Bruce saw Diana sitting alone in the cafeteria. She looked pissed off which kept everybody away. Other than Superman, no one wanted to deal with a pissed off Wonder Woman. Well, almost, no one. After getting a cup of coffee, Bruce headed over to her table and sat down.
"Diana," he said.
"I want to be alone," said Diana.
"Okay, Greta Garbo, you want to be alone. I'm not leaving you alone," said Bruce. "What's wrong?"
"Steve is pestering me about Kal. It seems that ARGUS and General Lane disliked and distrusted Kal when he was actively saving people as Superman, but they distrust him even more now that he is out of sight," said Diana.
"No offense, Diana, I don't trust Steve. He might be a good man, but ARGUS cannot be trusted and he works or ARGUS," growled Batman.
"I know, Bruce, but then again you don't trust anyone," said Diana.
Bruce sipped his coffee, as Diana played with her salad. Several minutes passed before Bruce spoke again.
"Clark and Zee are looking for an apartment to share. I guess that relationship is serious," he said.
Her hand tensed up slightly and she bent the fork she was holding. Diana looked up at Bruce with a scowl on her face, which she quickly replaced with a serene smile. Bruce hid his smile behind his cowl.
"That is a major step so soon in their relationship. I'm surprised that Clark would do that. He usually isn't so impetuous," Diana stated.
"I know," exhaled Bruce. "Zee is impulsive by nature. We know that Clark isn't. He's acting out of character, so I intend on talking to him about this. Maybe prod him a little. Would you care to join me?"
"No. I promised myself I wouldn't interfere in this relationship. Kal deserves happiness, too, Bruce. We should leave them alone," added Diana.
"Superman has to be careful how he lives his life, Diana. He needs to be back on the job and with the league, not living the life of a normal human being," Bruce countered.
Bruce stood up leaving his coffee on the table. He looked down at Diana.
"If you change your mind then let me know," he said. "I'll be in the monitoring until the end of my shift. We can arrange a time and place when to talk to him."
"Have a good evening, Bruce," said Diana.
"And, you, too, princess," he replied.
The real estate agent walked them through the three two bedroom apartment. Along with a living room, full kitchen, full dining room, and two bathrooms, there was a den/office and the master bedroom that had a walk-in closet. The molding along the ceilings and floor appeared to be hand carved, every expensive. Clark knew apartments like this existed but he never thought he'd live in one of them. He still wasn't sure that he would live in one of them. The apartment just seemed too big and too expensive.
"And if you open these French door in the living room," said the real estate agent, "you have a balcony overlooking Centennial Park. During the 4th of July you have a perfect view of the fireworks."
He could hear Zee's heart beat increasing. She liked the place. He couldn't blame her. It would be a great place to live and there'd be room for the part of his life he hid from the world in order to have space. There definitely would be space, he thought.
"How much?" asked Zee.
"$2400 a month," said the agent. "For a place this size and location, the rent is very reasonable. I could probably get double that, but the landlord cares more about who rents it rather than how much. Mr. Kent has a reputation as an upstanding and honest journalist. The landlord likes your work."
"Um, gee, that's flattering… um… well, I… um," Clark babbled in his Clark Kent persona.
Zatanna almost laughed. Clark smiled at her then he started to think about the rent. At most he could afford $900 a month and that was with the idea that the blog started to earn more money. He was about to thank the real estate agent for time and effort when he heard Zatanna's voice speak before him.
"When would we be able to have some furniture moved into the apartment?" she asked.
"Move in? Huh?" Clark spoke up.
With an expression that told Clark not to argue but just be quiet, Zatanna glared at him.
"We'll discuss things, Clark, but let me ask my questions first," she said.
"Okay, Zee," he sighed.
She was going to do what she wanted to do. Zee was used to getting her way. He smiled. Of course, that was one of the things he fell in love with about her.
"You can move in right away," said the agent. "All you need will be first, last, and a deposit."
"No problem. If we rent it then we'll pay for a year up front. It makes my business manager happy," she said.
"Oh, well, that will make the landlord very happy," said the agent.
"Can you leave us in this room, so I can talk to my…," Zatanna thought about what to call Clark for a moment then she smiled and said, "boyfriend."
"Gladly," said the agent, who left them alone.
A smile lit up Zatanna's face as she thought of Clark as her boyfriend. She walked up to Clark, placed one hand on his chest and then grabbed his shirt and pulled him close so that she could kiss him. Once the kiss was done, Clark just stood there forgetting why he wanted to talk to her.
"Magical lipstick, I can grow to like that stuff," he mumbled.
