Even if unwilling
by Te
March 10, 2004

Disclaimers: Profoundly not mine.

Spoilers: Sort of for Young Justice #44-45. Sort of.

Summary: Wonder Girl drinks. Arrowette copes.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Author's Note: Livia showed me this particular AU of
Wonder Girl. I fell madly in love.

Title from Euripides' "Bacchae":

"For this city must learn, even if it is unwilling, that
it is not initiated into my Bacchic rites, and that I
plead the case of my mother, Semele, in appearing
manifest to mortals as a divinity whom she bore to

Acknowledgments: To Jack and Livia for
audiencing and encouragement. Jack also found me
that title.


Wonder Girl is drunk.

This is hardly news, but it's rather like the weather.
No one is surprised by a rainy day, but if it's a
torrential rain (or perhaps one of toads or fairy
princesses), it's worth noting.

If only to yourself.

For reasons of her own, Wonder Girl had designated
this to be a day of tequila. From what Arrowette has
been able to make out about Wonder Girl's rather
odd (and disturbing) relationship with Dionysus, the
god does not approve of this sort of deviation.

"Wine," Wonder Girl had said, while morosely tracing
patterns in a bit of spilled red, "is my heritage and
my birthright." And then she had glared in
Arrowette's general direction, forehead scrunching
ominously even as the flowers in her hair had
remained perfectly fragrant and still. "But I don't
*like* wine."

Which is a lie, though not an especially egregious
one. Wonder Girl likes wine the way most people
like their air to be a nice mix of nitrogen and
oxygen. It's something necessary, and necessarily

Tasteless, Arrowette sometimes thinks.

There can't possibly still be any sort of special
*pleasure* in the stuff for Wonder Girl. Even the
moodiest, most difficult child will eventually grow
tired of peanut butter sandwiches.

So. There are Whiskey Days, which are marked by
trips through space (and time, though Arrowette
tries not to think about it too much. It's bad enough
that they've all been forced to get religion, of one
sort or another), as Young Justice finds one bar,
pub, and flat-out *dive* after another, fighting
whatever crime they come across while Wonder
Girl tries to decide which eye-watering whiskey is
the best.

There are Beer Days, which tend to be deeply
exciting in one way or another, with the fraternity
types Wonder Girl attracts mindlessly and
effortlessly at those times. The Bacchanal is in her,
of her, *through* her. Sometimes there's singing.
The morning afters tend to be messy, though.

And there are, of course, Tequila Days, which
start early and last... for rather a while. Dionysus
seems to be especially perturbed by Wonder Girl's
taste for the stuff, and her powers wax

Arrowette picks her way through the rubble of their
latest headquarters, following the sound of argument
and laughter.

Wonder Girl is mocking the Secret, as she does, taunting
him to solidify so that she can share... Arrowette checks:
Jose Cuervo.

Perhaps there'll be another Beer Day soon.

The last time Billy had given in to Wonder Girl's whim
to share her constant, fulsome inebriation with the boy,
they'd lost him. Almost entirely. They'd had to track
down a medium to lure the boy back from... wherever
he had gone.

Since Wonder Girl had used wine, Dionysus had
laughed it  off, and trailed flowers over the bodice of
her uniform.

It had taken *weeks* for them to get rid of the things.
Arrowette doesn't think people realize quite how
seriously Wonder Girl takes the integrity of her uniform,
that bastardized tunic and skirt.

"It was his joke on me," Wonder Girl had said, and
licked a few stray drops from the lip of a bottle of
champagne. "'*I'll* make you a warrior, little girl,' he
said, and then he dresses me like... this." She had
traced the 'W' on the chest, and smiled her nastiest

The one Arrowette loves, because she understands it

"Well. We're showing him, aren't we, Cis?"

There are times -- many, many times -- when
Arrowette could question that. There doesn't seem to
be much of a show in splintered wood, in the strangely
oily scent of spilled tequila.

At least... not the sort of show Wonder Girl *meant*.

Part of it is who she is, of course.

When Arrowette had been small, and her mother had
been going on -- and on -- about the world of
superheroes and magic and mystery Arrowette would
join one day... well. Even then, even as she spent one
more day tottering around in those awful, heeled
boots while reciting poetry and whatever else that
woman -- her *mother* -- decided she needed to do,
she had to wonder if it would *truly* be that

Her instincts were as excellent then as they are now.
She lives and works with metahumans, and they are,
all of them -- to some extent or another -- the
definition of their powers.

The Secret's personality has never been anything but
wispy and ethereal.

