Disclaimers: No one and nothing here is mine.
Spoilers: Major ones for "Secret Origins," "Paradise Lost," and
"A Better World."
Summary: Perhaps the gods are still listening.
Ratings Note: PG-13.
Author's Note: I was thinking of hradzka
the other day,
so I'm not actually shocked that I got blitzed by a gen Diana
bunny. Just amused.
Acknowledgments: To LC for audiencing and encouragement.
To "A Better World" for, as Jack says, continuing to "produce
more bunnies than Watership Down."
The summons did not come from her mother and queen. This is not the
first sign that something (something more, of course, more than...) is
The first sign was that there was a summoning in the first place.
When Diana was the princess and heir, it would not have been her place
question the protocol of this, and it isn't her place now. Still, the gods had
seen fit to give them all -- from the humans to the Titans to the Amazons --
the capacity to question and worry, and she is not above it.
She can only try to remain steadfast, and to answer the summons with
She wears the armor appropriate for a royal summons. She pauses for
shameful, helpless moment in front of the entirely static and lifeless mirror
she had acquired from one of the humans' "department" stores. She
memorizes her appearance.
She carries Athena's gifts of breastplate, boots, and lasso in her arms
She leaves her communicator on the nightstand.
The first impression she has, upon walking into her mother's throne
room, is that her queen is under siege. The throne remains, and her
mother remains within it, but there are three other seats on the dais --
to the left, right, and just beneath. They are smaller seats, to be sure, but
the Amazons in them are all in war armor.
And her mother looks...
Her mother does not look like a queen, just now.
Diana drops to one knee and fixes her eyes on the floor. She gives the
greeting standard for a visitor to Themyscira, dredging the words from
a memory of a lesson received long before all of the humans -- and
most of the others -- of her current acquaintance were ever born.
Her cheeks heat with embarrassment.
She is so busy fighting back the reaction that she doesn't register
first words spoken, not really.
Even though they are spoken by her mother.
The arena is full -- or nearly so. Athena has not granted the Amazons
the numbers she once did, in the days when they were needed to fight
battles for the glory of this god or that one --
She is drowning in irrelevancies.
The sun is high, and she is placed above everything. The dais is the
same one used for champions of the Games, but it has been stripped
of laurels, stripped of --
She is --
The crowd -- they are not her people, not anymore -- is silent
She is being stripped.
She is being stripped.
Her arms are empty, her shoulders are bare. Her head is bare. Her
chest is bare. Even the most useless and unteachable of children are
given the chiton, but she is less than they. She is --
It's not illogical, of course.
It's anything but. She had been sent as an emissary of peace, and while
her successes have been many and great, while she has helped save
the world of men from any number of terrors, any number of their own
excesses -- the mockery they had made of democracy!
The amusing thing (is that she is amused, even now, with the staff of
Athena's priestess drumming her judgment) is that the only coherent
words in her mind, right now, are the words of one of Clark's latest
speeches. (And truly, they all do run together. Humans so often require
the most basic things to be repeated, ad infinitum, and often with force.)
Words like 'necessity,' and 'temporary measures,' and 'the regrettable
imprecision of human weaponry.'
The other -- other -- amusing thing is that she has, apparently,
been saying these things aloud, to her own -- to the Amazons,
by Hera, and does she think --
"Diana, what have they done to you?"
"Mother --" And this is another word, another useless word she
been repeating, as if it would have any meaning --
"Perhaps your greatest offense, child, is that you continue to speak
But this is what it's all for. This is the entirety of --
They've done so much to save the world of men from itself, they've
fought so very, very hard. The armies they've put down, the
weapons caches they've hunted down and destroyed, the --
The crowd is no longer silent. Shouting her -- her -- down, as
as though --
Her ceremonial armor has already been consigned to the forge,
because no other Amazon would ever wear a thing so tainted. As
though Diana had ever worn it for anything but --
When the lasso leaves her hip, Diana feels light, a feeling similar
one when her mother had first lifted her from the clay and tossed her
high, so very --
Diana's feet are on the earth, of course. It's just that Gaea has no
use for her anymore. The tiara is next, leaving her lighter. The wind
catches at her hair, distracting until the priestess shears off a long,
heavy hank of it. Diana wonders if Athena will still hear her if she calls.
