3 years later…
It was a gorgeous day on Themiscyra. The sun was warm, but not overwhelming, and there was a delicate breeze coming off the ocean. Clio and Artemis were walking the shoreline hand in hand laughing as their daughter ran ahead, playing one of her favorite games with her godmothers. Antigone was rumbling as fast as her legs could take her, running away from Alindra. Athena would appear a few feet in front of the toddler, scoop her up, and disappear. They always materialized next to Alindra, and Antigone would reach out and tag her. Then the game would start all over again. Athena would put her goddaughter down, and Alindra would give chase.
After running half the stretch of the several mile long beach, Antigone began to get tired, and she sat down in the sand near the water and waited for her mothers to come get her. When she was done, she was done, and there was no middle ground. She ran on all cylinders or not at all.
Athena and Alindra stood beside her and waited for Clio and Artemis to get to their position.
Athena sat down in the sand next to the small child, and began building sandcastles with the little girl. "Tired now? Had enough of your aunts chasing you around?"
Antigone quit playing in the sand and crawled into Athena's lap wrapping her arm around the goddess' neck. "Aunt Apheena, will you make it for me?" The child giggled, and Athena knew where this game was going too.
Antigone shifted and leaned her little back against Athena's shoulder and waited as the goddess offered her hand. Antigone pulled out Athena's pointer finger and began waving it wildly at the sand. Instantly a small tornado sprung up, and the sand swirled in the air. Antigone giggled as the sand began to form into a castle that slowly became bigger and bigger. And when it stood about 3 feet tall, Antigone sprung up and ran headlong into the side of it. This was her second favorite game, building and destroying sandcastles.
Artemis leaned down and plucked her daughter out of the pile that used to be a castle. "Come on Antigone. It's time for your nap. You can play with your aunts later."
The little girl with piercing green eyes, and tight mahogany curls nodded her head. "Bye Aunt Lin. Bye Aunt Apheena. Bring Aunt 'Dite later?"
Athena smiled. "I will see what your Aunt Aphrodite is doing later. Maybe we can make the fish jump out of the ocean if you are good and eat all of your dinner."
Antigone squealed. Alindra laughed. The fish that Athena was referring to were dolphins. But Antigone couldn't quite form the word properly so they stuck to calling them fish. Clio, Artemis, and Antigone left the spot, leaving Athena and Alindra alone.
Alindra sat down in the sand and gently caressed Athena's arm. "We are alone now. What do you want to do with the day until tonight when the dolphins are jumping for my niece's amusement?"
Athena pursed her lips, "Jealous? Want me to make the dolphins jump for you too?"
Alindra chuckled. "No, I am alright with taking a backseat to Antigone on that one."
"Well," Athena smiled seductively, "you come first in other areas."
"I better!" Alindra leaned in and brushed her lips across the Goddess'. "You keep me around to keep you amused don't you?"
"I do. I find you to be…highly entertaining."
Alindra crossed her arm across Athena's lap, and slowly pushed forward. Athena stretched her arms behind her body, staying slightly propped up. Alindra whispered, "I have an idea. Give me one of your hands."
Athena looked confused, but offered her right hand. Alindra took it into her own and stared at it for a moment. She slowly curled all of Athena's fingers down into her fist with the exception of the pointer finger. "I am going to hold this, and I want to see magic happen when I start moving it around."
Athena's eyes went wide. "That is a wicked thought Alindra."
Alindra laughed and moved the finger to her lips. She kissed the appendage and then suckled it slowly. "Wicked? Not yet, but it will be."
Somewhere else in the world…
Diana moved around the kitchen, preparing a light lunch for her and Shayera. Being settled somewhat into domesticity had been a refreshing change, and the couple had split their time between the League and the small home they had been given. It had been a gift from Audrey right after the war. It was a small token of thanks for their service. They had to insist however, that she not supply them with a house staff. They were content to relax from time to time, and tend to the needs of the house. They had been there for the last 7 months, taking time away from their League duties, enjoying the quiet time to themselves.
"Diana!" Shayera yelled from the living room. "Are you almost done? The program is about to start!"
Diana laughed, "Hang on Shayera! I am almost done making sandwiches."
"What are you making?"
"Just relax. I am coming now."
Diana scooped up a couple of plates, and glasses. Realizing she had no hands left to carry the bag of chips, she stood still for a minute. Laughing to herself, she walked over to the front of the fridge and levitated until she was just above the top of it. Leaning over, she grabbed the bag with her teeth. Life in a house wasn't completely normal.
Walking into the living room, she found Shayera stretched out on the soft leather couch remote in hand. Looking at her Amazon, she laughed. "Weren't those chips on top of the fridge?"
