By Christy

Author's Note: I still can't believe it's been over a year since I updated - and I feel like I'm constantly apologizing! But it's definitely unacceptable, and I hope you all enjoy this update! I will say - if you follow me / visit me on Facebook, I regularly post updates, art, and check in with everyone. In any case, I hope everyone is staying safe and well during this pandemic!


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I'd hardly seen Bruce look so shocked; and I couldn't help but be amused. Had he really expected me to say no?

"Yes?" An uncharacteristically eager fire lit within his eyes. "You know what this means, Di. No going back."

"And there was before this, Mr. Wayne?" I arched a brow; he suppressed a smirk.

He leaned forward and pressed a surprisingly tender, lingering kiss to my lips. "Should we tell the family?" He murmured as he pressed more kisses to my temple, just behind my ear, the hollow of my neck.

I laughed and wrapped my arms around him tighter. "If you keep this up, I don't think we'll make it to our own wedding, Mr. Wayne." Not that I minded. Not a bit.

He hummed an approving sound, only making me giggle harder. We had so few of these moments between us; I soaked up each one, savoring the times we had together to draw them out for the cold Gotham nights.

"Somehow I don't think either of us would be too disappointed," he muttered.

I lightly smacked his shoulder, and he finally pulled away - but not before I grabbed his collar and pulled him in for one last kiss. I touched my forehead to his, releasing a long, contented sigh.

"I wish it could always be this easy," I murmured.

But he pulled back slightly, a strange half-smile playing on his lips. "No, you don't."

I grinned back at him. "You're right. We're not vigilantes beating up criminals every night because it's easy."

He arched a brow. "For you, maybe."

"Depends on the criminal," I said dryly, remembering the sharp sting of the Cheetah's claws. Or the impenetrable solid rock that was Bane. Or… even Ares. My countenance grew slightly dimmer at the memory of the god of war. And everything that surrounded him. Even in death, he tormented me. Tormented our family.

Bruce sobered quickly, likely remembering the same thing. He cupped my jaw with his callused hands, and I shivered at the sensation of his fingertips sweeping behind my ears. "Di. Look at me."

I did, meeting his icy-blue gaze.

"This will be over, Diana. Maybe not right now, but it will end. And we will all be stronger for it. You and I - we have been through too much together for something like this to tear us apart. I never thought I would have someone like you in my life, Diana. But we are here, together, right now, and I'll be damned if we waste it."

Tears filled my eyes; but for the first time in months, they were happy tears. For the first time in months, I felt like myself again. Not Wonder Woman, not an exiled Amazon Princess. Not the god of war. Just Diana, like it used to be when we were younger. Just Diana and Bruce.

And I knew, reflected in my eyes, that he felt the same.

"C'mon, Princess," he said, leading me towards the staircase. "Let's get married."

"But I still have laundry-" I joked, gesturing to the ironing board. He laughed, much to my own astonishment, and we flew down the hallway as giddy as a pair of schoolchildren at play.

We rushed down the stairs and hovered in the kitchen doorway. My hands clasped behind my back, I bit my lip as Bruce slid his fingers through mine, squeezing my hand tightly. After a brief, happy moment of watching our family washing over me in a much-needed moment of warmth, Bruce stepped down into the kitchen, clearing his throat.

"Everyone, we have something to tell you." His commanding baritone silenced the usual kitchen commotion as the family turned to us expectantly.

"Are you pregnant?" Charis demanded.

I flushed. "What? No!"

"She's decided to invade Themyscira after all," Myrto put in eagerly.

"I - what?"

"You're going to get me my own motorcycle!" Dick exclaimed.

Bruce shot him a look. "No."

"Aw." Dick deflated, slumping back into his seat. Beside him, Barbara snickered; he graced her with a withering glare.

"Everyone, hush," Alfred ordered sharply.


