If you want to be happy for the rest of your life...
by Te
January 14, 2005

Disclaimers: Nothing here is mine, alas.

Spoilers/Timeline: Vague references to "Chemistry"
and "Mystery of the Batwoman." Takes place at
some point *after* MotB, as well as after
"Starcrossed." Does not reference JLU.

Summary: Tim likes Diana a lot, really.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Author's Note: Just a bit of mostly harmless

Acknowledgments: To Livia for audiencing. To
Jack for the title.



Diana -- Tim only calls her 'Princess' when there are
other people around, and when he doesn't mind
getting his hair ruffled -- frowns thoughtfully. Tim
decides to let her chew on that for a while and flips
up onto the balcony railing.

It's dry and sunny -- he *likes* spring -- and the railing
is cool and just rough enough to feel *extra* sturdy
under his palms. He could, if he wanted to, do this all

"Man... whore?"

"Yep," Tim says, and makes it to the far corner of the
railing. Backwards or a flip-and-turn?

Diana chuckles softly. "I must say, when I asked you to
sum Bruce up in one word, I wasn't expecting... that

Heh. He *likes* being unpredictable. Tim flips and twists
so he can grin at her upside-down. "It's the *right*

Diana raises an eyebrow and plucks a slice of melon off
the platter Alfred had left them. "Dare I ask why?"

"Well, okay. I could give you a list of names -- and don't
even get me started on the *Batwoman* fiasco --"

"Bat... woman?"

"Really, just don't ask."

Diana frowns.

Tim flips back down off the railing and slides back into
his chair. Bruce's chair -- of course -- is still empty.
"Here's the deal."

Diana pours him another cup of tea. "I'm listening."

He'll just bet she is. He's been moving through this
particular corner of the world for long enough to know
that Diana's simple little shift had probably set her
back a few grand's worth of not-quite-priceless coins
and antiquities. Social visits.

"When you smile at me that way, Tim..."


Diana's smile is a sardonic twist that has *just* a few
thousand years of experience behind it.

Tim smiles back. "Should I apologize?"

"You should *explain*," she says, and taps the rim of
his teacup.

He likes Diana a lot, really. "Okay. So first of all, Bruce
Wayne, billionaire has a *reputation*."

She nods. "I... *believe* I understand why Bruce sees
value in maintaining it."

"Mm-hm. Best ever way to keep people from thinking
the huge, ripped guy with a ton of money, a tragic
history, and a tendency to disappear when trouble
starts --"

"Or when visitors arrive..."

"Heh. Right. But the thing *is*... *Bruce* earned that
reputation himself. He *deserves* it."

Diana frowns again. "Surely not all of it."

Tim waves a hand. "Forget the stuff about him being
fickle, and a giant flake, and shallow. All of that. By
rights, he *should* start dating more of the society

"But he doesn't."

"Scientists, curators, women who run charities.
*Smart* women, *cool* women, *strong* women --
but most of all? Smart."

"Hmm." Diana eats another piece of melon. "Ones
who make a lifestyle dependent on secrets

"Difficult? Try impossible. It doesn't *work*, and it
never can. Hell, the one time he actually got close
to retiring for the woman-in-question? It turned
out he was being drugged. The woman was a

"A spy?"

"No, a *plant*. Literally. I -- never mind. Here's
my point -- he sets himself up to fail, and get his
heart broken, and break *their* hearts. Over and
over and over. Now I would just call that
*idiocy* --"

Diana snorts, and looks like she's considering
rapping his knuckles.

"But he *can't* actually help himself. He's human.
He *has* needs."

Another twist of a smile. "Everyone has needs, Tim.
Some of us find better ways to fulfill them."

"Heh. Well, then *go* with idiocy. He's a *stupid*
manwhore about this stuff, because it *isn't* like it
has to be this way."

Diana snorts again and sighs, leaning back in her
chair and crossing her legs.

Tim wonders, idly, if someone who was formed
from a lump of clay is capable of growing body hair.
Does the hair on her head grow? And what about --

"I'm... not the first," Diana says, frowning.

Tim shakes it off. "Hm?"

"What I mean to say -- I've gotten the opportunity
to spend time with Dick, and, of course, with you. It
has not escaped my attention that the one you call
'Batgirl' has been... somewhat less of a presence."

Heh. Tim shrugs and grabs a handful of grapes. He
eats two, and juggles the rest. "For a while, *my*
money was on a Batman/Batgirl hookup, yeah."

"Hers, as well?"

He shrugs again. "It would've been a smart bet... if
it was anyone *but* Bruce."

Diana looks up, and Tim wonders how heightened
her senses are. *Is* Bruce going to make an


Alfred bows slightly. "May I provide anything else,
your highness?"

Diana gestures Alfred upright again and smiles. "The
host, perhaps?"

Alfred looks pointedly back over his shoulder, toward
the clock -- and, of course, the Cave. "I fear some
things are beyond my abilities, your highness."

Tim smirks. "Maybe Diana can get you some god-like
powers of your own, Alfred."

He doesn't actually have to move to a get a hair-ruffle.
Diana has very *impressive* reach.

"*Insolent* child," she says, laughing, and, "Alfred,
I'm not sure how you put up with him!"

"Vicious, regular floggings, of course."

This time, Diana laughs loudly enough to startle the
birds on the balcony above them into flight. Tim
watches them go, and, by the time Diana clears her
throat, Alfred has left them again.