"We are taking this place, Clark. No argument. It has enough room and the master bedroom will fit a California king easily and I really want to spend some time on a California king with you," she stated.
"But the price," he said remembering his qualms. "I can't afford this place, Zee."
"I can afford this place without you, Clark, so I definitely can afford this place with you. I'm living here. If you want to live with me, then you are going to have to move in and enjoy yourself," she said.
"I'm paying for some of the rent. I insist on that much," he said.
"We'll work that out later. Now I want to sign the lease and then pick put some furniture for our new place," purred Zatanna.
"I have furniture," said Clark.
"Ikea?" she asked.
"Um… some," was his answer.
"I don't do Ikea, Clark."
She once again sidled up against him and distracted him with her lips. When they were done kissing, Clark exhaled deeply.
"I'm not going to let you get away with manipulating all the time," he told her.
"Some of the time, please," she sighed.
"Okay, some of the time," he said.
"I can live with that… and you," she purred again.
Clark looked into her violet eyes and smiled, "Are you enchanting me, Zee?"
"No, Clark, I'm just in love you with you," she said.
He chuckled then kissed her.
"Okay, if this is the apartment you want then this is the apartment we get, but I need to carry my weight. I'm not here for a free ride," he said.
"Believe me," she smirked, "you'll carry your weight. Now I'm going to talk lease with the agent and then furniture shopping. I want you to use your x-ray vision to check out pipes, electrical wires, and whatever else you can think of that might give us trouble."
"Yes, ma'am," he grinned, as she left him alone in what was to become their apartment together.
Clark and Zatanna's Apartment
Clark was in the kitchen checking on the ham he was cooking in the oven, as well as the lasagna, green bean casserole, pasta salad, fresh baked rolls, and a large store bought strawberry shortcake. In the living room, he could hear Zatanna mumbling under her breath, while she played with his iPod on the docking speaker systemlooking for songs the party.
"Kansas, really? Chicago, Beatles, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan… I'm in love with a geek. Oh, God, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra, too. We are using my iPod," she mumbled to herself.
Clark smiled. With his x-ray vision he checked on her. She was wearing black jeans and tight fitting Clash tee shirt. Just looking at her made him swallow hard. He shook his head and got back to dealing with the food. The doorbell rang. It was the first of their guest. Clark picked up the ham in its pan without an oven mitt and placed it on the counter to cool then he headed off to great their guests.
Most of Zatanna friends would know him as Clark Kent who is Superman, but most of his friends only knew him as Clark Kent. Zatanna made sure to warn everyone not talk shop or exposure secret identities.
"Darling, you look lovely," said Madame Xanadu.
Her date for the night was Jason Blood. He handed Zatanna an expensive bottle of wine. Xanadu turned her attention to Clark as he entered.
"Oh, my, his little disguise really does work. Sloppy hair, glasses which dull the color of his eyes, slouching which takes inches off his height, baddy jeans and blue dress shirt hiding a perfect body, I'm impressed. Plus, he even has a brooding aura as Clark Kent, as opposed…," Xanadu spoke.
"Enough, Xanadu," Zatanna cut her off.
This amused Jason Blood, who offered Clark his hand to shake. They shook hands.
"The food smells appetizing," Jason said.
"I've finished cooking and I was about to set it up on the dining room table," said Clark.
"Need help?" asked Zatanna.
Clark smiled then disappeared in a blur. They could hear in in the dining room setting the food up.
"I hope he isn't that fast in the bedroom," Xanadu remarked.
Zatanna glared at her then said, "Believe me he's not."
"Ladies, shall I escort you in the living room," smiled Jason offering them each an arm.
Within the hour the apartment was filled guests, who had all come with house warming gifts, which were now in a corner of the dining unopened. As a Vampire Weekend song played, Jimmy Olsen talked to Kara and Dora Leigh. Lois Lane and her beau Jonathan Carroll talked Barry Allen and Cat Grant, while Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle talked to each other as if they were strangers. Dick Grayson brought Katana as his guest and kept to themselves, while Barbara Gordon, Dinah Lance, Ev Crawford talked with a flirting Oliver Queen.
The rest of the guests were rounded out with Madame Xanadu, Jason Blood, the vampire Andrew Bennett, who was on his best behavior, and Tim Drake with Cassie Sandsmark. While Zatanna drifted among the guests Clark scanned the guests to see if anyone needed a fresh drink. Bruce broke away from Selina and joined Clark.
"Diana told me to apologize, but she couldn't make it. Ambassador duties," he said.
"Connor couldn't make it either. Titan business," said Clark.