Bruce and I tensed simultaneously at Alfred's unwitting nod to the mysterious figure that was trying to upend our lives. A blood-curdling icy rush of fear spread down throughout my body; I shivered, startling even myself. Bruce's stony gaze cleared as he wrapped an arm around my waist, drawing me nearer. It wasn't Alfred's fault. How could he have known that such a small word would evoke so many emotions in the both of us?

We both forced smiles on our faces, trying to clear the air. I straightened my shoulders and attempted to steady my suddenly flurry of heartbeats. No. I refused to let anyone spoil this moment.

Artemis was noticeably absent; then again, she wasn't around most nights these days. She'd been pretty quiet about her experiences at the GCPD, but it wasn't as though she'd ever been the most talkative person, either. If and when she shared, it was only to rant about something else Jim had done.

But I knew Artemis. And I knew that she was warming up to him. Bruce's hand gently squeezing my palm brought me back to the present moment.

"Diana and I have decided to get married," Bruce announced. Before he could finish with "tonight," the kitchen once again erupted into chaos.

"I thought you were already engaged," said Charis, confused. "Do you have to ask more than once? I am unfamiliar with the customs of man's world."

"No," put in Myrto. "She has to ask him. Did you provide him with the pit of the peach to proclaim your intent to mate with him?'

Cass frowned and tapped the Amazon on the shoulder, signing, "What does 'm-a-t-e' mean?"

"Nothing!" I exclaimed quickly. "It means nothing. Right, Myrto?" I fixed the Amazon with a deadly glare; she simply shrugged, unbothered, and started muttering in Themysciran under her breath.

"Tonight!" thundered Bruce above the chattering. "We are getting married tonight."

The kitchen once again fell into a momentary hush; only broken by my mother's cry of excitement - and then the room burst into true pandemonium.

"Are you serious?" Mom asked, rushing up to me.

"It's about bloody time, Bruce," said Alfred, gripping his shoulder tightly. Bruce shook his head, slightly chagrined, but knew very well that his guardian had hit the nail right on the head. The grizzled war veteran-turned-guardian caught my gaze and winked, smirking. I couldn't help but laugh, near delirious with joy.

"But what about your dress?" Barbara chirped, rolling over to us. "Shouldn't you have a dress? And shouldn't we wait for my dad and Artemis?"

"Good point!" I said, glancing to Bruce for affirmation.

"It's not as though we're not night owls," he said dryly. "I'll send him a text and let him know. We can wait for them to get off-shift. I'm sure no one's about to go to sleep anytime soon at this rate."

"I'll text Helena," I said, whipping out my phone. "I know she'd kill me if I got married without her. And Mena - Mena's still out at the gym, isn't she?"

"I think she might be out on a date, actually," said Mom. "With that handsome young Lieutenant Nick."

I arched a brow. "Lawrence? Really? Wouldn't have thought it - seems a bit too boyish and timid for Mena. Guy's got guts asking out an Amazon, I'll give him that. But what about Ted Grant? Isn't he practically foaming at the mouth over her?"

My mother's gaze swept over me, considering. "Mmm. I think she's just trying to give it a shot, explore something new. It's good for her. She's been cooped up in the house for too long. But enough about her - tonight is your night, and as my one and only daughter is getting Barb is right, honey. You do need some kind of dress. I don't suppose you could whip something up with your Olympian magic, could you?"

"I didn't even think about it," I admitted, shrugging. Frankly, I could've cared less what I got married in, or where - at this point, I was just insanely ready to be married. In this case, I wasn't terribly inclined to use any kind of Olympian magic. I wanted this wedding to be a reflection of the bond that Bruce and I shared: open, honest, and unashamedly raw. Nothing held back, all cards on the table. We had started out as two children on the fields overlooking Gotham. I wanted our wedding to be the same.

"I'd rather not," I admitted, and felt Bruce squeeze my hand once again. He knew my train of thought regarding magic, and I know he appreciated my view on it. "But I'm sure I have something upstairs, though, that could work."