Diana nodded. Shayera smiled, and took them gently from Diana's lips. "Thanks sweetheart. Sit. Lois is about to be on."
In the three years since the war, Lois had continued to write amazing articles for the Daily Planet, but when it was bought out by an independent media mogul, he had seen the value in Lois's reputation, and her good looks didn't hurt either. He had somehow convinced her to host her own show, similar to Barbara Walters. She had capitulated after he had agreed to give her complete creative control. So now, Lois was seen every Sunday interviewing famous and infamous people, and of course, her first television interview had been with Superman. Ratings had been sky high, and Lois continued to follow up with equally amazing pieces. Today's show was special though to Diana and Shayera. Lois had managed to convince Audrey to speak publicly since she had abdicated her throne merely a year before.
The show had opened in Spain, in an opulent hacienda that sat on a hill overlooking vineyard. Audrey had greeted Lois in a pair of jeans and a simple blue sweatshirt.
Sitting down, Lois immediately began, "Queen Audrey, thank you for inviting me into your home. This has been the first public interview since you abdicated your throne in Kasnia a little over a year ago."
"Welcome. I confess that I was surprised when you asked for the interview. I am hardly news worthy anymore. And it is just Audrey now. I am no longer Queen of Kasnia. Hence the clothes. I prefer jeans to suits now."
Lois nodded, "Let's dive right in shall we? What have you been doing in this past year?"
Audrey smiled, and toyed with a diamond ring on her hand. "I was married in a private ceremony. My son, and a very small handful of friends attended."
"You married a very public figure too."
Audrey laughed, "Don't let her hear you say that. She is far more private than I am."
"But you married Diana, a Wonder Woman from another world."
"As you know though, we call her Di. She is independent of the League that this world's Diana belongs to. There are definitely differences."
"There were rumors years ago that you were involved with this world's Diana."
"Rumors that were addressed. Diana and I are good friends, as are Shayera and I. However the rumors that circulated about Di and I were grounded in a deeper truth. We met during the war, and fell in love. We have not left each other's side since that time."
"Was she the reason you abdicated?"
"In part, yes, but not entirely. I realized that Kasnia, my first home, needed a leader who would be constantly focused on the needs of the people. I was unable to reconcile my needs as well. I realized that a relationship with a woman would be scandalous to a primarily Orthodox country, and I couldn't deny what I was feeling. I no longer wanted to choose between being in love, and loving my people. So, as I had previously started democratic reforms, I simply continued them, allowing the people to have more of a voice in the government. In the meantime, I very quietly divorced my husband, who is now Field Marshal and Prince Regent of Kasnia. Dmitri recovered from his wounds from the war, and we agreed that we both wanted a second chance at happiness. I don't think in the history of the world there has been more of an amicable divorce. He is the face of Kasnia, and the people love him."
"They love you too. There was a large outcry at the time you abdicated. You were the reason that Kasnia survived a civil war, surged to the forefront of technological advances, joined the European Union, and stamped out the NKFR. Your initiatives helped Kasnia rebuild in record time, and the economy boomed. Really you were at the height of your reign when you decided to step down."
"It needed to be done. I was ready to have a more normal life. Both Di and I discussed it at length, and we decided to step away from the limelight."
"But by marrying Di, you became royalty once more."
Audrey chuckled, "I did. Queen Hippolyta of Themiscyra and Di's mother, actually officiated the ceremony, and welcomed me into her family. I admit that I have been blessed."
"Let's talk about your ex-husband for a moment. He has since remarried as well."
"He did. He fell in love with an amazing woman, General Illiana Stilenko. She was the head of the Intelligence Agency at the time Kasnia and the Amazons were fighting the NKFR. She is a kind woman, and treats my son very well."
"Your marriage to Prince-Regent Leonid was done for political purposes wasn't it?"
"It was. When I met Dmitri across a negotiating table, I knew he could help bring peace to our country, and he had an amazing personality. We became fast friends, and realized we could do more married, than separately. While it was done for political reasons, Dmitri and I were always friends, and he has always looked out for our son, and for the people of Kasnia. He has surrounded himself with strong advisors and has brought even more prosperity to the country. As you know, Field Marshal Urbov retired with immense honors for having led in victory the largest ground battle in Europe since WWII. Last I heard, he retired to a small farm, raising animals, and has begun writing his memoirs. I look forward to reading them. Seeing the events from his perspective is something that I think will help me appreciate even more the events we survived. In the meantime, General Lebedev was promoted to General in Chief and resides at the palace with Dmitri, Illiana, and Dane."
"I would like to talk about your son for a moment. How have the events affected him?"