And Wonder Girl is the embodiment of drunken,
thoughtless exuberance. Wild sexuality and the
endless, endless struggle to remember *why* she'd
want to think clearly.

Arrowette has never seen Wonder Girl sober, whether
there was a bottle within reach or not.

So. Part of it is the fact of her powers, and part of it
is just the girl herself. Arrowette did not know her
before her little trip to Olympus, but sometimes she
thinks she can see her. The sixteen year old girl in
the woman's lush, powerful body.

Arrowette has not yet met a sixteen year old girl who
was worth more time than it took to save her from
sort of idiocy, or stop her from committing it.

Arrowette will be seventeen soon.


Wonder Girl tilts the bottle up and swallows and
swallows until all the tequila is gone, tossing the bottle
on a high enough arc to pass through the Secret's

Arrowette aims and shoots, and the net-arrow
deploys perfectly, catching the bottle before burying
itself in the far wall. There's a bit of a swing to the
hanging net, but it's still a good shot.

Wonder Girl snorts. "Practicing?"

"Always," she says, and hangs the bow back over
her shoulder. And waits.

One of the flowers in Wonder Girl's hair is growing,
vine winding around and through one perfect red
curl. The look on her face is dreamy and distracted,
and then...


Wonder Girl crushes the growing edge of the vine
between two thick fingers and glares murderously at
the sky.




Arrowette nods, and pauses just long enough to be
sure Wonder Girl won't get distracted from following.
She's close enough for Arrowette to be able to smell
the flowers. Today they smell faintly of cologne, under
or over the usual sense of... it's not really a smell. It's
seduction and madness. There's a reason Young
Justice is down to her and a ghost-boy with no true
senses at all.

The others don't *last*.

Arrowette walks faster, jumping over the obstacles
in her path, leading them back to her bedroom.

It's clean, of course. The worst of Wonder Girl's
depredations never seem to make it *here*.
Arrowette smiles to herself and pats the stool she
has modified for Wonder Girl's visits. It's a work in
progress -- everything is -- but Wonder Girl sighs
with satisfaction whenever she sits down. Today, her
spin around to face Arrowette's bar is fast and sharp,
belying the skim of distraction over her wide, blue

Arrowette pulls a bottle of Patron Anejo from under
the bar, and smacks at Wonder Girl's hand when she
reaches for it. Lightly -- those hands only *look* like
normal, human flesh.

"You and your *glasses*." Wonder Girl's glare isn't
remotely serious this time.

"My mother taught me to observe the social niceties,"
she says, as primly as she can.

"Your mother ate a bullet when you shot that asshole
she was shacked up with," Wonder Girl says, and
slams the empty shot glass down on the bar.

"Maybe I'm grieving."

"Maybe I'm *moody*. *Another*."

"Wonder Girl smash?" Arrowette pours, and forces
herself to sit up straight, not to lean in, breathe in...
no. She slips one of the normal arrows from her quiver
and tests the edge on her thigh.

Test, shift the arrow, wipe the blood away with her
thumb, pour another shot, test, shift, wipe, pour,
test -- there. She's herself again, and she looks Wonder
Girl in the face.

Wonder Girl is smiling. It's both rueful and cruel, and
she doesn't look sixteen at all. "Back with us, Cissie?"

"Don't call me that."


Arrowette knows she means it, and knows she isn't
apologizing for using the name. It's on her *birth*
certificate. Could there be more proof of a woman's
unfitness to raise a child than her willfully naming that
child with a *diminutive*?

She probably needs to get over that sometime soon.
She needs to -- stop stroking the *flowers*. Arrowette
growls and knocks back a shot of the tequila herself.
"You'd think you'd gotten your powers from
*Aphrodite*," she says, and wipes her mouth with the

The tequila kills the lingering scent. Mostly.

She drinks more, straight from the bottle, and hands
Wonder Girl her own from the stash under the bar.

"You wouldn't want to fight it if I had, Arrowette. Love
is... different."

"'Love is the state in which man sees things most
decidedly as they are not.' And what do *you* know,

Wonder Girl smiles again. "I know what it isn't," she
says, and crushes the teasing point of another vine.

Perhaps too close. "What did you want to talk

Wonder Girl raises an eyebrow, and blinks at the
bottle in her hand. "I'd forgotten again. That you

It's an impatient-making sort of feeling. The urge to
touch her hair -- not the flowers. Or maybe her face.
"The drunker you get on the wrong booze, the more
likely you are to be... distant. From him." Arrowette
does not say Dionysus' name aloud any more than
she has to. "It's all right," she says, because...