Bruce leaned in, murmured in my ear, "That white dress you wore for that party we had here a while back. You remember it?" I nodded, bemused, and he leaned in again, muttering, "Wear it, for me. So I can tear it off you before the night is over."

I turned bright red, speechless, and covered my surprise with a cough. Bruce cast me a sneaky sideways glance, his eyes glittering with a breathtaking hunger. The corner of his mouth turned up in a wicked grin, and I felt a sudden urge to fan myself or run out into the cool early summer air.

"That white dress, Alkyone," Bruce said to her. "You remember the one - the auction night?"

My mother grinned. "Indeed I do. But I think that you might be remembering it a little better than I would. Memory serves me correctly, Alfred had to wipe up puddles of drool from you and every other man there that night."

Alfred nodded solemnly. "There was quite a bit of drool-mopping that night, Master Wayne."

Bruce rolled his eyes. Laughing at his chuckle and my beet-red face, my mother patted my shoulder and swept past me, a bouncing Cass and a chattering Barbara following her close behind. Dick seemed rather lost, still chewing on his taco blankly. Hiding a smile, I released Bruce's hand and made my way over to him, pressing a long, firm kiss into his hair.

"What's up, hon? You look a little dazed." I slid into the circular window seat next to him, resting my chin on one hand.

"I just - I really wish I were still out there with you guys," he muttered, picking at his food. "I'll be careful, I promise."

Bruce and I exchanged glances over the top of his head.

"We'll talk about it later, okay, hon?" I hugged him tightly. "We're just trying to make sure you and your sister are safe."

"But -"

"Later," Bruce cut in. At Dick's crestfallen face, his featured softened. "I promise. We'll talk. Just not tonight, all right?"

Dick nodded, disappointed - but he seemed to understand. "Okay. Wait, I don't have to be the ringbearer or anything tonight, do I?" His face scrunched up in dreadful anticipation.

I laughed, ruffling his hair. "Nothing so terrible, I promise."

"Speaking of... I'll be right back." Bruce gave me a knowing smile and slipped out of the kitchen. My mother sailed back into the room just after him, holding up my daring white dress.

"This is it!" she sang. "Oh, you'll look so beautiful, Diana."

I smiled and reached out to touch it; but an odd rush sent a rapid shiver down the back of my neck; my head tingled in a way, a signal of something that I hadn't felt since…

"Diana? What is it?" Mom set the dress down on the back of a chair, regarding me with a wary expression. Whether she was wary of the unknown or of my reaction, I wasn't sure.

I shook my head, lips pursed. "I'm not sure. There's something… I just feel like there's something…" Feeling nearly in a trance, I strode to the kitchen door and hesitate, fingers locking around the doorknob. My heart began to beat rapidly in my chest. The sensation disappeared, and I shook my head, scoffing. I was becoming nearly as paranoid as Bruce, and that was a mighty feat.

A knock hummed at the kitchen door, and I turned, nearly frightening myself with my own gods-induced delusions. Fighting back a rueful grin, I opened the door, ready to welcome the likely Helena wandering in, or Jim maybe having gotten off his shift early -

I halted, the smile disappearing instantly, as my entire being screamed to move, to fight, to slaughter -

A tall, hooded stranger stood on the walkway gravel, dripping with rain. He lifted his head, revealing long straggly white hair falling down his faded hoodie - and a pair of all-too familiar white-Ares eyes.

No. It couldn't be.

"Hello," said the god of war-doppleganger, waving weakly. "Are you Diana?" And before I could magic my sword to slice his head off, before I could scream to Bruce and my mother to form the guards' formation, before I could see the Ares-white of his eyes reflected in my own-

Staggering forward, he collapsed to the ground in a heap.


Mena cracked her neck to the side and stretched on her tiptoes as she swept the last of the dust into the pan. It had been a long day of supervising, teaching, and finally going toe-to-toe with one of Ted himself at the end of the day - more of a release of stress than anything. It'd become their weekly routine to fight against each other - a routine she enjoyed more than she cared to admit.

