Title: Amazon Stories (Prologue/??)
Summary: Cursed by Circe's magic to wander alternate realities, Wonder Woman works to change the fate of others, even as she seems helpless to change her own. Will she ever hold her Audrey in her arms again?
Disclaimers: This story takes place an indeterminate time after Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride, so you should probably read that first. Familiarity with Dragons, Demons, and Other Wonders of the Heart, however, is NOT required. While this story contains action, drama, and profanity, it's suitable for younger readers.
Dedication: This story was originally intended as a Christmas gift to Mooncat, who has been a faithful fan of Diana/Audrey since the first chapter. Thanks go to Princess Alexandria, for her feedback and webpage design.
"I'm truly sorry, Diana," Audrey said unhappily. "But this silly diplomatic function was pushed back by a day, and my father insists I remain in Kasnia until then."
Wonder Woman sighed. "It can't be helped," she said to the monitor on which Audrey's visage was shown. "You're the princess and sole heir. You have your responsibilities."
"But you had plans for us," Audrey murmured. "And I've gone and ruined them all."
"How many times have my own responsibilities interfered in our relationship?" Diana asked. "Really, we're no different from any other couple where both partners lead busy lives."
"Yes, except where most such couples are physicians or lawyers or some such things," Audrey replied, "we happen to be a superhero and a future world leader. Yes, no different than they, I see it now."
Diana chuckled quietly. "We are a bit more complicated than most, I guess."
"That's the problem with a complicated relationship. Too many complications I could do without." Audrey looked down. "If someone offered me the opportunity to live a normal life - not counting my love for a member of the Justice League, that is - I think I might take it."
"And deprive Kasnia of your sense? I hope not," Diana said.
"What about you?" Audrey asked. "Would you consider giving up your powers if it meant we could be together like other people?"
"It's never going to happen," Diana replied. "Which is good, because I wouldn't want to live with the consequences of such a decision."
"That's not exactly an answer, Diana."
She frowned. "This world needs my help . . . but I've been known to have moments of weakness, not that I generally admit that, and if someone caught me during one of those times - I suppose I'd say yes."
Audrey smiled a little. "But that's never going to happen, as you say. Thank you for wishing it, at least."
"Of course," Diana said.
"So, another day?"
Diana nodded. "I look forward to my continued corruption."
Audrey grinned at what had become an old joke between them. "You must have been quite pure before we met, if you're not thoroughly degraded by now!"
"I was a maiden on an island populated only by women, you know."
"I don't think that says much," Audrey replied. "Women can corrupt one another quite well without men. I should think you and I are a perfect example."
Diana smiled. "Love you."
"I love you too," Audrey said, her cheeks turning pink at the unexpected words. But her eyes were just beginning to grow sad again as she moved her arm, when the connection was suddenly severed from her end.
Diana dropped her head into her hands. "Audrey," she sighed. "If you only knew what I'd give up to have you every night." But she knew she couldn't allow her desire to cloud her sense of duty. The needs of the world outweighed her own.
Speaking of which . . . she put a finger to her temple. "Yes, J'onn," she said, responding to a telepathic summons.
"Diana," he said, his voice ringing in her mind, "Circe has been sighted in Spain. Apparently she's staging her own running of the bulls, only - "
"Don't tell me, let me guess," she groaned. "The bulls were men until she transformed them with her magic."
"You are correct."
"I'll be right there," Diana muttered. A date with Circe, a personal enemy as well as an enemy of the entire League. The gods must have shown pity on her, in giving her this golden opportunity to take her mind off yet another spoiled day with Audrey by ramming Circe's teeth down her throat. "She can see what it's like to be trampled - by me."
"Does it ever bother you, Princess," Circe taunted her from below, "knowing that tomorrow morning, the pain these men feel will have been caused by you?"
"Since I wouldn't have to do this if it wasn't for your black sorcery, Circe," Diana fired back as she looped her lariat around the head of a bull that was charging right for a restaurant front, swinging it around and redirecting its momentum so that it plowed into the bulls charging behind it, "I sleep easier at night knowing I can place the blame on you."
"You seem upset, Amazon," Circe sneered. "Do you have a beef with me?"
Diana grimaced. "Your puns are almost as bad as your singing, Circe."
Circe glared hatefully at Wonder Woman. Pointing her finger, she fired a red blast at Diana, who dodged easily. "I'm a bigger star than you!"
"Please," Diana said as she swooped closer, knowing that the quickest way to stop these bulls without causing them all serious physical damage was to stop Circe, "you use your magic to turn men into drooling animals because you can't do it with your looks."
An outraged Circe snarled as she drew something from a pouch at her waist. "Your catty remarks will make this only sweeter!" Reaching back, she hurled the object at Diana.
Diana raised her bracelets defensively, but the item stopped halfway between them and blossomed into a swirling vortex that hung in midair. She could feel sucking winds that seemed to grab onto her, as if they were alive, and begin pulling. "Great Hera!" Diana gasped, trying to pull free.
"You should pray to Hades, Wonder Woman," Circe laughed. "Because thanks to my newest acquisition, when you disappear into the portal, you'll be gone, trapped forever!"
Her attempts to fly away from the vortex grew increasingly frantic, but the pull was even stronger than her. Her toes tingled as she felt them pass through the dark space. "No!"
"Oh, yes," Circe hissed.
"Audrey," Diana thought desperately as she was pulled through up to her neck.
Then everything was dark.
To be continued . . .