Bruce, Jamila and her family for support. No Martian. She guessed that between all of them, she would figure out how to care for a Martian child. Or better yet, she smirked, the child would attempt to take care of her!
Her eyes widened at the thought. She rubbed at her belly, tracing an abstract figure and smiled.
“… Why didn’t you tell me you were the voice?”
“…… I’m sorry…” for the first time, she smiled at the hushed voice, “I thought you knew.”
“It never dawned on me.” she shook her head, “You’ve been in there for a long time! Are… are you comfortable…?”
“Oh. Okay. I’ll, uh, I’ll try not to put us in so much danger! I ain’t mad at you for doing what you did. You actually couldn’t help it, I guess!”
“…… I tried not to hurt you…”
“I know. I wasn’t listening. I was…” the thought of it made tears form, “Mommy’s so sorry for not listening to you! I’ll… I’ll make it up to you, okay? I don’t know how. A-a-a-a-and, I don’t know what to do from here. But… we’ll be fine…” she sniffed as she wiped at her tears.
“…… Could you tell me about father?” the question made her gasp, fighting more tears, “Please? I want to hear about him…”
“I… okay. Yeah… let’s talk about your dad…”