Placing the broom in the closet, she dug a brush out of her purse and combed out the tangles of her thick black curls. Ted shuffled out of his office, papers rustling. He paused, hesitating several feet away. She knew he was watching her.

"Off to see that kid?" Ted demanded gruffly.

She was loathe to admit that she enjoyed his jealousy, as trite as it was. She tamped down on that secret pleasure, knowing that it wasn't fair to either of them. As much as she fought with herself on even going out with Nick, she enjoyed his presence. He was young, gallant, sweetly awkward, but joyful, fun. He had an endearingly naive view of the world, but she appreciated his dreams. He wanted to open an orphanage - a safe orphanage - in the heart of Gotham near the Narrows where most children were either on the streets or abused in the current system.

He had heart, and she couldn't deny that after many lifetimes of wallowing away in a prison for a Queen whose heart was colder than that of the god of death, she soaked up Nick's presence like a flower would to that first drop of rain.

She smiled, her head tilted towards the older boxer. "No, just to see a friend." She slipped the comb back into her bag and pulled her hair up into a loose ponytail.

"Hmph." She heard him pull on his leather jacket.

"You're leaving?"

"Yeah. I, uh, have a fight in an hour." He muttered the last bit, as if she couldn't hear him.

Mena turned to him, frowning. "I thought you were retired."

"Yeah. It's nothing, Bright Eyes. Just picking up a few extra bucks. Economy's not great these days, y'know?"

Concern flooded through her; she stepped up to him and touched his shoulder; felt him stiffen and freeze. He sucked in a sharp breath, releasing it shortly.

"Just… be careful," she said cautiously. "Please. I couldn't bear to see you hurt."

He let out a bark of self-deprecating laughter. "Afraid that's part of the job. Occupational hazard, right?"

"Don't make light of this," she said quietly, her hand gripping his shoulder more firmly. "Please. I… I care about you a great deal, Theo. I'm quite used to patching up the wounds of my sisters, but..."

"Human?" His voice carried an edge. "Weak, you mean?"

She sighed, licking her dry lips. More than ever she wished she could see his face. She didn't bemoan her current condition; if anything, she was merely thankful that she was not only alive, but free and able to be out in the world - still surrounded by her sisters. However, she was also almost afraid to admit to herself that her prayers had not gone to Artemis or Athena ever since she had arrived; instead… to Hera. The goddess of marriage.

"I was going to say reckless," she chided, holding back her disappointment at his attitude, however expected it might be. "I know you, Ted. I know you've been fighting more than you've been admitting, and I know that it's not because of money. You want the fight. You miss it."

A pause. "And what if I do?" he demanded. "You gonna tell me that you, an Amazon, don't enjoy the fight?"

"I did. Once," she admitted. "Now, I may continue to train, but I've lost my spirit for battle as I once had. I'll leave that to Diana and Artemis. Speaking of, I'll be late. And Artemis despites tardiness," she added, a dry note in her voice. "Especially when it comes to coffee." She started to remove her hand from his shoulder, nearly forgetting its placement there.

Ted reached out abruptly, covering her hand with his large, callused palm. He held it there for a moment on his shoulder. Her breath hitched as she wondered at the sudden burst of heat rising from within. She heard his lips part, as though he were about to say something, to stop her, to - do something.

Then, he removed it just as quickly. "I gotta go, too. You head on out. I'll lock up after you." Another brief pause, and he strode past her, leaving his musky scent lingering in the air behind him.

Philomena set her jaw, released a long, slow breath of air, and turned to gather her things. "Good luck, Theo," she said just before shutting the front door behind her. She didn't wait for his reply. She buried her hands in her pockets and started out into the long night, surprised at how cool it was. The summer was starting to drag on - and not that she minded. She was used to tropical temperatures. But the humidity just sat in between the rising skyscrapers, settling into the smog and the fumes of the city. It was rather unpleasant, but manageable.