Amusingly, the voice loudest now in her mind is Bruce's, scoffing
blithely, male-ly at the facts of her faith even as he points out that
Athena had heard her just fine before she ever claimed the holy
Before the priestess took her vows, she was Diana's friend and sparring
partner. When her eyes took on the grey of Athena, she changed,
but not that much. Diana hadn't thought it was that much. The
woman's hands on her bracelets are cold, and very wrong.
This is what she tells herself as she strikes. No priestess of the Grey-Eyed
should ever have a touch like that. No Amazon should ever feel so -- so
Many, many years ago, in the days when the world of men still had
boundaries outside of which any Amazon could walk freely and
unremarked-upon, Diana had taken the laurels for every event in this very
arena. Her mother had nodded her approval from the royal seat just as
if Diana had been any other champion, conferring the blessings of Hera,
Athena, and Artemis on Diana's forehead until the only things filling her
senses were blood, and oil, and the singing fire within her own veins.
Later, in the palace, her mother had cradled her close, and --
And the crowd had roared, that day, and, ultimately, there isn't much
difference between then and now. There were no other Amazons --
however skilled, however trained -- who could stand against her on the
field of play, and there are no other Amazons...
There are no Amazons who can stand against her now, even naked, even
She still has the bracelets. They turn away arrows, spears crafted by
apprentices of Hephaestus himself. They've turned away much worse in
the world of men.
It seems strange to be so strong, even now. To be so much more
the women who had been her sisters.
Perhaps the gods still...?
But there are many, and she is one. She is alone, and she doesn't want to --
There's no need to leave death behind her.
She rises above, higher than her mother could ever throw her even when
she was newly raised from the clay, and looks back, and down.
The priestess is alone, Athena's breastplate and tiara in her hands,
lasso at her feet. The royal guard had left the woman's side to attack her.
J'onn would surely retrieve them, having so little of his homeland and
people. Clark would...
It's difficult to say, these days, what Clark would do.
Bruce would undoubtedly -- and correctly -- point out the illogic in
such things behind, in the hands of those who would surely try to use
them against the Lords... assuming they could use them, at all.
But her mother is watching.
She finds Shayera in the city men call Detroit, in the fortress she
from what had been John's home.
She raises an eyebrow at Diana's nudity (she still has the bracelets.
She still --),
but it has been years since Diana had last tried to explain the
wrong-headedness of the woman's concepts of "modesty."
Shayera has been her spear-sister since the White Martians came! Truly,
Thanagarians are more alien than any simple men could be.
Still, she is Diana's (only) spear-sister, and she doesn't demand
-- or even
request -- an explanation. And she is very helpful in the design of Diana's...
of her new uniform.
It will be sleek, and practical, and strong -- if not blessed.
And when John returns, he crafts perfectly serviceable -- and powerful
shears with his ring, and makes the remains of Diana's hair into
something which almost looks purposeful, and definitely looks... neat.
It won't grow, of course. Not now.
"I remember," she says to Shayera, and there is no quaver in her voice.
Not now. "I remember the first time I saw the hair on my mother's arms,
legs, and pubis. She was so embarrassed at having forgotten to sculpt it
in for me before asking the gods to give me life!"
She laughs, and Shayera smiles back. After John makes that curious
She remembers Wally often making the same sound around her, when
he was alive.
They offer her guest-right for the night, for however long she wishes,
and Diana can see the knowledge in Shayera's eyes, the memory of the
backs of the Thanagarian emissaries as they walked away.
There are other kinds of sisterhood in the world of men.
There is so much she could've told the Amazons -- so much she could
have shared --!
Diana has her own fortified home, however, and she has no wish to
intrude. Shayera will bring her new uniform when it's ready. Or John.
At home, the lifeless bit of glass shows the wounds Diana had taken
Themyscira fading and shrinking back in on themselves just as fast as
There are clothes in her closet which Bruce had helped her choose on
the basis of appropriateness and comfort, and there is, of course, her
communicator. There will undoubtedly be updates on the course of
the rebellions on the Western front, and perhaps some sort of
communiqué from Bruce on what it all means, politically.
He is very, very good at that sort of thing.
There are many things for her here.
Diana sits on the edge of her bed, and flexes her wrists in the bracelets.
She is home.