Tim waits.

"So. I have a thought."

"Just one?"

She lets him duck this slap. "In any event. Might there
not be some... method to this madness of your

He's considered it. "Sure, but two things -- one, he
*still* doesn't attach himself to the fluffy girls, and
two... Bruce only *thinks* he always has a plan."

The look she gives him makes him wonder what the
lasso feels like. "Spoken like one disillusioned, Tim."

"Not really. He's the best man I've ever known, and
the smartest. The bravest and... I've thought about
what it would be like to leave him. I'm not sure I
could even get as far as *Dick*. But then... I'm not
trying to *date* him."

She nods, slowly, and looks dubious for a moment,
but all she says is, "Still, if we consider the possibility
of Bruce as a man in love with love, *and* not
particularly eager to change the facts of his

Tim thinks about it -- and lets himself make a show of
it, too, leaning back and sipping the
sweet-for-company tea.

Diana drinks her own, and re-crosses her long, long

"It still seems a little too, well, *planned*. It's hard for
me to imagine Bruce knowing something like that
about himself and still putting himself *through* this,
time and again. I don't think he's *crazy*, after all."

"Just unforgivably foolish, apparently."

Tim smiles and gestures to the empty chair. "Of course,
he *might* just be letting me have the freedom to play
with the visiting Leaguer."

Diana snorts, sets her cup down, and strokes her own
side. No, the dress. "I don't feel quite *prepared* for
sport just now, Tim."

Tim grins. "We can *make* Bruce buy you a new dress
if I mess yours up."

The thing most people don't expect from Diana -- even
*after* they've gotten to know her fairly well -- is that
she actually does get *exactly* what you mean when
you say things like that.

*If* you say things like that. Her eyes are narrow and
her smile makes Tim want to get naked, and --

"Little boy," she says, warningly, and Tim files it away
under things to consider in *depth* the next time he's
in the shower. For now...

He gives Diana his best I'm-a-*good*-boy beam. "What?
I was talking about good, wholesome physical exercise.
Like wrestling."

Diana glares at him for another moment, then chuckles.
"Your world is *very* strange to me, Tim."

He blinks. "You seem to be adjusting --"

She waves him off. "Do you know what I thought when
Clark told me about you boys? About you, in particular."

Clark likes him, so... so. Hmm. Tim shakes his head.

"You've studied history, and I know Bruce pays for quite
excellent schooling for you. It's entirely possible that
*some* of the 'facts' you've been given about the world
I used to visit in the days before no one ever left
Themyscira at all are even accurate."

Tim thinks about it and... whoa. "You thought Bruce...?"

She smiles at him, rueful and gentle. "A warrior with
young male wards. A warrior who habitually deflected
the advances of his sisters in arms, politely but firmly...
it seemed the most logical conclusion to make."

And it *does* make sense. It's just... "I don't think
that's the... problem," he says, after a moment.

"Just so." Diana sighs. "Does it seem incomprehensible
to you that my discomfort with your... 'flirting,' is
based on, more than anything else, the idea that I
would be overstepping my bounds? That I would be...
stealing something I have no right to."

"Diana, the *last* thing I want to do is make you
uncomfortable --"

She cups his cheek. "You're a wonderful young man,
and I look forward to fighting at your side, someday.
But I do not know how I'll feel once I truly accept
that I *do* have the freedom to sport with you as
you wish -- and as intrigues me."

And this would be *why* he will never, ever stop
saying stuff like this out loud. Still, though... "That,
and... once you *also* accept that there are no easy
solutions to, well, Bruce?"

Her hand tightens painfully on his jaw for a moment
before she lets go and smacks the table open-handed.

The crack of stone is loud, ominous, and, for the
moment at least, apparently safe. "Diana --"

"I feel like a pouting child. I think I could *beat* Bruce
for that alone."

Tim thinks about giving Diana Babs' phone number.
Then he thinks about Diana and Babs sparring. Then
he focuses, as best he can. "Is there anything I can

"Other than ruin my dress, you mean?" Diana smiles,
shakes her head, and crosses her arms under her
breasts. "I do not believe so, Tim, though I appreciate
the offer, of course. What *would* you suggest I do?"

Go home. Punch Bruce in the head. Cross your legs
again. Give him time. Give... Tim sighs. He really had
*thought* the whole 'lock Bruce and Babs together in
a room with a bottle of champagne and some de-cel
lines' thing would work, after all.

Bruce had broken them out in less than twenty

"I don't think I *have* any suggestions for you. Nothing
useful, anyway." Tim shrugs again, and gestures at the

Diana shakes her head and smiles at him. "No, young
warrior. I think I've had enough tea today. And enough
of this *dress*."

He stands when she does, and offers his arm.

She chuckles and takes it, allowing him to lead them
back through the manor and into the foyer.

Alfred appears with Diana's light jacket, and she allows
*him* to help her put it on.

"Thank you, Alfred. Tim."

Tim clears his throat. "You *are* always welcome here,
Princess." And if Bruce *didn't* know how good it could
be with you, he'd be right here now, telling you to stay.

She smiles at him as though she's heard all of that, and
kisses his forehead. "I will keep that in mind, I think.
And everything else you've said, as well."

And then she nods at them both, opens the door, and
lifts off into the sky.

Alfred sighs. "You might *consider* trying not to look up
her dress, Master Tim."

"Yeah, *right*."