"My son is the perfect blending of Dmitri and me. He has my free-spirit, but he is inquisitive like his father. He soaks up everything around him. He is quite observant, and not much gets past him."
"How does he feel about his mother marrying another woman?"
"He didn't care. It seemed natural to him that his mother would marry the person she loved. It doesn't matter that Di is a woman. They have a great relationship that was mostly built on flying."
"Even though he is still very young, at a very early age, Dane developed a fascination for flying. Di takes him out and they fly everywhere together. He tells me when he grows up and is King, he wants to fly planes for Kasnia. Since he spends summers with us, they have flown all over the country, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Di has taken him to other places as well. They brought a loaf of bread home from France a few days ago. I was told that there is a fantastic bakery nearby, but it tasted surprisingly authentic. She denies it, but he giggles when asked. My son is a terrible liar." Audrey and Lois laughed.
"Any thought to having more children?"
Audrey blushed, "It is being discussed. Nothing is decided, but I will say we are leaning towards giving Dane a little sister or brother."
As the thought was finished, the front door burst open and Di was running away from a very determined dark haired six year old boy. The camera swung around and followed the action, as Di vaulted over a couch and crouched behind it. Dane scrambled and leapt onto the cushions, climbed over the back of the furniture and jumped onto Di's back. "Gotcha!" he squealed.
He wrapped his legs around her back and grabbed her by the back of the neck.
"Oh no!" she laughed. She staggered left and right melodramatically, and slowly wilted back to the floor. "I've been caught! And in the sleeper hold too!"
Dane continued to laugh as Di fell to her knees onto the carpet, and then fell face first into the floor.
The little boy reached down and started tickling the much larger Amazon. He giggled with delight as she began to squirm and rolled him over. "You know what is next right?" she asked as Dane struggled against her.
"NOOOO!" Dane squirmed in between his childish noises of delight.
"Machine gun kisses!" Di leaned over and planted several rapid kisses on the future King's face. "You will never be too old for me to do this too little man!"
"Mommy! Help me!" Dane continued to laugh.
Suddenly realizing that they were not alone, Di stood, and lifted the boy into her arms. "Sorry sweetheart, I forgot Lois was coming today. That camera isn't on right now is it?"
In their living room, Diana and Shayera laughed uproariously. It was clear by the look on Di's face that she was not comfortable with being on television.
Di put Dane down and he ran to his mother's lap. He climbed up and rested comfortably on Audrey's knees. Audrey leaned down, and whispered, "Dane, say hello to Lois. She is here doing a story on our family."
Instantly the dark-haired boy stood, and suddenly remembering his lessons in manners bowed before Lois, and then stood and smiled. He climbed on her lap, and looked curiously over her shoulder at the camera. "Hi Aunt Lois! Can I say hi to other people too?"
Lois chuckled, "Go ahead."
Dane's face lit up, "Hi Aunt Diana, and Aunt Shayera! We are coming to see you soon! Hi Dad! Hi Illiana! And oh, hi Grammy! Mommy says you will be coming to stay late in the summer. I just got back from Germany!"
Audrey shot a look over Di who shuffled nervously in the corner. She walked over and picked Dane up into her arms. "That's his code word for the backyard."
Audrey sighed and simply shook her head. Di leaned down and kissed Audrey's cheek. "We'll talk later?"
Audrey smiled, "We will."
Di left the room tickling the little boy, and whispered, "You aren't supposed to tell on me!"
Lois turned back to Audrey, "You really do have a beautiful family."
"Thank you. They are a handful, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
"So now that your son has revealed to the world he was just in Germany…"
"And let's not forget France last week…"
"Any worries about his safety at all, since you were once a target yourself?"
"Not really. Di cherishes him. I am sure he is safe with her. And since he revealed it to the world, his Aunt Diana and Aunt Shayera look out for him as well. He is surrounded by people who love him, and between his father, and my wife, he couldn't be better protected."
"Changing subjects for just moment, what ultimately happened to Commander Helios, the meta-human behind the NKFR?"
Audrey became serious. "He was captured by Shayera during the double envelopment, and he is currently in a high security prison in Kasnia. He was tried by a military court, and is awaiting his sentence to be carried out."
Lois nodded with understanding. "And any comment on Senator Levinivich who disappeared during the war? There were rumors that he was captured by your forces as well."
"My godfather was never found. Intelligence reports lead us to believe that he fled the country, leaving his family behind. My godmother and her sons collect his pension now. It was one of the first things I saw to once the NKFR was wiped out. I signed the paperwork immediately to make sure they were able to access his retirement. They agreed to allow part of his estate to be donated to Fastad and the rebuilding efforts there."
"Which leads me to another question, were you ever able to determine the source of the very large deposit into the royal account that appeared within days of the victory?"
