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Late at night, Lois Lane awakens from a deep sleep in the apartment that she shares with Clark Kent. She hears something rattle and turns to the bedroom window.

To her surprise, she sees her husband, in his Superman suit, outside the window, uncharacteristically struggling to open the latch.

Lois opens the window, and Superman tumbles in. As he lies face-up on the floor, Lois gasps at the sight of him. His costume hangs off of him in ragged shreds, red scars crisscross his face, and splatters of blood stain his hands. She can’t remember the last time she saw him so damaged.

“We did it,” Superman mumbles. “Diana and me . . .”

“Diana?” Lois asks as she touches her husband’s face. “Wonder Woman? Is she all right?”

For the first time, Superman smiles. “She’s — magnificent.”

Grunting in pain, he pushes himself to sit up as Lois reaches out to steady him.

“We were in the asteroid belt, fighting these alien monsters,” Superman says. “Armies of them, heading toward Earth. Just Diana and me.”

He pauses to inhale, wheezing audibly. “The fight went on for hours. They slashed at us — one of them ripped Diana’s entire uniform off. She was naked — ”

“Naked?” Lois asks.

Superman nods. “But she kept fighting. She was so fierce, so — passionate.”

“Passionate?” Lois asks.

Superman nods again. “The aliens must have seen that the only thing tough enough to kill us would be each other. So they grabbed us and slammed us into each other. They started grinding our bodies together — ”

“Grinding your bodies?” Lois asks. “Together?”

“Uh-huh. But Diana — maybe it was all the sweat we were building up with all those bodies in such a close spot, but she slipped out of their grip. She flew up and around behind them, found her lasso, and roped enough of them away so I could get free.

“I think that demoralized them. We fought them off, and they retreated. We won, Lois.”

Lois leans in toward her husband. “And then?”

“We found our way to an asteroid. We had been through so much in the fight, we were still panting. We just sat on that asteroid, looking at each other and breathing heavily.”

Lois says nothing, but her body is as tense as a piano wire.

“And then Diana reached out and put her hand on my cheek. We knew we’d shared something nobody else could share. Then she said something that made me feel — ”

Superman stops for a long moment. He looks down, away from Lois.

When he resumes talking, he’s still looking away from her, and his voice is soft. “Lois, I have to tell you something that I’ve never told anyone.”

“It’s about you and Diana, isn’t it?” Lois asks. Her face is growing as tight and angry as a fist.

“Yes,” Superman says. “Lois, there’s this thing about Diana. She makes me feel — she’s just so — ”

He’s ashamed of what he’s about to tell his wife, but he forces himself to speak.

“She’s so boring.”

“What?” Lois pulls back as if someone had thrown flour in her face.

Superman sighs. “The aliens who attacked us were all male, and Diana started criticizing the evils of patriarchy. She must have gone on for half an hour.”

He looks up at Lois, determined to spill everything. “And it’s not the first time. Diana’s a loyal ally, and in a fight there’s no one I’d rather have guarding my back.

“But every conversation with her turns into a lecture about social justice or personal responsibility or something else.

“She’s not wrong, but I don’t need to hear so much about it.”

Lois studies her husband’s face, looking for lies, but she doesn’t see any. “So you and Diana — you’re not — ”

“Lois,” Superman says. “Diana’s a great friend, but she’s got no sense of humor. She thinks she’s peaceful, but she loves her sword. And she couldn’t meet a 5 p.m. deadline while squeezing the last fact out of an interview subject if the universe depended on it.

“No, this Kansas farmboy likes a fast-talking city girl who grins like a jackal at the idea of exposing a slumlord — and looks great doing it.”

Lois raises an eyebrow. “That the best reassurance you got, Smallville? Or do you want to complain more about women who stand up and say what they believe?”

Superman struggles to his feet. “Give me a break, Lois. I just saved the world.”

Lois heads to the kitchen. “Fine by me, hero, but it’s almost morning, and nothing can save us from the wrath of Perry White if we’re late to work. I’ll help you cover those scars on your face after I get myself some coffee. You may not need it, but I’m just a regular human woman.”

With a smile, Superman watches her go. He says three words to himself:

“My wonder woman.”

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