She inhaled deeply, letting her eyes slide shut around the chaos of late-night Gotham. The city truly came alive at night - in both positive and negative ways. But she enjoyed the noise; she sometimes wondered if she would go mad just sitting in her cell on Themyscira, in the quiet, with only the wind and the sound of the sea.

Horns blared, people shouted, dogs barked, sirens wailed - and she loved every bit of it.

A hulking figure shuffled out of the alleyway she was passing by - she heard the click of a gun, followed by: "You better stop right there, sweetheart."

She didn't blink. Ducking, she knocked the gun out of the thug's hands, launched herself forward, and grabbed his arm, twisting it in one neat motion behind him. He screamed, falling to the ground, and whimpered.

"Don't do that again," she said calmly. "Understand?"

He whimpered. "You crazy-"

She twisted harder, and he yelped.

"All right, all right! Son of a bitch!"

Mena released him, satisfied, and patted him on the shoulder. "Keep that in mind the next time you attempt to assault another poor young woman. If I run into you again, I will break your fingers. Are we clear?"

"Clear," mumbled the man. "I'm sorry."

"Good. Have a good night, then." She continued on her way, entirely unbothered, and had no further incidents to her destination. She reached the MCU precinct just after midnight, and was unsurprised to set the station busier than ever. She made her way up the steps and stopped at the front desk. "Excuse me," she said to the front desk assistant, "I'm here to see a friend of mine."

"Name?" the woman demanded sharply.

She nearly said "Artemis," then remembered the Amazon's new name. "Sarah Essen," she said. "Detective Essen."

"Wait there," the woman snapped.

Mena nodded, unruffled.

"Mena!" She heard Nick's voice call out to her; she found herself puzzled at her simultaneously excited - and disappointed reaction. Shaking herself out of her mental stupor, she smiled, tilting her head towards the young lieutenant.

"Lieutenant Lawrence," she said warmly.

"Let her through!" he ordered to the lady at the front desk. "Come on in, Mena. What are you doing here?" he asked as she followed him into the station, eagerly surprised. "Aw, you got me coffee? You're the best."

She hesitated, awkwardness pouring over her. "I… actually, I -" She hadn't expected him to be here, in all honesty. She would've thought he would be out on patrol.

"Mena?" Artemis's unmistakably commanding voice approached her from the sight. "Oh, thank the g- thank you," the red-headed warrior hastily corrected herself. Mena felt the coffee cup being swiped from her hands.

Nick hesitated. "I, uh, think that was for me, Detective."

"I think not," snapped Artemis.

"Actually, Nick - I'm afraid she's right," Mena said, embarrassed. "If I'd known you would be in, I would've gotten a cup for you. I apologize."

Nick coughed. "Oh, right. Uh, sorry. I didn't mean to-"

"I'm sure you didn't," said Artemis archly. "Thanks for this, Mena."

Amidst the busy precinct, Jim Gordon passed by. "Essen - here are those reports. Lawrence, make sure to stop by the - Oh, Mena. Good to see you."

"You as well, Commissioner," Mena said warmly, nodding in his direction. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, turning back towards the young Lieutenant who still stood there awkwardly. "Nick, I -"

Her phone buzzed; Artemis's phone dinged at the same time. Before Mina could raise the phone to her ear to listen to the text, Artemis cursed loudly and barked in Themysciran, "Home, now!"

Mena sprinted into action, bolting towards the exit right behind her sister.

"What - what is it?" Nick called after them. "Mena!"

"Don't, son," she heard Jim say gravely. "Don't."

Any thought of Nick flew right out the window as Artemis said in Themysciran, "It's Ares, Mena. Ares has returned."

A cold trickle shot down Mena's spine as she jumped in the car beside Artemis. "How. How is that possible?"

"I don't know." They sped out of the precinct and raced towards home, terrified - and yet ready - for whatever awaited them.

Author's note: Don't kill me... Please...

Pretty please.

Love you all! Please stay safe and well!

Until the next update...