Amazon Stories - Hawk and Love

Chapter Three

This was it, Diana realized. No death trap. No cataclysm. This world was the success Circe's curse had been searching for. If it couldn't find a dimension that would kill her, it would send her to a world where she wished she was dead. A world where she could never be with Audrey, where she could only watch as Audrey's homeland slipped into war and chaos - and its architect? Wonder Woman, Princess of Peace.

"Sometimes," she thought dully as she sat in her room at the Watchtower, "the mistakes I make are too big for even me to fix." The fact that it was her double at fault and not herself didn't make it better.

She'd taken some solace in Fate's reminder that her journey had given her the chance to help three other versions of herself, make those worlds better. Now, however, she was faced with the enormity of her situation. What if this was NOT in fact her last stop? What if she continued to bounce across the fabric of time and space? How many more people would she be unable to save? How long before that burden killed her?

If defeat didn't destroy her, loneliness would.

Finally Diana stood up again and left her room. No crisis to respond to, no love to return to, no moment of darkness followed by an unfamiliar setting - she didn't know what to do. She could add being bored to a host of other regrets and hurts.

She passed other heroes in the hallways, some familiar, some not. When she encountered Green Lantern, he was the first member of the original League she'd seen so far. "Hello, John," she said.

"Diana," he replied. "You don't look so good."

"Call it exhaustion," she sighed. "I talked to Shayera yesterday."

John stiffened. "Did you," he said. "Felt you had to remind her she was no longer a member?"

"Excuse me?"

"Don't act like you forget, Diana," he said. "The other day you were talking about how the Solomon Grundy incident didn't change a goddamn thing, because she was still a spy all the other times she did the good deed. So what, you had to read her the riot act? You didn't have the votes the first time to throw her out, but you can't let go of a grudge, so you're making sure she feels not welcome. Right?"

Diana stared at him. "Actually, I've been - rethinking my opposition," she said after a moment.

Green Lantern looked at her strangely. "You're not being serious."

"No, I am," she said. "I went to see Fate on an unrelated matter, but while I was there . . . I said I wanted her to prove my vote wrong. I'm hoping she rises to the challenge."

"Why the sudden change? Not long ago you were even talking up Vixen, like she was the best woman I was ever going to meet." He raised an eyebrow. "When you did that, I figured you were never going to consider forgiving Hawkgirl."

"People make big mistakes," Diana said. "And sometimes they can punish themselves a lot better than anyone else can. Besides, I have no right to judge other people's relationships."

"Since when?" he asked sarcastically. Then he paused. "He turned you down, didn't he?" he asked calmly.

She grimaced. Of course others had noticed. How embarrassing. "Nothing is going to happen between us," she said. "Was I that obvious?"

"Not to the newbies," John assured her.

"Thank Hera for small favors," she muttered.

"Are you going to be all right?" he asked.

She would grieve for Audrey longer than her double would grieve for Bruce. "Eventually, I hope."

He looked skeptical. "So . . . you think she might come back?" he finally asked.

"Shayera? I hope so."

"Me too," John replied softly.

She nodded. Then at least something good would come of this extended nightmare in this dimension. Diana missed her home dimension so, where Audrey cancelling a day together was nothing compared to the horrors she'd lived through.

Then everything went dark.

Diana opened her eyes and found herself in someplace new but familiar. She'd been transported from the Watchtower, and deposited in the temple on Themiscyra. She sighed. Maybe if she had time enough, she could seek her mother's counsel. Or at least a shoulder to cry on.

"The great princess of Themiscyra crying? What has happened to the world?"

She started and turned around. No one was there, and yet someone had spoke. She wiped at her eyes, not realizing she'd been crying, and found her cheeks dry.

"Ah, but you were thinking of it."

"Who are you, mindreader?" Diana demanded. "This is MY island. Show yourself!"

"Technically, it's Hippolyta's island, not yours. And if you want to get really technical . . ."

Two women appeared before Diana in ceremonial Amazonian attire. "It belongs to us," one of the women finished. Both were beautiful, but the one who spoke was almost impossibly beautiful. The other's hair was hidden by a Greek helmet.

Diana gasped and fell to her knees. "I crave pardon," she whispered. "I should not have spoken to you so."