"Nice place, Kent. Never thought I'd see you living in a neighborhood like this," said Bruce.
"Zatanna liked the place," said Clark.
"And you do what she says now, Kent, right?" said Bruce.
"I like her to be happy, and she liked the place, especially the view of the park," said Clark.
"Does she make all big decisions?" Bruce asked.
"Bruce, I know you too well. You are dancing around something, so why don't you just come out and say what you mean," said Clark with a sincere smile.
"I think it's a little soon for you two to be cohabitating," said Bruce. "You and Zee have polar opposite personalities. You should take this slow so no one gets hurt."
Just then Diana came over the earwig that Bruce was wearing. Clark could hear it as clear as if she was speaking in his ear.
"Bruce, we have an emergency. I'm about to headed down to Metropolis now. We have Toyman, Parasite, Cheeta, and Kalibak," said Diana. "Steel is backing me along with Hal and Dinah."
"Let me know if you need more backup," growled Bruce in a whisper.
"Will do," said Diana.
Bruce looked at Clark. He looked like a man who wanted to suit up.
"Kalibak?" asked Clark.
"Darkseid has banished him, so he's looking to prove himself to his father by taken down Superman," said Bruce. "Feel like suiting up, Clark?"
"I'm not sure I'm coming back to the league, but it might be time for Superman to return," said Clark.
"You better get Zee's permission," said Bruce.
Clark glowered at Bruce for a moment. Before he could respond, Zatanna came over. Instinctively, she knew that Bruce was prodding Clark. She put her arm through Clark's arm and smiled at Bruce.
"I hope you and Clark are getting along, Bruce," she said.
"Playing den mother, Zee," said Bruce.
"Contemplating a little spell that will shrink your manhood for at least a month," she purred.
"Your father would be proud of you," growled Bruce then he strode away.
Clark chuckled then he leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He whispered in her ear.
"I can't wait for our guests to leave," he said.
The rest of the evening went without incident. Lois insisted on turning the TV on when she got a text alert about the Justice League battling in Metropolis. She took a look at the TV, show how close the battle was, then she, her beau, and a pissed off Jimmy rushed out to cover the battle. Cat was the next to leave when she begged off to go to a late date. With them gone it was a room full of people who knew each other's secret identities. Clark ran his hand through his hair making it less messy and stood up to his proper full height. He then took off his glasses.
"Thank God, they're gone. I've been dying to do this all evening," said Barry, who then blurred over to the dining table and the food buffet and filled two plates with food and started eating. "Helluva a cook you got there, Zee."
Selina sashayed over to Clark moving in to his personal space.
"I like you better as Clark Kent," she smiled.
"Watch it, kitten, before Zatanna makes it so you can only use a litter box," warned Xanadu.
"Ohh, Steel just took a nasty hit by Kalibak," said Dick, who was still watching the TV.
Clark moved over to watch with him.
"Diana should be handling Kalibak. She'd be able to clean his clock. The Black Canary should be handling Cheetah, Steel the Parasite and the Green Lantern dealing with Toyman," Clark told him.
"Sounds like you care, Kent," said Bruce.
"Sounds like then need Batman, Bruce, to give them some leadership and guidance," Clark countered.
"I'm afraid you're right," growled Bruce.
Without another word Bruce headed out in order to help the league deal with the threat. Barry finished his plate of lasagna and started on his plate of ham, bean casserole, and rolls.
"Clark, please, please, come back to the league. If nothing else, I miss our late night meals when you'd cook something up," said Barry.
"I might be ready to return to Superman, but I don't know if I'm ready for the league," said Clark.
"Thank Rao," Kara spoke up, "I am tired of patrolling Metropolis."
The next morning Zatanna woke in Clark's arms. Clark was already awake.
"Didn't sleep?" she asked.
"I slept, but I never sleep too long," he said. "My hearing tends to wake me up."
"I could cast a spell making this room soundproof," she offered.
"I might take you up on that," he said then he shifted so he could capture her lips more easily with his own.
"So, you're going back to being Superman," she sighed after they ended their kiss.
"I think it's time," he said. "The league wouldn't even have been needed yesterday if I was patrolling. It's time, Zee."
She kissed him.
"I know you're Superman, but I am going to worry about you," she said.
He smiled, "I'm glad."
"You like me worrying about you?" she said.
"Yeah, I kind of do," he answered.
"You know what, Clark," purred Zatanna, "I think it's time for you to pay your share of the rent."
"Yes, ma'am," he said in a heavy voice. "And it's time you provide some red sunlight for this room."