Dec 20th: 12:00 AM.: A cold winter night. Or rather a new day.
Batman was on his usual night patrol. He made the roof top of a tall building as his operating point, from where he could have a clear view of the street, especially the museum, which, according to his sources, is the site of action for the night. He was alone. He insisted Robin to stay out of these chilly night patrols and concentrate on his studies. His grades were beginning to worry him. He had not faced such problem with Dick, he perfectly balanced between his studies and his work. Tim, on the other hand was so obsessed with his newly acquired Robin persona that he dreamt of flying the streets of Gotham all day. No wonder there was a protest from him to Bruce's decision, but the big man had the final word.
The night was colder than usual. Why could't Joker choose a better day to bother him? There was no reason why he should rob a museum, except to attract Batman's attention. "Crime is no fun without Batman" he once remarked. Ever since the Justice League was formed, Joker didn't strike. Perhaps he took his time to devise a better plan, as he had to deal with more than one cape. Little did he know that it shall always be his favourite cape who'd bite his bait, as Batman preferred to work alone.
A cold breeze ran across his face, and he shivered. He then turned around to make sure no one had seen his unplanned reflex. He hated to expose his weakness. Previously, the domain was only two. Now, as he'd started working 'with' the league, the number increased by 6. He could not hide from Jonn and Superman knew too much about him already. His secret identity was turning out to be less than a secret between two. The thought of it frustrated him, and he cursed under his breath.
A shooting star passed in the sky, above his head. He heard an thump on the roof and footsteps approaching him. It was a tall, slender but strong figure. A woman, Wonder Woman!
"Superman sent me" she said, moving towards him.
"I know. You are too conspicuous" he remarked, without turning around.
"Why should I hide?" she questioned. He didn't see that coming.
"What happened to Superman?" he said, changing the subject.
"He is on another mission, in Metropolis" she said.
"And when did Metropolis become a night city?" he muttered. She was unsure if she had got him right.
"I beg your pardon!" she said.
"Never mind!" he replied, banishing the wave of thoughts in his mind about Superman, "what happened to the others?"
She thought for a while. "Jonn is guarding the watch tower. The others, I don't know. May be they are in some other mission, or may be at home."
"Strange! You guys don't keep each other informed? Some Justice League you are!" He knew he was pulling Superman's legs again. He was enjoying that.
"I didn't know you talked so much" she remarked, very casually. But that hit him straight on his face. His smile vanished.
Finding him silent, she added "I am sorry if I hurt you! I usually speak my mind, but I think it is not the right thing to do in the man's world." She waited for acknowledgement, but didn't get any. He was already all the talkative he could be for one day. He stayed quiet, eyes on the street.
She continued "I mean, with the very short association I had with you, I formed an impression that you talk less and work more, sign of a true warrior. So I was a little taken aback when you started talking casually." She paused.
"Blame it on me!" he said to himself. He realised she was waiting for his response. He felt awkward. Two minutes ago, he was enjoying the talk, and now he doesn't want to talk.
He heard her moving towards him. She stood right next to him. She was glowing as she reflected the light from the street lamps.
"Stand behind me, you are too conspicuous." He ordered. She was taken aback by the sudden change in the tone.
"Why should I hide?" she retorted. This time, he had to answer.
"If they see you, they'll not strike and we cannot catch them." He found himself searching for an answer. It was not on the tip of his tongue this time.
"Isn't that good?" she questioned again, bringing all the innocence in the world into her voice.
He remained silent. He did not have an answer to that, or rather he didn't want to answer.
She continued "If they see us, they won't commit the crime, and hence we'll not have to catch anyone". "It's plain and simple" was unsaid but was implied. She waited for an answer.
He was unaware of the smile that swept across his lips for her innocence. Her words made perfect semantic sense, but she didn't know that man's world is not perfect and these words can be marked 'childish' under the given circumstances.
He was brought into senses by the sound of the alarm. He got up swiftly. "There!" he pointed, and before Wonder Woman could get a clear look, he swung across the street, to the museum. She thought to complain, but decided it was better she followed him.
Catching Joker and team was a snap. He ceased to run the moment he saw the new player. All Wonder Woman had to do was stand at the entrance with hands on her waist and stern look in on her face. Joker had faced both the big capes before, but this was a new one. Batman wasted no time in securing their limbs and making sure they don't escape.
The police arrived sooner than usual. Batman swung away. Wonder Woman didn't understand the reason for his impromptu retreat. She only followed him after she was surrounded by a considerably large crowd mumbling her name. They met at the same roof top.
"Why did you run away?" she enquired.
"We don't have to pose for the newspapers or answer to the inquisitive crowd." he said. He was frustrated by the kind of attention this charade drew. He turned back and prepared to leave.
"Yes we have to. We are not appointed by the law. So, when we try to take law into our hands, we have the responsibility to answer to the people. To say the truth, we had no right to do what we did now.", she argued.
Batman was pushed to the edge. He turned around with his fists and his teeth clenched, his face flushing red. He brought his face extremely close to hers.
"That's why they call me vigilante. Happy! Now go away! And next time I ask for Superman, if Superman is not available, tell me he's not. Don't send replacements. I can handle things myself." He swiftly turned around.
Wonder Woman was stunned at this sudden outburst. Soon her astonishment turned to anger and she said "Then why did you call for help?"
Batman who was about to launch his grab wall paused for a while and said "I thought it would speed up the things so that I can prepare myself for tomorrow. As it turns out, I was wrong!" Without giving her a chance to raise another point, he jumped off the building.
Wonder Woman ran to the edge instinctively, to make sure he hadn't crashed to the ground. He glided past the buildings with his grab wall. She stood for a moment, watching him. She wasn't sure if her first impression of him was right. She knew for sure that his behaviour annoyed her.
"How can he be so cold? He is so different from Superman, and the others!" she thought.
The wind augmented the snowfall. She flew up into the sky, back to the watch tower.