❯ The Ring – The Ring ( Chapter 1 )

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He definitely felt that way about her, right? He loved her, as numerous times had proved, like when she had been buried under that missile in Gorilla City so long ago.

Batman had been dating Diana for the past two years, ever since that big battle with Darkseid. It hadn’t been a really mushy relationship, since Batman was Batman, but both knew how the other felt. That�s what mattered.

Then obviously, this is the next step to our relationship, he told himself bravely.

�Are you sure you want to do this?� Dick asked tensely.

�I think so,� he answered darkly.

This is kind of weird. Who�d ever think that the billionaire playboy would finally decide to tie the knot?� Bludhaven�s protector snickered at the thought.

�Are you going to help me or not?� the Dark Knight demanded.

Sure, Bruce. I�ll help you.� He composed himself. �Where are you planning on going?�

�Resee�s Rings. They have a good selection of�rings there.� He swallowed hard at the �r� word. It was a bad word for a bachelor.

�Okay. Shall we?� Dick sashayed towards the door, smirking. He seemed to find all this quite funny.

xxxx

�I say, Sir, they do appear to have a good selection.� Alfred pulled the Wayne limousine up to the curb of the jewelry store. Huge diamond rings were displayed in the front window, along with other expensive jewelry.

�Yeah, they do,� Bruce muttered.

�I�ll wait here in the car, Sir.� Alfred rustled a newspaper as he prepared to look at today�s headlines.

�Uh�why don�t you come along, Alfred. We might need some help.� Nightwing declared.

He received a BatGlare.

�As you say, Master Dick.� He carefully folded his newspaper and climbed out of the car. Bruce and �Master Dick� did the same.

Bruce stared at the rings in the window, appearing shell-shocked. I can�t believe I�m about to do this, he thought with shock.

Dick sauntered up to the door, and stepped inside, the others right behind him. The little bell on the knob rang out merrily. The balding man behind the counter looked up. �What can I do for you?�

Alfred wandered over to look at a sapphire necklace hidden behind a shiny glass case.

�We�re looking�we�re looking for a�a�� The billionaire was speechless, choking on the �r� word that meant being finally netted by a woman.

�An engagement ring,� Dick spoke up, looking smug. Bruce looked pained at the word.

�Ah. We have a fine selection here, Sir,� the man said to Bruce. His nametag read �My name is James�. �Would you like to see them?�

He stood there, frozen.

Dick elbowed him. �Yep, he would.�

James pulled a little silver key from his vest pocket, and unlocked the door to the glass counter. He reached in and took out a black display case full of diamond rings. He sat it on the top of the counter. �Which one do you think that your lady friend will like?�

�This one.� Dick pointed to a huge diamond ring surrounded by tiny pinprick diamonds. The big diamond was about the size of a pecan, and looked like it was so heavy that it could snap your finger.

Obviously, he recognized me from the papers, Bruce thought wryly. That ring has to be worth a lot of money. Out loud he said, �No, that�s not it.�

James looked disappointed, and Dick frowned. �Why not? She�s the princess of a race of immortal and beautiful women who live on an island with no men!� he hissed so that James couldn�t hear. �You need to spoil her a little. She�s probably used to rings bigger than watermelons!�

�That ring isn�t her type. I can�t really picture her wearing something so�gaudy,� he mused, coloring slightly as he pictured her delicate, white fingers that could tear an airplane open if they wanted to.

�But��

�Something smaller. Like�this.� the bat disguised as Bruce Wayne carefully lifted a tiny ring from the case. Its tiny band was gold, and the ring was small enough to be modest but not small enough to be unnoticeable. �I want to get her this.�

�But wouldn�t you think that Bruce Wayne�s wife would have a bigger ring than that?� When he had proposed to Babs six months earlier, he had given her a huge ring with a diamond that could compare with a walnut. Their wedding was set for the coming August.

�No. This is what she would wear.� He could already picture it on her left ring finger, glistening in the sunlight as she moved her hand.

�But don�t you think that-�

�Alfred?�

�Yes, Master Bruce?� The elderly butler walked calmly over.

�Can you see Diana wearing this ring?� Bruce held it gently in the palm of his hand, as though afraid that it would break.

Alfred stared at it for a moment, thinking. �Yes, Master Bruce,� he finally responded. �I think that that is the perfect ring for Mistress Diana.�

�Good.� He nodded briskly, turning back to James. �Bag it up. We�ll take it.�

xxxxx

The three men stepped out of the store. The Gotham sky was darkening already, as night began to fall. Bruce felt lighthearted knowing that he had the perfect ring for the woman of his dreams, but was also worried. What if she said�no? He wasn�t really looking forward to their set dinner date the next day. He was planning to propose to her then.

A yellow bat symbol flashed across the sky, standing out strongly against the red and black of the clouds.

Not now, he thought. He needed to get home and find his grandmother�s antique ring box. He planned to use that to carry his treasure, until it could be given to its new owner come morning. �I guess I�ll have to go check this out,� he growled in his Batman voice, thoroughly annoyed.

�But what about the ring, Master Bruce? Do you wish me to take it back to the Mansion?�

�No, Alfred. I�ll hold onto it.� He wasn�t letting it out of his sight until it was safely on Wonder Woman�s finger. He started for the alley just to the right of the jewelry store.

�I�ll come with you,� Dick offered generously. �See you later, Alfred.� He hurried after Bruce.

