Title: Dragons, Demons, and Other Wonders of the Heart (30/30)

Author: Allaine

Email: 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 "Starcrossed".

Feedback: Please, please, please!

Summary: With five of the seven members of the Justice League in relationships, the Flash is determined to meet someone now. But what will it do to the rep of the self-proclaimed "ladies' man" if he's the last to find love? The sequel you demanded to "Always a Bridesmaid".

Chapter 30

It was a beautiful and sunny day, the kind all Tamaraneans like Koriand'r loved best, but she smiled when the dark cloud appeared. It quickly disappeared like smoke, leaving behind the petite frame of her dearest friend. "I was wondering if you would come," she said.

Raven shrugged. The hood of her cape protected her dark eyes from the sun's rays as they stood atop one of Metropolis' skyscrapers. "If you're going to do this, I should be there with you," she replied.

"Like you wouldn't have come on your own," Koriand'r teased.

"I'm just a healer."

"Healers are the greatest heroes of all. Didn't your patients tell you that?"

Raven looked uncomfortable, as she often did when the recipient of praise. "At any rate, I am sure this will not take very long. I am not what they are looking for."

"Then why did they invite you?" Koriand'r asked.

"I . . . cannot say. I sense feelings, not thoughts."

Koriand'r chuckled. "And have you sensed Wally's feelings lately?"

Raven blinked. "Wally? What feelings?"

"Feelings for you, of course."

"He is a friend," Raven said, confused. "What else would there be?"

"Hm," Koriand'r said. "Maybe you need to 'sense' a little harder then."

Before Raven could respond to this, a red blur darted around them, before coming to a stop in the form of the Flash. "Two lovely ladies stranded atop a tower," he said. "Care to be rescued?"

"Sorry, I'm taken," Koriand'r told him. "But I believe Raven could use some company."

"Hey Bats," Flash said into his communicator. "Three for the Watchtower."

"Are we taking the Javelin?" Raven asked, looking mystified.

"Actually, no," Flash told her. "Last year GL and Hawkgirl obtained these special teleportation pods. Since then Shayera's been tinkering around with them, along with Batman and J'onn. And we think we've come up with something a little better."

They were surrounded by light before he could continue, and they found themselves on the Watchtower an instant later. Koriand'r looked around, astonished. "It's just like when I teleport with you, Raven," she said. "Only with light instead of darkness!"

"I'll let the others know you're here," Flash said, vanishing down the corridor and leaving the other two wondering if they should follow or stay.

"What did you mean before?" Raven asked as they chose to wait. "When you said you were taken?"

"Oh, that," Koriand'r said brightly. "Mercy finally gave in. We're going on a date tomorrow night. Actually, it's our second. Last week we went out too. She was not very talkative. I believe that is her new strategy, between you and me."

"Strategy?" Raven asked. She knew Koriand'r had been pursing Mercy since that night they both became intoxicated, but that Mercy had been resisting her - albeit with weakening resistance. Raven didn't trust Mercy very far, but she understood that Koriand'r felt things very passionately, and it would be hopeless for her - or Mercy - to try and stop the Tamaranean.

"Yes. She thinks that if she is unpleasant company, I will decide she is not worth the effort," Koriand'r replied. "It will not work, of course."

Raven frowned. "Koriand'r, perhaps she just is not interested."

"Mercy is interested," Koriand'r said. "She's admitted as much. She's just convinced that she'll hurt me again. I'm trying to work on that. I've been hurt by MUCH worse, and I think I need to tell her some of that."

"You never like to talk about your childhood," Raven said, surprised.

Koriand'r sighed. "Yes, well, I think she might be worth it. I like protecting her. Very much so, in fact." She smiled at Raven. "Much as you have protected me, sister."

Raven ducked her head. "I am not - "

"Are you suggesting that you are less of a sister to me than Komand'r, perhaps? The person who tried to have me destroyed?" Koriand'r asked calmly. "You and I, we have a connection that transcends friendship. It will always be so between us."

"You are . . . very important to me," Raven admitted.

"And even though you were taught to forswear emotions in order to keep your father's evil at bay, you have never forsaken me," Koriand'r said, subtly changing topics. "Even after what happened in Mercy's home."

