Author's Note: Thank you so much to Hellacre13 again for the beta read and thank you for the reviews!
The police department could not find a match for the Jane Doe on the missing persons list. Her memory had not improved and while the doctors could not explain her sudden recovery, they officially gave her a clean bill of health. The hospital discharged her into the care of Marilyn, who arrived with a change of clothes and Beth, one of her closest friends and a volunteer at the shelter.
"Don't worry, Sweetheart. We'll take care of you."
Marilyn had started the Helping Hand Woman's Shelter twenty three years ago, ever since her daughter died of domestic abuse. It was the only shelter in a two hundred mile radius. She used up her inheritance money to set up Helping Hand. Money was always tight but they received donations from local churches and even anonymous donors to keep it running.
The pale figure stepped outside the hospital and insisted not to be carried out by wheelchair. Marilyn arrived in her pickup truck. She parked and opened the door for the stranger.
Jane Doe stepped inside and noticed a box full of muffins.
"I thought you might be hungry. Lord knows you need to gain a few pounds. I made them myself. I hope you're not allergic to blueberries!" Marilyn said.
She hoped that the breakfast would lighten the mood a little. Whatever trauma this woman had suffered must have been intense. In many ways, she reminded her of Lily, her daughter.
The woman was terribly hungry and exhausted. She ate all the muffins under two minutes.
"We're going to need to buy you new clothes. I'll take you downtown; you'll meet the town's folk. Wakefield only has about a thousand residents so you'll get to know everybody. Whether you like them or not," Marilyn laughed.
She pulled up to the consignment store. She could tell she was nervous. The place was completely foreign to her. Perhaps this was the first time this woman had been to America. The door triggered a bell and a middle aged woman stepped out from the curtains of an "Employees-Only" back room.
"So this is the deer that you hit with your truck?"
Marilyn sighed. Word travels fast in a small town.
"Now, Beth, please. Be kind to this one. We're in here to buy some clothes for my new friend."
Beth eyed her new friend up and down. This woman looked like she could play professional football and win a beauty pageant at the same time! Her odd appearance would make her an outsider to everybody else; she didn't even have eyebrows.
"Hello, stranger. Well, I don't think I have anything in your size. You're quite tall. What we can do is get some extra large sizes and you can get them tailored at the dry cleaners. They have a seamstress."
The stranger was unresponsive.
"Marilyn, does she have a name?"
"Nobody knows her name. She's a Jane Doe. I think Jane is a too plain a name for somebody like her." Marilyn took her hand and addressed her. "Since I met you in June, I think June would be a nice name for you."
For a moment, the stranger seemed to understand her words. She nodded. June will be her temporary name.
"Alright, that settles it! June, you're free to look around; I'll see if we have anything in your size. If not, we'll improvise," winked Beth.
There were strange and random trinkets collected over the years in the store and each told a different story about their previous owners. Some of them fascinated June, particularly an old pair of glasses. The thick black frames gave it a vintage appearance and the lens lacked any magnification. They brought her comfort somehow, a hint of normalcy. She put them on and looked in a mirror. Her appearance was already alien looking with the pale skin and the lack of hair but the glasses added softness to her features and brought attention to her blue eyes. Finally, her smile made its first appearance.
Meanwhile in Paradise Island...
The Amazon Guard were moving materials and rebuilding in an effort to restore the palace to its former glory. Queen Hippolyta passed through the gates of the well guarded Armory which was also bound by powerful magic spells. Donna followed closely. After her departure from the Justice League, she has been assisting her fellow sisters in reconstruction. It was a welcoming diversion from the media attention surrounding her resignation. More importantly, she needed to be there to support her mother during this difficult period. That also included fulfilling an oath.
"These are dark times, my child. The Gods have not responded to my prayers. Rumors are spreading that Elpis has gone missing." The Queen studied the sword of magic before her.
The Goddess of Hope? She was the voice for all mortal men and women. She hears the cries of helpless souls and empowers them with the gift of hope. If she is gone, then the Queen is right, these are dark times indeed.
"One must stand strong and inspire those who have been wronged to fight for justice." She turned around to face her daughter and handed her the sword.
"Donna, I ask that you take the place of Diana as Wonder Woman."
Donna breathed sharply, the weight on her chest intensified. She had feared the Queen would ask her of this.
"But, mother, the competition? There's an entire army of warriors that deserve the right to fight for the title." Her voice broke.
"Yes but I know who would be the winner of the title. It would be Artemis. Her skills as a warrior are impressive and she's earned the loyalty of her troops but she is aggressive. She thinks with her sword and not with her heart. Please, Donna, this is only temporary, until Themyscira is fully rebuilt."
Donna's internal dilemma is pushed aside as she nodded to accept her title as Wonder Woman. Artemis won't be pleased.
Lois managed to find some time away from her very busy schedule to focus on the wedding invitations. The invites and the envelopes lay neatly on the dinner table of their apartment. Clark hasn't mentioned anything about their wedding but asking him would be too selfish. The funeral had been extremely difficult for him; when Diana died the trinity was broken.
She heard him land on the balcony.
"Hello, sweetheart." He kissed her on the head. He quickly changed into Clark and reached inside the fridge for some orange juice.
Alright, now is the time to confront him. He seemed to be in good spirits. Here goes nothing.
"Look, honey. I don't mean to worry you but I think we need to talk."
"Okay," he said warily. She got up to sit on the couch. The talking couch he liked to call it.
"Clark, there's something else that has been bothering you for the past few weeks since Diana's death. I know you are still grieving for a close friend but I feel that you're angry too...at yourself."
"Yeah Lois, you're right. I am angry. I should've been there for Diana when the OMACs attacked."
Oh boy, this is going to harder than she thought. She took in a deep breath. "What I'm trying to say is...Clark, for the first time, I'm not sure what you and Batman did to Diana was right."
"What are you talking about? Lois, I went through this with you before. She killed another human being. He didn't have his chance at due process. I don't believe in capital punishment by meta-humans."
He's doesn't understand. Anger began to rise. "Then why do you feel such guilt. Clearly, Clark, that decision is eating you alive."
"A decision I didn't make. She did."
"Again, you're making excuses. It's impossible to talk to you about this." Frustration filled her voice. Lois had approached this in all different angles with Clark but he wouldn't have it. He was a bit stubborn when it came to his emotions. Then again, this is the first time Lois has questioned his judgment but she wouldn't be a senior reporter at Metropolis' number one newspaper if she didn't. Objectivity was one of her strengths and one of the reasons why Clark fell in love with her.
"I know, Clark, it seems I'm not standing by your side. I'm just upset that something else other than death can break the world's greatest trio. People worship the group, even other Justice League members."
For once, he didn't have a rebuttal. The guilt, frustration and the dreams, the nightmares that plagued his mind had taken their toll. He had taken pride before loyalty in fear of public rejection.
His mind was a million miles away and Lois concern for him only grew. His believed himself accountable for the lives of everyone on the planet. She couldn't imagine a bigger responsibility. Something that she could never understand.