The two heroes of the night changed quickly into their Batman and Nightwing costumes. Bruce then carefully slipped the ring into one of pockets of his utility belt. The flap was loose, so he tightened it a little. They swung up to the roof with their grapples, then were off across the city to the site of the bat symbol.

Commissioner Gordon was waiting, arms crossed across his chest.

�What is it, Jim?� Batman asked.

�The Joker. He�s got a hostage situation, the city manager Nick Nazar and his wife Bella. He says he�ll kill them if my men get within two miles of them. He wants you, Batman.�

�What else is new? That clown always wants Batman,� Nightwing declared, rolling his eyes beneath his mask.

�Where is he holding the hostages?�

�That old chemical factory outside of Gotham, the one that was shut down for toxic waste issues,� the Commissioner stated.

�Got it.� The Batplane was suddenly above them. Batman had signaled it with a remote from his utility belt as they talked. �We�re on it.� He pulled himself up to it with another grappling line, and Nightwing followed him. The Batplane roared into the darkness, and the Commissioner switched off the signal.

It only took a few minutes for Bruce and Dick to reach the factory. They left the plane on the roof and slipped silently inside. Dust-coated boxes were everywhere, littering the cement floor. The crime-fighting duo could hear Joker talking loudly about nothing in particular to someone.

Batman guessed that he was talking to the hostages. He and Nightwing crept around the corner, getting closer and closer to the crazy clown�s voice. They stopped just outside the room he was in, listening.

��Why the clouds are probably blue. What if the grass was blue and the sky was green? What would happen then?� the Joker rambled on. �What do you think, Batboy?�

The heavily muscled teenager known as Ten exploded around the corner, throwing himself at Dick. Queen, Jack, and King were right behind him.

�It�s a trap!� Nightwing realized, dodging Ten�s wild punches.

�Of course it is. What else could you expect from the Joker?� Batman was barely managing to avoid all three of his attackers.

Joker came around the corner, grinning insanely. �You show �em who�s boss, kiddos!� he cheered, cackling. �Make Daddy proud!� He paused. �Smash their guts out! Break every stinkin� bone in their bodies!�

�Call some of your buddies for backup!� the former Robin shouted, dodging a flying metal chair, propelled by Queen.

�Good idea.� The Caped Crusader touched his comm. link. �Batman to Watchtower.�

�This is the Watchtower,� came Mr. Terrific�s voice over the line.

�I need a little backup here in Gotham. There�s a hostage situation with the Joker, and he brought the Royal Flush Gang along for the party.�

�Alright, Batman,� Mr. T. said. �I�ll send down a few members. They should teleport down in a few seconds.�

�Batman out.� He threw himself out of the way of Jack, who was floppily stretching himself everywhere. �Uhhh!� The breath was knocked out of him as a blast of fire from King�s hands.

A blue light glowed brightly in the center of the room. �Oh, no, it�s the fashion disasters!� Joker sneered as Flash, Supergirl, and�Wonder Woman appeared in the room. Flash sped at Jack, Supergirl headed for Queen, and Wonder Woman flew at Ten. Nightwing changed partners to fight King.

Maybe I don�t have to ask her in a formal setting, with candlelight and all that. It would be easier to ask her right here, right now. He took a deep breath, reaching into the correct pocket of his utility belt. He held it in the light for a moment, examining it. He also didn�t think that he could hold the question in any longer.

Queen was sucking everything metal in the room towards her, forming a huge shield between herself and the mighty fists of Supergirl. The ring slipped from the black hero�s grasp and flew towards her.

�No!� Bruce shouted, running around the battling Flash and Jack. He raced towards the ring, knowing that he wouldn�t be able to make it in time�

�Gotcha!� Flash sped to a stop before his teammate, triumphantly holding the engagement ring. �What do you plan to do with this, Bats?�

�Nothing.� He snatched it back without a word of thanks, and raced towards Wonder Woman.

With a curious shrug, Wally ran back to Jack. He grunted as a rubbery fist bounced against his stomach. He kicked out with super speed, and the flexible guy dropped to the ground with a moan. �One down, four to go,� he said to himself.

�Diana, I need to ask you something!� Batman yelled, clenching his fist protectively around the tiny ring.

�What is it, Batman?� She slammed a powerful kick against Ten�s jaw, who staggered back with surprise at the sharp blow.

�We�ve�we�ve known each other for a long time now, and we just started dating. I�we both feel the same way about each other, and I think it�s time to take the next step.�

The Amazon princess threw Ten against the wall, knocking him unconscious. She turned to him, mouth open with surprise. �Wh�what are you saying?�

�Diana�will you marry me?� Bruce held up the ring, and it dazzled in the light of King�s explosions.

�I�� Her blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears. �Oh, Bru�Batman!� she cried joyfully. �Of course I�ll marry you!� She threw her arms around his neck, and their lips met passionately. They forgot everything around them, and only knew of each other.

�Here.� Batman said in a husky voice. He slid the ring onto her delicate finger, actually smiling a tiny smile when he saw he wonderful it looked on her slim finger. It was just as he had imagined it.

�Oh, Batman!�

By now, all of the Royal Flush Gang was defeated, and the heroes stood around staring. Even Joker was watching, speechless. Supergirl and Flash burst into cheers, and Nightwing broke into a grin. �Oh, that�s so gooey!� Joker declared proudly, wiping away a tear.

Wally was at his side in a second, pinning his arms behind his back. He sniffed, rubbing one eye. �There�s something in my eye,� he muttered when he saw Kara staring.

�Let�s get married in June. I�ve always wanted a June wedding,� Diana smiled.

�June it is.� And they kissed again.