Raven nodded. "You are a part of my life now, for better or worse."

Koriand'r put her hand on Raven's shoulder. "Good. So when Flash speaks to you later, keep that in mind, okay?"

"What?" Raven asked, startled. How did this discussion become about Flash again?

As if saying his name summoned him, Flash appeared again. "Let's go," he said. "People are already gathering."

"People?" Koriand'r asked. "How many have you asked here?"

"Oh, two or three . . . " he said as he walked with them down the hall.

Raven was the first to enter the main chamber, but Koriand'r was no less surprised than she.

"Dozen," Flash added as he came in.

There were almost twenty men and women within, all clad in superhero costumes. A few Raven recognized, like Superman and Batman. Most of the others were unfamiliar. "So many," she murmured.

"Here, let me introduce you to a few," Flash said, leading them over to one circle of people. "This is Nightwing, Steel, Arrowette, Power Girl, and Blue Beetle. Guys, meet Starfire from Metropolis and Raven from New York."

"Kory Anders, right?" Nightwing, a handsome man dressed in black, said as he offered his hand. "The model?"

"Former model," she corrected him, shaking his hand. "I work for Lexcorp now."

Steel's armored suit didn't allow much in the way of facial expression, but he was able to manage a surprised look. "I used to work for Lexcorp. Be careful over there," he told her.

"This is so amazing," Arrowette said. She was the youngest of the group, clad in red and gold and carrying a longbow. "I never thought I'd meet some of these people! One minute I'm talking to Green Arrow, and the next minute - how many people will be here?"

"Over forty," Flash said. "Only two people seem to have declined."

"Who?" Blue Beetle asked.

"Aquaman said he's too busy ruling the seas. And Catwoman - "

"I could have told you she wouldn't accept," Nightwing said, chuckling. "She got a nice laugh out of it, though."

"Batman did tell us," Flash said, "but Superman gave it a shot anyway."

"I don't understand," Power Girl said, her outfit leaving little to the imagination. "I thought Catwoman was a thief."

"Here in the League, you'll find not everything is in black and white," Flash told her. "We're not all perfect, and not every criminal is all bad. Especially one that looks like her," he added, grinning at Nightwing.

"I'd avoid saying that in front of Batman," Nightwing said, grinning right back.

"Oh, excuse me," Arrowette said as she spotted Zatanna and Black Canary walking past, going over to introduce herself.

"Yeah, me too," Flash said. "Uh, Raven, can I talk to you for a second?"

"Of course," she said, following as he retreated from the crowd. "How will you decide which of these heroes you will be adding to the League?"

"Pretty much anyone who says yes," he told her. "These are all legitimate heroes. We can do a lot more good if we work together better. Besides, with Diana and J'onn taking leave of absence, everyone else can help pick up the slack."

"Leave of - "

"I should let Superman explain," he interrupted. "Look, the reason I wanted to talk to you . . . I was wondering if you'd like to get together Saturday night?"

Raven thought for a moment. "I do not believe I am working then. And I always enjoy our talks."

"Yeah, well, I thought we could do more than talk. Maybe dinner? A movie?"

"A movie?" Raven asked. They didn't usually do things like that. It sounded more like something Koriand'r and Mercy would -

She looked back at Koriand'r and realized this was what the Tamaranean had been hinting at. Koriand'r had also suggested she read Wally's feelings better, and Raven did so, hoping for answers.

What she saw within him stunned her. He genuinely liked her. That much she had known since the party on the Watchtower. But there was attraction as well!

He was asking her out on a - date?

"Or anything," he said, misinterpreting her silence. "It's up to you, Raven. I've been talking to a few people, and I've realized I'd like to spend more time with you. If that's okay."

Her sisterhood with Koriand'r was very important to her, as she'd said. But it had also given her father the opportunity to escape when Luminus almost killed Koriand'r. As she had warned Flash in the past, Raven could not dare feel something for others. She was mad to even remain friends with Koriand'r in fact.

But it had been Wally who saved her from her father, when all hope seemed lost. Could he do so again?