"I wanted... there's something..."

Arrowette reaches over her shoulder and feels for
the black. The arrow she always, always keeps
sharpest. She can't cut the vine tickling Wonder
Girl's ear, but she can brush it aside, *hold* it aside
by main force until Wonder Girl blinks and crushes it

"It's getting harder," she says, and laughs. "Can you
believe it? *That's* what I wanted to say. It seemed
so damned important when I woke up this morning.
As if it isn't fucking obvious." She finishes the bottle
and reaches for another.

Arrowette will have to phone for another delivery.
Neither Dionysus' favorite nor her friends *ever* get
carded. "I've been thinking about it."

Wonder Girl hums, under her breath, and takes a
deep swallow. "I'm open to suggestions."

"We know he can be distracted." She nods toward
the petal curling and dipping down over Wonder Girl's

"Mm," she says, and curls it right back up again. "The
distractions are... hard."

On her, she means. Every Bacchanal demands a focus.
Every expenditure of power rebounds back on the
wielder, giving and taking. "You'll fight harder,"
Arrowette says.

"Will I, now?" Wonder Girl smiles around the lip of the
bottle. "Sometimes I wonder *why* --"

"Because you're a hero, not a slave. Because he gave
you the powers, and now they're *yours*." Because I
want you to. Because you have to.

"Drink more."

The bottle's in Arrowette's mouth before she can stop
it, and Wonder Girl waves off her efforts to gag with
one lazy motion of her hand. When she can, she
slams the bottle down on the bar and glares. "Why."

"To prove a point."

"That you can make me get drunk no matter what?
I'm *human*. We *knew* that. Even you couldn't

"No," Wonder Girl says, and leans in close. "Listen
closely, Cis. You've appointed yourself my backup. My
protector. My *nursemaid*. But look at what
happened to the others when my powers were too
strong to control. How many of them are still
hospitalized? How many of their *names* do you

"They were weak."

"They were stronger -- physically -- than you will
*ever* be."

"I won't quit, Cassandra. And neither will you."

The steel fades out of Wonder Girl's eyes, leaving
sadness and a terrifying exhaustion in its wake. The
flowers -- one on either side of her head -- are
growing again, reaching for Arrowette with their
vines, with their scents and the pound of Arrowette's
own blood.

She wants to dance. She wants to... there is blood
beneath everything, living and red and wild, so wild,
and why is she fighting? Why --

Arrowette reaches for her quiver and stops. No. She
has her *own* point to prove. Wonder Girl has to
notice the flowers, has to stop them without
Arrowette's intervention.

If she doesn't, then...

A lot of things will happen if she doesn't.

Arrowette focuses on holding her breath, and on
staying as still as she can. Cassie, she doesn't say.

Wonder Girl blinks and focuses, breathing damp,
tequila-scented fumes at her. Arrowette's eyes want
to water, and she lets them.

"Cis. Arrowette... what -- *no*," she growls, and
stumbles back and off the stool, tearing at her hair.
Her muscles are bulging and her eyes are squeezed
shut against the pain. "*No*. *Not* her."

Arrowette gasps and leans back, away, reflexively
pulling an arrow she'll have no use for. She waits,
and hurts, and breathes.

After a while, Wonder Girl falls to her knees.

She looks perfect, of course. The curve of her belly,
the unstained tunic, the powerful muscle under
creamy skin. But.

There is a faint sheen of sweat, and a few wisps of
red hair have escaped from the usual curls.

"Wonder Girl," she says, and then just steps up and
over the bar and closes the distance between them.
She sets her bow and arrows back and crouches in
front of her. "Cassie."

"I won't... I won't ever hurt you, Cis."

"I know," she says, and touches Wonder Girl's
forehead, first with her gloved fingertips, then with
the bare ones. She tugs one of the wisps further out
of place, and thinks about holding it there with her

And then she does it, softly and carefully. The taste
of Wonder Girl's sweat is intoxicating in a way she
chooses to believe is... innocent.

Something has to be.

She leans back and Wonder Girl looks at her, into her
and through her. Arrowette raises an eyebrow.
"Drinking? Or crime-fighting?"

Wonder Girl snorts, and stands, yanking Arrowette
to her feet with absent strength. "What do *you*

Arrowette smiles. "Both."

Wonder Girl claps her on the arm -- lightly. "Good

Secret half-materializes on their way out the door.

Wonder Girl curses the glare of the sun.

Arrowette gives her a pair of sunglasses, and another