Title: Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride (1/??) Author: Allaine Email: eac2nd@yahoo.com Disclaimers: DC Comics, Cartoon Network, Bruce Timm, the JLA animated series, etc, etc. No profit intended from my infringement. Rating: PG-13 Spoilers: Up to the episode "Maid of Honor". Feedback: Please, please, please!! Summary: Inspired by vibes I was getting from "Maid of Honor". An Amazonian princess gets to know one of her normal human counterparts and finds they have more in common than just royal blood. ___________________________________

(Author's Note #1 - Asterisks denote dialogue from the actual episode.)

Chapter 1

***"Sometimes I'm afraid I'll never have fun again," Audrey said dolefully as she perched on the railing around the top of the Eiffel Tower.

"You don't have to marry him," Wonder Woman pointed out as she came up behind her.

"Yes, I do," Audrey replied. Her tone suggested it was an inevitability she'd resigned herself to. "But I still have time for one more fling."

Then she hurled herself from the tower.

Diana stood transfixed for a fraction of a second. She'd never imagined that Audrey had been speaking _literally_ when she talked about a "fling". Then she instantly flew after her.

"Audrey!" she called, shocked that the young woman had done something like this. Yes, her old life was about to end, and a new one about to begin, one she obviously did not look forward to, but to consider taking her own life!

As she fell, however, Audrey laughed. Her laughter was merry and pleased, and as Diana caught her before she was splattered across the ground, she considered that Audrey hadn't been so literal after all. Perhaps it was just an impulsive "thrill ride".

"Are you insane? What were you thinking?!" Diana demanded as she set Audrey back on her feet.

Audrey sighed. She looked up at the much taller superheroine and, with a gesture that was almost tender, pushed Diana's hair back so that it wasn't hanging in her face. "I was thinking that we should call it a night," she responded, showing yet again her skill for evading tough questions. "I have an engagement party tomorrow." She turned and walked away.***

Diana watched her walk for a moment. Since meeting the Princess of Kasnia, Wonder Woman had saved her from a half-dozen kidnappers, paparazzi, her own bodyguards, and now a fall from the tallest landmark in Paris. Yet her face and manner seemed untouched by care or worry. Freedom from worry practically defined her life, nothing but parties and traveling and shopping. Audrey was undoubtedly a very spoiled young woman.

But their night together could have been a lot worse, Diana reflected as she began to follow her. She'd been shanghaied by Audrey into accompanying her, for the sole purpose of protecting her so the princess could enjoy a night of clubbing. It could have been an interminable evening with a self-absorbed, vapid aristocrat. As it turned out, however, being spoiled was Audrey's worst failing. She was intelligent, vivacious, and at times even self-deprecating. Another woman might have resented Wonder Woman for the times she stole the spotlight without even trying. Audrey seemed to delight in it.

And Diana admitted to herself that this was the kind of night she'd been looking for, a fun evening on the town. In a way Audrey had been the perfect chaperone. She'd even helped Diana pick out a new dress and complimented her looks. Wonder Woman had been focused on something else at the time, but she'd been silently grateful for the appreciation. Audrey had claimed she "corrupted" Diana, but she didn't feel ashamed in the slightest.

So she felt as if she owed Audrey something more than just saving her life. And perhaps that jump had been more than just a bungee jump sans cord.

"You know," Diana said, breaking the silence, "that's the third time tonight you've ended up in my arms."

Audrey stopped and looked at her, raising an eyebrow.

Diana counted on her fingers. "One, when the kidnappers tried to carry you away and I caught you. Two, when I flew us away from those photographers. Three, just now."

"Ah," Audrey said innocently. "Well, you are very good at it. Obviously Superman is not the only member of the Justice League who is good at that." She cocked her head. "Are you sure you don't have to be flying off by now? Volcano erupting in the South Pacific? Terrorist attack in West Africa?"

"It's my night off," Diana said simply, and Audrey laughed. "Besides, I'm not convinced you don't still need saving."

Audrey stopped laughing and looked away. "You are very good at getting what you want, aren't you?"

"Actually, I was just thinking that you were very good at not telling me what I want to know."

"I'm sorry about before," she said quietly. "It was just something that came over me. Call it preparation. Compared to the plunge I'll be taking with my fiancée, falling from the Eiffel Tower is nothing. I knew you would catch me, but I don't want you to think I take you for granted." Audrey looked back at Diana. "I've learned to trust you with my life, you know."

Diana was surprised to feel a trickle of blood enter her cheeks. She'd been thanked by a thousand innocent lives, but her simple words had touched her. "It's all right," she assured Audrey. "You know, we're more alike than you think."

"Oh?" Audrey asked. "You're tall, I'm not. You're a brunette, I'm a blonde. You save lives, and I am a party girl. You are serious, I am flighty."

"First of all," Diana replied, "you're selling yourself short if you think you can't be serious. I hear it in your voice when you talk about your impending marriage." She chuckled. "I see it in your face when I bring it up too," she added when she saw Audrey's body stiffen with the "m" word. "Second, we're both princesses, you and I. So I know what it means when you talk about your duty to Kasnia, Audrey."

"Then you know why I have to marry him," Audrey replied.

"I know why you think you do," Wonder Woman told her. "I know that for centuries queens were considered good for only one thing, the production of male heirs. But this isn't that world any more. What makes you think you couldn't rule Kasnia in your own right when you inherit the throne?"

Audrey frowned. "I am sure I could, but why would I want to? I don't want the pressure that comes from being a world leader. I don't want to be responsible for the decisions that affect the lives of Kasnia's people. Look at me, Diana. I've lived my whole life without responsibility. My fiancée has worked with our ministries for years. He will make those decisions, and I will return the favor by having our children."

"And so you'll marry a man you don't love because you don't want to make those tough decisions?" Diana asked, surprised.

"Since when have kings and queens married for love?" Audrey replied sardonically.

Diana sighed and resumed walking with her. "It's not a question we have to worry about on Themiscyra."

"Ah yes," Audrey said, her tone instantly becoming light again, and not a little mischievous. "All those women. Tell me, what do you Amazons do for fun?"

Wonder Woman smiled. "I could tell you, but then you wouldn't be the one doing the corrupting, would you?"

Audrey actually coughed as she stopped. "You shocked me," she said after a moment. "I'm impressed." She turned to face her and took Diana by the wrists. "You simply must be in my bridal party, Diana. All my other bridesmaids are from the wealthiest families in Kasnia, and I don't like any of them. I need a friend there with me."

Diana stared at her. "We haven't even known each other one day, Audrey. Plus, I'm not sure you want an Amazon at a wedding. It's not exactly an Amazonian ritual."

"Which is why you should come. It will be a new experience for you," Audrey replied. "And I feel like I've known you for much longer." She paused. "Saving my life was quite an icebreaker," she explained, although something in her eyes suggested that wasn't the only reason.

"I don't know," Diana said, stalling, but Audrey was a second away from going into full "pout" mode. "All right," she finally promised. "I'll come to the wedding - barring alien invasion or something equally serious. And if anybody comes near my leg with a garter, I'm putting them through a wall."

Audrey crowed with delight, finally letting go of Diana's arms. They felt suddenly cool, and she regretted the departure for a moment. Then Diana shook her head regretfully and sighed. Just because they'd done a few things together that night which Wonder Woman had no plans of repeating didn't mean . . .

"And the party tomorrow night," Audrey told her. "Or tonight. It's almost morning."

"A deal," Diana said. "And since it _is_ morning, you were right before. We should call it a night."

Audrey's eyes sparkled as they left.

To be continued . . .

Author's Note #2 - Not sure how far this story will go. Depends on reader response.