Her weakness was going to get many people killed!

"Hey, it's okay," Flash said, disappointed. "You're obviously not ready, and I should just take things slow."

The look in his eyes told her she was hurting him right now.

"I . . . think I would like to have dinner with you," she said, hating herself for it.

Except she didn't hate herself. She felt better about herself, in fact, and Wally's smile made her father seem like a distant nightmare indeed.

She almost didn't hear Superman begin to speak behind her.

"Each of you brings something different to the table. Strength. Speed. Stealth. Whatever. But we're all equal in at least one way. Each of us is willing to make the sacrifices a hero needs to make. Even the ultimate one."(1)

"They've already started down below, you know," John said as he entered the training room. "Maybe you should, I don't know, take a shower?"

Shayera smiled grimly as she left another dent in the heavy bag with her right foot. "We're trying to show some of these people that the Justice League aren't gods. They'll get the idea quicker if I'm late. And if I smell when I come in." Her smile became something naughtier. "I think you just want to see me without my clothes on."

"Whatever gave you that idea?" the Green Lantern asked, folding his arms. "Nice outfit, by the way."

She looked down at her body-hugging white tights trimmed with black, leaving her midriff and her arms exposed. "Thanks. I had one made in yellow too. I was thinking of a change in fashion, actually. Hang up the mask. It's not like I need to hide my face. I can't have a secret identity with these," she pointed out, extending her wings before letting them retract again.

He was surprised. "Really?"

Hawkgirl put her hands on her hips. "You've got a problem with that?"

"No, no. It's just - you've been the strongest supporter of this expansion of the Justice League, and now you want to change your outfit."

"What's your point?"

John hesitated. "Ever since the Justice Lords, you haven't exactly been big on the concept of change."

She looked down. "Oh," she said.

"And I know you still watch your Lorder counterpart from where she can't see you."

"Not that often," Shayera said.


She sighed. "If one of us should ever - you know, do what the Lords did? Cross the line and not come back? If that happens, these new members could be the ones who stop us. I think we need checks and balances. If there are thirty members in the League, it's less likely that one or two of us can sway the rest."

"What is it about the Lords?" John asked. "They've always affected you most of all. Not even Superman is troubled by them the way you are, and HIS twin fell the farthest of all."

"I'm just being cautious."

"You're still having that nightmare."

Shayera gasped. "How did you - "

"We're sleeping together, remember?"

"Oh. Of course, right."

"It's just a dream. Okay, a recurring one, but - "

"I find recurring dreams happen when your subconscious is trying to tell you something," she said. "I do NOT want to become the woman in that cell, or the woman in my dreams. And that is why I'm thinking about other kinds of changes. I'm no killer. I'm not someone who will sacrifice Earth for the sake of Thanagar. The old costume - that's the woman I was before I came here. Shayera Hol, Thanagarian officer. Why not stake a claim to my new identity? Hawkgirl, Earth hero."

"Maybe this has nothing to do with your subconscious," GL said. "Maybe it's just your Lorder double and your dreams are feeding each other in a kind of cycle."

"Maybe," she agreed. "But it's not like she's just going to go away, is she?"

Green Lantern finally smiled. "Actually, she is. I got a communication from Oa. The Green Lantern Corps is sending Kyle Rayner here to bring my Lorder twin and his power ring back for judgment. When I suggested that my double might not resist if his wife was sent too, they agreed. In a week or two, they'll be out of our lives forever."

"Really?" Shayera asked. "That's great news!"

"So you can stop worrying now."

She didn't smile. "I'll try," she said. "But I'm still going with the new look."

He looked at her. "I'll support you, no matter what. You know that, right?"

Hawkgirl nodded.

"Well, I gotta be honest. I think you look pretty hot in that getup."

"Oh, really?" she asked. "I think you've been spending too much time with Wally."

"And I've got to get behind the whole no-more-mask concept," John went on. "That face should not be kept hidden."

"And why is that?"

He used the power from his ring to latch onto her waist and pull her close. Then he kissed her. "So that beak doesn't get in the way," he explained when he stopped.

"Speaking of which, you need to shave," Shayera said, wrinkling her nose.