"Rise, Diana," the helmeted woman said. She tapped her on the shoulder with the shaft of the spear she carried. "We must talk."

Slowly Diana stood. She'd never had a personal visitation from a goddess before, much less two! What world was she in now? "Athena. Aphrodite. How may I serve the gods?" she asked.

"You already have," Aphrodite said.

"What?" Once again, she wished she had her double's memories. "I don't understand."

"Evidently not. You are not in someone else's body. You are in your own."

Diana was astonished. "This is MY body?" Then she stopped. "Fate said I was touched by divine magic. It was you? YOU cast the spell?!"

"We both did," Athena said quickly. "We made sure the artifact we crafted fell into the witch's hands, and she acted as we knew she would. So if you wish to blame us, now would be the time."

"But - but why? Why would you help Circe like that?!"

"Help Circe?" Athena snorted. "Hardly. We were trying to help you."

They were patron goddesses of Themiscyra, but Diana was angry anyway. "By making me suffer?!"

"No, child," Athena said. "By making you see. See how you have been favored, and humbled."

She pointed past Diana with her spear and made a circular motion. Diana looked and saw an image appear in midair. In it she saw a familiar face, that of the Justice Lord Diana.

"In each world you visited," Aphrodite explained, "while you inhabited their bodies, their spirits were here, with us. They could see everything you did, but they couldn't share your memories. They were as surprised by the things you did as everyone else in those worlds were. Then, once you were finished in each world, they were sent back, and you - moved on."

"Finished? What was I there to do?"

"You were supposed to see how some of your other selves lived their lives. We hoped it would make you appreciate what you have a little more. Of course, we had a feeling you would feel compelled to make some 'changes'. You performed quite well, Princess Diana,"

Athena said.

"Did I make a difference though?" Diana asked, reaching up to touch the image. "I never knew what happened next. Did she - "

"Well, if it wasn't for you," Aphrodite said, "the Justice Lords would have destroyed the space station, killed Audrey, and governed Earth brutally for years to come. And an Amazon took part in it."

She shook her head.

"That particular Diana had some stern words from us," Athena said, frowning. "Even before us, she defended her actions at first."

"Not even an Amazon like you could hold out for long against us, however," Aphrodite added. "By the time you were finished, she despaired her actions and begged forgiveness."

"Your scheme was well-played," Athena continued.

"I suspect that no matter what we did, your double would have been compelled to help the population fight the remaining Justice Lords. After 'her' betrayal, her only hope of survival was to fight back. Of course, she now lives with the need to pay for what she did. The battle continues - one Lord against five isn't very good odds - but the firepower of the remaining armies, plus human ingenuity and a number of superheroes and villains, are slowly beating the Lords."

"Five?" Diana asked.

"Superman disappeared after he got between the meteor and the Watchtower," Athena said. "He was presumed dead."

"What about Audrey?"

"She doesn't love her - yet. But she has sworn to protect your human, and Audrey is trying very hard to build on that."

"She can be very seductive," Diana murmured.

"Can't she?" Aphrodite agreed, pleased.

"Ahem," Athena muttered. "And so . . ." The image changed. "You had to deal with Aresia. If we hadn't sent you there, your double would have eventually located 'Fury' as you did. However, her infatuation continues to blind her, and she chooses to remain with Aresia as a sort of, what's the word, sidekick?"

Diana felt nauseous.

"Audrey returns to Themiscyra alone," Athena went on. "Meanwhile, Aresia begins her plans to wipe out the men of Earth. When Diana finds out, she allows her emotions to rule her judgment, helps Aresia, and Aresia succeeds. Or, Diana finally sees the truth, but Aresia kills her and succeeds anyway."

"Thanks to you, however, Aresia is returned to Themiscyra for punishment, and you remain in Man's World as Wonder Woman. Audrey never returns to the throne in Kasnia, and she eventually becomes a minor heroine in her own right," Aphrodite added.

"I don't know how I feel about that," Diana said. "She shouldn't be putting herself in danger like that."

"Which is why Wonder Woman always seems to be by her side," Aphrodite replied.

Diana blinked. "She's my - sidekick?"

Athena chuckled. "Moving on . . . Vandal Savage again. If the three of you hadn't gone to Gotham - "

"Let me guess," Diana said. "They all would have died."