"No. Whoever donated enough money to rebuild never came forward. The citizens of Kasnia were grateful for the anonymous donation, and I was able to use it to begin immediate repairs and reconstruction of the country."
"But you never kept any for yourself. Even now, although you are entitled to it, you do not take a cent in retirement or any other monies from Kasnia."
"No I don't. My family was independently wealthy. The money I have comes from various patents we hold on a variety of inventions, and it allows me to live comfortably. I have everything I need."
"Any comment on some of the technological patents you hold? Not many were made entirely public."
Audrey smiled knowingly, "No comment."
The program faded into a commercial and Shayera sat up slightly. "I love that she still keeps that to herself. How long before you think it becomes public?"
Diana shrugged, "She has a strangle hold on that secret. It may never become public. However, we are going to field a lot of questions about it very soon." Diana reached over and lovingly rubbed Shayera's protruding belly.
"We are going to have to figure out how we will explain our twins looking like the both of us."
"In a couple of months, yes, but for now, let's just enjoy the quiet. Do you think about what they will look like? Our girls?"
"If the ultrasound is any indication, you and I will be chasing at least one through the air. She kicks and her wings pulsate. I am glad the morning sickness is over. Those first few months were awful."
Diana shuddered. "It wasn't any fun for me either. Holding your hair while you puked every morning the first trimester had me worried."
"Morning sickness is normal for most pregnant women."
"I know, but I hated seeing you like that. I don't like feeling helpless."
"You ready to chase our girls around?"
Diana's face lit up. "I am. Any idea how long before the wings become viable? Do Thanagarian babies fly before they walk or crawl?"
"What about Amazon babies whose other mother can fly? Remind to ask your mother when she gets here. Just because one of them won't have wings, doesn't mean she won't be able to fly as well."
Diana's eyes went wide. Truthfully she hadn't thought about that. "We are going to be chasing both of them everywhere!"
"See? And you didn't want company right away. Between Helena, Dinah, Di, and Audrey we will have more than enough help in the beginning."
"Don't forget about Grammy." Diana chuckled at the nickname Dane had given Queen Hippolyta. The little boy could probably get away with anything he wanted to when his Grammy was around. She doted, and promised that she would spoil all future children as well.
Shayera smiled, "Is it really possible to be this happy?"
Diana reverently kissed Shayera's lips. "It is, but onto a less happy subject. I am waiting on Di to get here to finish assembling the cribs. I swear John did this on purpose. He found the most beautiful, yet most ridiculously complex things to give us. I am pretty sure that half of the directions are in a foreign language. And the directions are condescending too! 'Place rod A into slot B' , and…"
"Love, you know he stopped being a prick a few years ago. He is genuinely happy for us now. The cribs are going to be breathtaking, if my wife can ever figure out how to put them together."
"He only quit being a jerk because Di kicked his ass."
"Stop talking about John and kiss your wife. She is enormous and worries that she will never get her figure back."
Diana chuckled, "I have no doubt that you will be more beautiful to me after the babies are born. Artemis swears that is how it was with her and Clio. I believe her. The day you told me we would be a family, my heart grew a little bigger. I wouldn't have thought it was possible. And then the first time we heard their little hearts beat, Shayera, was one of the best days of my life. Soon enough we will have two dark-haired, amazing little girls to fill our days."
Shayera cocked her eyebrow, "Dark-haired?"
Diana winked at her wife, "Red-hair is recessive. I am sure my genes are the dominant ones."
Diana sprung up from the couch, and just managed to dodge Shayera swatting at her arm.
Shayera pouted playfully, "Diana, you know I can't chase you."
Diana walked over to Shayera and scooped her up. "Then don't. For the rest of my life, I promise that you won't have to. I will always stay right by your side."
"You always say the sweetest things. And I think I would like to hear more, just not in the living room."
"Mmmhmmm…my hormones are raging right now. Take advantage before this house becomes crowded."
A/N: And this is how we close out. First, let me give my thanks to my co-author ltlconf. I am thrilled that we did this together. I am happy that we managed to do this, and thanks for the time you spent editing, suggesting, correcting, and agreeing and gently persuading. Without you, well, I don't think I would have gotten some chapters finished. Thanks! (I am pretty sure that you know I love ya!) To all those who read and reviewed, a special thanks to you. It amazes me that we got so many reviews, and positive reinforcements. Reviews fuel authors and they definitely did the same for me. Some of you have become friends, and I am grateful for that as well. I hope you enjoyed the story, and the end. It has been 6 months since this started, and while I am happy to be done with it, I am also just a little sad...Hopefully I will have more to offer you in the near future. Thanks for reading!