"I was thinking of a beard, actually. Maybe I need a change too."

"John, I'll support you no matter what, but there's no way I'm letting you grow a beard."


"Yes?" Princess Audrey asked her driver.

"There appears to be some construction ahead. We shall have to take a detour."

"Very well," she said indifferently. She continued looking over some papers she'd brought with her from Kasnia.

Five minutes later, however, she was rudely jostled as the car struck some kind of bump. "Driver!" she snapped. "Please try to drive more carefully!"

"I am sorry, Ambassador, but we appear to have punctured a tire. I shall have to pull over."

She exhaled loudly. "Oh, very well," she sighed. It was a pity she could not fly like Diana. But she smiled. At least now that she was back in Washington, she could always fly WITH her. Hopefully Diana could make time for her soon. Perhaps in exchange for returning Vandal Savage to her people, Audrey could show her gratitude.

Again and again, in fact.

As she got out of the limousine, she was relieved to see they'd stopped in one of the cleaner parts of town. It did look oddly familiar, though. Perhaps she'd driven through here once before.

Audrey turned around and stopped. She gawked at the storefront. This was more than familiar! This was . . .

Suddenly she wondered if their blown tire had been a total coincidence.

"I'm going to go inside," she told her driver. "It is probably warmer there. You will come for me when the tire has been changed?"

"Of course, Ambassador. But I should come inside for a moment. It is my job as your employee to make sure it is safe."

"For a moment," she agreed. Audrey left her papers in the car and went indoors. "Hello?" she called out.

Diana came out a few moments later. "I'm sorry, but we're not open until tomorrow," she said with a grin. "Could you come back another time?"

Audrey glanced at her driver and saw he was paying closer attention to the entrances and exits. "This doesn't look like much of a store," she said casually as she crept closer.

"It's not a store. I teach self-defense classes here. I will, that is. I only moved to Washington a few months ago."

"Self-defense? You mean like how to use a can of Mace?"

"I think I can help my students do a lot more than that," Diana said. "My name is Diana, by the way. Diana Castle."

"Princess Audrey, Kasnian Ambassador to the United States." She offered her hand.

"Oh my," Diana said. "I remember you. Is it true that you know Wonder Woman?"

"Ambassador? I shall see to the car," her driver interrupted.

"Yes, please," Audrey told him. Once he was gone, she turned back to Diana. "Why, I know Wonder Woman quite - intimately."

Diana chuckled. "You played along nicely, considering the surprise this must have been."

"I agree! Why didn't you tell me?" Audrey asked.

"Obviously, it wouldn't have been a surprise."

"You know, I have a tendency to lose my security team. Perhaps I could use a few self-defense classes of my own."

"I was going to make a similar suggestion," Diana said. "That way no one will remark upon it if we become friends later."

Audrey smiled. "I hope you can make time in your busy schedule for a few private lessons. I hardly think someone such as I would take classes with a group of housewives."

"You're such a snob, Audrey."

"Of course I am."

"As for my busy schedule, I'm sure I can fit you in. I'm not very busy at the moment."

"Until the next League emergency."

Diana shook her head. "I'm on vacation."

Audrey stared at her. "You can do that?"

"Apparently. For the next six months, I will live as Diana Castle from the moment I awaken to the time I fall asleep." Diana took Audrey's hand. "Being the lover you deserve, not the angry Amazon who's been scaring you away lately," she added quietly.

"Diana," Audrey whispered. "You have no idea how much this means to me. Am I dreaming?"

"I can think of a few places I could pinch you, if you're not sure," Diana said, grinning.

"Oh, Hera! There's the girl I corrupted!" Audrey didn't even bother to look outside to see if her driver was watching. She ran into Diana's arms. "I love you," she mumbled into Diana's blouse.

Diana just smiled. Audrey probably didn't even realize what god she'd just named. Well, they could spend the next six months corrupting each other even further. "I love you too," she whispered.

"Have I convinced you?" the man asked. His suit wasn't even wrinkled, which was impressive, considering he'd just completely manhandled a group of remorseless killers.

"All right!" Nessus choked, barely able to speak with the man's hand around his throat. "We give!"