The goddess of wisdom nodded. "And the following year, Savage locates Themiscyra and grinds it under his heel. Nothing you could have done would have mattered."

"So I was a, dare I say it, dea ex machina?"

"The ancient playwrights would have said the same thing," Aphrodite said.

"Except you did more than simply undo Savage's creation," Athena said, intrigued. "You capitalized on the opportunity provided by it when you gave Aresia your armor."

"It actually worked?" Diana asked, surprised.

Athena nodded. "Aresia became the first Wonder Woman, and helped end the war. She married the American Steve Trevor and went on fighting for peace until she became too old. And something else happened that even we didn't expect - Aresia's daughter chose to live a normal life, but her granddaughter, Donna Troy, was determined to use the armor as Aresia had. Aresia showed Donna her heritage by bringing her to Themiscyra. While Aresia was telling her story to Amazons who no longer knew her, the White Martians invaded Earth, and it was both you and 'Wonder Girl' who helped the Justice League drive them away."

"Athena," Aphrodite chided her, "she doesn't care about all that. She just wants to know if Audrey survived."

"No, I'm glad to hear the rest," Diana said. "It made me happy to see Aresia being true to her Amazonian teachings. I'm glad she continued to do so in Man's World." She shrugged. "Although yes, a little confirmation on Audrey would be nice."

Aphrodite laughed delightedly. "You are too serious, sister," she said to Athena.

"Just tell her," Athena grumbled.

"She'll be fine," Aphrodite assured her. "And you will find her, as you always seem to."

Diana nodded. "This is all good, but . . . what good did I accomplish in the last world? Is that why you brought me here when you did? Because I finally failed you?" she asked, upset.

"No," Aphrodite said, stepping forward and putting a hand on Diana's cheek that eased her worries. "You did everything you could. It just wasn't enough, you see."

"So that Diana, and Audrey?"

"They had their chance, but your double missed it." Aphrodite shook her head. "As you realized, even someone blessed by the gods as yourself can make mistakes. And sometimes you can make mistakes that you can never undo. Never forget that, child. No matter how much it may seem like you and Audrey can never be together the way you want, it could get a lot worse, and you may not be able to do anything about it."

Diana looked at them. "So I should appreciate what I have?"

"And fight for it," Athena said. "Do what we watched you do. Don't let anything take her from you."

"Fight for what you believe in, Diana," Aphrodite said. "You know what is right, and you make it so. That's why we waited before summoning you from that last world. Even after you knew there could be nothing between you and Audrey, you tried to help Hawkgirl. You forced Diana to let go of her anger, and you helped clear the way for her return to the Justice League."

"Shayera," Diana realized, suddenly worried. "I shouldn't ask this, but I have to know. The Shayera in my world - she's not a . . . spy, is she?"

Athena rolled her eyes. "What do you think?"

"My heart tells me no."

"Then what's the problem?"

Diana sighed. "Thank you."

"You're welcome, although by now you should have faith in your heart," Aphrodite said. "So, strive for the best, but never forget what you have, or who you are. Got it?"

She nodded. "I will," she said.

"Good. Now go finish that witch off." Athena turned and created a larger window with her spear, one big enough for Diana to walk through.

"Where is she?" Diana asked, her hands forming fists. This had all been part of something greater, but Circe had thrown that magical item with a heart full of malice, and she itched to pay her back.

"Where you left her. You've only been gone two minutes." Athena snorted. "She's still enjoying her 'triumph'. Why not enlighten her, much as you have been enlightened?"

Diana smiled. "Thank you so much."

"Such gratitude, considering how we made you suffer," Aphrodite murmured.

"The fire only makes you stronger," Diana said before entering the portal and finding herself being sucked forward at high speed. Her destination, she quickly saw, was a spot right in the small of Circe's back. She grinned as she pulled a fist back.

"Oh, Hera," she thought. "This is going to leave a mark."

The End.

Author's Note - yes, this story was partially inspired by the TV series Quantum Leap. Donna Troy, aka Troia from the Teen Titans, was not actually related to Steve Trevor or Aresia in canon. That was my idea.

I apologize for the lateness of these last few chapters. These were written some time ago, but for some reason I neglected to post them to FFN. The occasional reviews reminding me that I hadn't finished yet, they're the reason I got off my lazy ass. So thank you.