The man let go, and the centaur stumbled backwards, taking huge breaths. "If - you say you're Ares," Nessus managed to add, "then you're Ares."

"I'm so pleased you believe me," Ares replied dryly. He looked at the remaining members of the Slaughterhouse Five. "Now then, as I tried to inform you earlier, Circe is beyond your help now. She is being held prisoner on the Amazonian island of Themiscyra, and men such as yourselves cannot reach that place."

"But with your power, we could," Cecrops said, leaning against the cavern wall now that one of his huge dragon's legs was broken.

Ares frowned. "The island is under the protection of some - relatives of mine, and I would prefer not to engage them at this time. Suffice it to say, you will have to forget about your mistress at this time."

"So what are we to do? And why are you here?" Erisychthon demanded.

Ares smiled. "I think there's a place for you in a certain organization whose activities I've encouraged over the centuries. They're responsible for a great deal of war and misery on this pathetic mudball of a planet, and I want that noble history to continue. It's under new management at the moment, but I think you five could do a better job of it. There's also plenty of money in it for you, if you care about that sort of thing."

His last words were greeted by a menagerie of howling laughter.

"Money can be a good thing now and then," Nessus agreed. "How are we to accomplish this? Will you lead us?"

"I cannot directly involve myself, sadly," Ares said. "But I've recruited someone who will fit right into this marvelous little zoological marvel of yours."

A hulking shadow appeared in the doorway behind him. "I think it has potential, yes," Gorilla Grodd said. Then he frowned. "Is that one dead?" he asked, gesturing to a small red creature whose neck appeared broken.

"There are more Myrmidons where he came from," Nessus said.

"Regardless of that, I think you'll have no problem at all," Ares pointed out. "It's just a slip of a girl, and a few minor hoodlums. You'll be in charge in no time."

"In charge of what?" Geryon asked.

"They call themselves - DEMON."

Talia walked through the corridors of her headquarters and marveled once more at how smoothly events had progressed. It could have been much worse, but J'onn had smoothed things over with the League. She'd been disappointed to learn that Wonder Woman would not be involved with League activities for several months, but had consoled herself with the thought that when the Amazonian heroine returned to active duty, she would see all Talia had accomplished, and she would have her acceptance at last.

The other challenge had been recruiting the Gothamites. Once they'd arrived, she'd spoken to all three individually. Clayface had been the simplest. Having seen what the Lazarus Pits did for Poison Ivy, he was more hopeful than ever that he could be cured as well. He had agreed to prolonged testing first, however. At this point the scientists couldn't promise ANYTHING once he was lowered into the Pit.

Poison Ivy had been a real surprise. Talia had not abandoned her pro-environment teachings, and she hoped she could obtain Ivy's services for as much as a whole year with the promise of working together to preserve the world's forests and plains.

Ivy had not given her the chance. When told Talia wished to hire her, she had accepted on three conditions:

Talia had to hire Harley Quinn too. If Harley said no, Ivy would walk.

They must not be asked to travel anywhere near Gotham.

When the year was up, should Ivy ask it, Talia was obligated to use the Pits to transfer Ivy's immortality to Harley.

Her father had sought immortality for centuries, and to hear Ivy make this curious demand was so astounding that Talia had remained silent for several seconds. Eventually, of course, she had accepted.

Harley had required a bit of manipulation. Talia had told her that her scientists were completely baffled by Ivy's physiology. She hadn't been one hundred percent human when she went INTO the Lazarus Pits, and now that she was immortal as well, the test results were proving quite inconclusive. Ivy had accepted a temporary position with DEMON so she could be monitored by doctors for a period. There was a danger that she could slip back into a coma any day now, although that could be avoided if someone were with her at all times in order to watch for certain danger signs.

Appalled, Harley had promptly begged Talia to let her stay with Ivy. The rest was simple.

And so three convicted felons with histories of mental illness were bound to her by two emotions one did not often expect from such people - love and hope.

Two of those felons, in fact, could be heard ahead, but neither was the one she was looking for. "Excuse me?" she asked, knocking on their door. "Do either of you know where Hagen is?"

Ivy frowned. Talia could see she would never like Clayface, and that was a problem she would have to deal with later. "I wouldn't know," she sniffed as she lounged on her king-size bed. Talia had given them a palatial set of apartments for those times they weren't on a mission with her. Ivy had specifically requested they be given the same room, with only ONE bed. Talia had smiled and agreed.

"Where is Harley?" Talia asked.

"Taking a bath," Ivy said.

Talia came in and lowered her voice. "So then, you've got a year to win her over?"

Ivy glared at her. "I can do it," she hissed.

"I never said you couldn't," Talia quickly said. She'd already learned that Ivy had a cactus-like personality, and would have to be managed constantly. Another item to worry about later.

"Of course I can," Ivy said, but she looked at the closed bathroom door with some doubt.

"Hey, Red!" someone screamed from inside. "This bathtub's big enough for the Crocster! Come on in!"

"Of course you can," Talia murmured slyly as she left them to their time together.

She eventually found Clayface in one of the computer labs. "Matthew?" she asked.


Talia saw he was looking at the website of a company called Variety. "I've been asked to add one last person to our team. She's arriving shortly, and I would appreciate it if you would welcome her."

"It's a woman?" he asked.

She nodded. "At the helipad. She'll be here any moment."

He shrugged, but his eyes seemed to change color. She'd learned that women had that effect on him. "I've got nothing better to do," he said.

"Thank you," she said before leaving.

J'onn had told her that the new arrival would basically be reporting to Superman on the side. That was fine with her. She was doing the right thing, wasn't she?

"My lady?"

Talia turned around. A large man was standing there deferentially. "Yes, Ubu?" she asked as two servants walked past quickly, their eyes down.

"I believe there's something you need to see," Ubu told her.

"Of course," she said, following him.

When they were alone, Ubu led her into an unoccupied room and closed the door. "How are you doing?" he asked, turning back into J'onn.

"Tired," she admitted. "Being called the Demon's Head is - quite strange. I keep expecting my father to be behind me." Talia frowned. "Considering I let him die, that isn't exactly a pleasant thought."

"It was way past his time, Talia."

"I know. I'm beginning to wonder if I can pull this off, though," she said. "Or if I even want to. I wanted to get away from my old life, and here I find myself putting it around my neck like an iron collar."

J'onn took her by the arms. "It's not a weight you have to bear by yourself. And when you succeed, there will be many more people besides yourself who will no longer feel the oppression of DEMON."

She looked doubtful. "Can the Daughter of the Demon really be trusted to make that happen?"

"This 'dragon' trusts you," J'onn said.

"You always have," Talia replied. "Why is that?"

"Call it - Martian intuition."

Talia laughed.

J'onn cut her laughter short by kissing her softly on the lips, and her cheeks became flushed.

"And that," J'onn added, "was what I'm told is a good old-fashioned Earth kiss."

"I am an old-fashioned girl, you know," she replied coyly.

"Does that mean you'd like another one?"

"More, if it could be arranged."

It was arranged quite easily.

Claire scowled as the helicopter set itself down. She'd been brought to what looked like a cross between a military base and Dracula's castle. What had she been thinking?

Well, for starters, she'd been promised more money than she'd stolen in her whole life. THAT was something to remember.

Superman had asked her to do it as a personal favor. He'd told her he would never try to lecture her again about her chosen profession if she did. All she had to do was keep an eye on some of her "co-workers" and alert him if anything smelled rotten.

Truth be told, she was still feeling a little guilty about Superman and the whole Killer Frost thing. If she'd believed in him before, Volcana wouldn't have come THIS close to becoming a murderer. So she'd agreed.

But she told herself she'd mainly done it for the money.

Brushing a few stray red hairs over her shoulder, Volcana stepped down from the helicopter and began walking toward the entrance. She only took a few steps before she stopped again.

Barring the way was the misshapen statue of a man. She hoped this wasn't what her employer looked like.

"You're the new hire?" the statue asked, and she started.

"I'm Volcana," she replied, irritated. "What the hell are you?"

"Clayface," he said. "You mighta heard of me. Apparently we're going to be working together."

She had in fact heard of him, and she was a little embarrassed she'd taken him for a statue. "Whatever," she said, covering her embarrassment with anger. "What do you want?"

"I'm supposed to, um, welcome you."

"Great welcome," she said sardonically.

He stared at her. "After you?" he finally asked.

Volcana sighed and stalked past him. The things she put up with in order to do a few good deeds.

And get Superman off her back. And become rich.

As she walked on, Clayface stared after her. Her flame-red hair swung enticingly back and forth.

"I think I'm in love," he whispered before racing after her.

The End.

Author's Notes

(1) That was an actual quote from "Initiation", the first episode of Season Three (or
the first season of JLU, if you will).

This entire chapter, in fact, was meant to
bring the series full circle. If you'll recall, when
I began "Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride" back in . . . god, I think it was 2003! Anyway, the story in its infant stages was intended to be a sort of
off-camera companion to the actual series - the things
that could have been happening offscreen, with a few
minor alterations. Subsequent chapters reflected the
events of subsequent episodes.

Then came "Starcrossed". The episode, which
revealed Shayera to be a Thanagarian spy, directly
contradicted my story "Fellow Travelers", which dwelt
partly in Shayera's own mind. My only reasonable
option became to ignore that episode, and the events
of JLU were ignored as well. Now, however, I find
myself returning to that first episode of Season Three
with this chapter.

Of course, I don't intend to suggest that a
sequel would have had anything in common with actual
episodes from Season Three. In fact, I added elements
which flew in the face of those episodes. For
example, I used Nightwing, Arrowette, Power Girl, and
Blue Beetle precisely because they were NOT members of
the JLU in Season Three. (There's a bit of confusion
regarding Power Girl, thanks to the Galatea character
in the episode "Fearful Symmetry", but I want people
to assume that THIS Power Girl is the one appearing in
the comics.) Raven and Koriand'r, of course, were
also not members of the JLU.

On the other hand, I did borrow other elements,
such as Hawkgirl's costume change. In later episodes
of Season Three, Shayera began wearing the
white-and-black costume sans mask.

Just another example of the odd melange of comic
and cartoon elements that these stories have been.

If you thought you detected any references in
this chapter to DC's Infinity Crisis or Countdown, you
were right.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't know at first
how the Flash/Koriand'r/Raven triangle would be
resolved. For a while I was considering having Raven
leave Flash for Koriand'r, since I know some people
were supportive of a K/R pairing (no, not Kim/Ron :D).
Then Flash would have paired up with Mercy on the
rebound. Eventually, however, I decided I liked the
Wally/Raven pairing best, and I felt the majority of
fans did too.

Okay, there's going to be a poll posted very
shortly to my fanfic yahoogroup. Before I decided to phase out my fanfic writing, I was bandying about a few ideas for a followup to this story. I never did decide, because I ended up announcing that I wasn't going to be writing new fanfics beyond the ones mentioned, and that's still the plan.

That being said, there might come a day when I
perhaps wrote fanfic again. Maybe as a break from
wrting the manuscript, or maybe as an old hobby.
Whatever. If I ever wrote a follow-up to DDOWH, would you
rather see:

1. A romantic drama starring Diana and Audrey.
Diana builds a normal life away from the Justice
League with love and work and new and old friends, and
begins to wonder if she really needs to don the
bracelets and tiara again.

2. An action/suspense story as Talia and her
inner circle battle with Gorilla Grodd and the
Slaughterhouse Five for control of the Society of
Assassins and, ultimately, DEMON.

3. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner lingers on Earth
for a few days before transporting the Justice Lords
back to Oa, and has an encounter with Star Sapphire
filled with excitement and tension.

That last one came completely out of left field, I admit.

I can't think of anything else to add at the
moment. I want to thank everyone who has been reading
this massive work from start to finish. It was a long
time coming, but it was a pleasure to do, and a joy to
end. DC fans can still read "Rappacini's Last Laugh",
my Gotham Elseworlds tale. As for the KP fans,
rejoice, for by necessity work shall begin again on
"If You Build a Better Monkey".

Thanks to you all :)