Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story is told from three different perspectives: Zola's, Hera's and Lennox's. Ever wondered what "Diana's Gallery" really think of Diana and their relationship with her and each other? If so, this is that story. This is also a sequel, of sorts, to "Leaps and Bounds." It takes place concurrently and will give the reader a different glimpse into WW and SM. Although this fic is a stand-alone read, the chapters are deliberately aligned with the chapters from "Leaps and Bounds." To get a fuller picture, you may want to read or re-read chapter one from "Leaps and Bounds" before reading this one. But don't feel that it's necessary.
A View From Diana's Gallery
Chapter 1: Zola
Zola sat on her bed, legs crossed, remote control in hand and scrolling the seemingly endless array of Cable stations. Surely, with over two hundred-or maybe three hundred—channels, she could find something worth watching, something that could take her mind off—even for a little while—all that she had lost, all she had never had. With a heavy sigh and a heavier heart, Zola settled for Syfy.
The science fiction channel was a good, albeit perhaps odd choice selection for Zola. She liked the show Being Human. It starred two sexy guys she could watch for hours. The fact that one was a werewolf and the other a vampire held the greatest appeal for her. Beats crazed and vengeful gods and goddesses. So, yeah, maybe Zola should've selected something like the Food Network or Comedy Central. Because all you do all day is eat and your life is one big, pathetic joke, right?
But Being Human resonated with Zola in a weird kind of way. Neither the vampire nor the werewolf, or the female ghost, rounding out a unique trio of friends, wants to be in the state they find themselves. They are no longer human, but they haven't quite lost their humanity. They attempt to hold onto their humanity at every turn but are often thwarted by others as well as their own desires and weaknesses. And happiness, no matter how hard they work for it, no matter how desperately they seek it out, remains just out of reach, a tempting pirate's treasure that prove more fiction than fact. Like the idea that I will ever see my baby again.
Wonder Woman had promised and Zola, on most days, believed it was possible. And she never lies. No, Wonder Woman never lied, but she also wasn't all-powerful or invincible. She'd taken a bullet from Hades and nearly ended up as his bride. All because she was trying to protect me. All because she'd given her word to protect my baby.
Zola turned off the television and stared out her window. London was a far cry from her tiny shack of a cabin. Nearly a year had passed since her life had turned completely upside down. Until then, she'd known nothing of Olympus and the gods who called it home other than what she'd read in some book in school years ago. And, admittedly, Zola had never been the best of students. Sure, she managed a high school diploma, which was more than she could say for many where she'd come from. Yet beyond her little podunk town, a high school diploma didn't mean much or take you far.
The street outside Diana's home was bustling with people – walking to and from only god knew where, oblivious to the much more complicated world in which they lived. Metahumans – good and bad – were a matter of public knowledge. Superheroes like Wonder Woman and the Justice League were needed if not always accepted and appreciated. Zola wondered how those walking by would feel if they knew Wonder Woman lived among them, was so close they could ring her doorbell and she would answer with a welcoming smile on her face.
Zola plopped back onto her bed, eyes going to the bland, white ceiling. She didn't know how Diana managed those sincere smiles of hers or maintained hope in the face of peril and sometimes-even defeat. But she did. And Zola admired the hell out of her for it.
She'd already respected Wonder Woman, long before Hermes had transported her – wearing only panties and shirt – to the foot of Diana's bed. Surprising a sleeping Wonder Woman had nearly caused Zola's death, the heroine startled out of her sleep and going on the offensive, lifting Zola into the air by her throat. And in that timeless moment, Zola knew true fear. In Wonder Woman's eyes was a power that frightened not because of her sheer strength but because of the amount of control behind it. Controlled power.
Over the next few months, Zola had stared into the eyes of many a god, and none of them had looked back at her with the same kind of control that Diana had in the first waking moment of their meeting. None of them even tried to control their power. No, they only want more power. Sick, greedy bastards. Yet Diana only sought peace, only wanted to return to Zola that which had been wrongly taken from her. So she battles and gets hurt because of me. Her life is in constant danger because of me. I should just leave. If I left, I would take all my troubles with me. Diana would have her peace.
Even when she thought it, Zola knew the lie for what it was. If she left, Diana would know no peace. She would search for Zola, like she was searching for Zola's baby. And if she found Zola dead or hurt, Diana would blame herself. And what would happen to her self-control? Because it may have been Wonder Woman who'd initially taken up arms in Zola's defense, but it had been Diana who'd opened her home to a stranger, Diana who clothed, fed, and befriended a girl who'd only ever had herself to rely on, Diana who chased away Zola's nightmares with stories of her mother, sisters and Themyscira.
No, Zola would remain put. For as much as Diana protected her, Zola felt – in a small way – by staying, she protected Diana in return because Diana was more dangerous than the lot of her crazed Olympus family. Unlike them, she risked losing a battle because she refused to unleash all that she was, all that she could be. Like the vampire, werewolf, and ghost from Being Human, in the midst of their difference, of their ability to bring death and destruction to all around them, they never forgot what it meant to be human, even when others viewed their kind as anything but. Diana is human, but she's also so much more. And it's the more that made her Wonder Woman but it's also what made her an unparalleled force of demigoddess nature. Not one to be trifled with. Not one to be underestimated.
A soft knock sounded at Zola's door. She sat up in bed. "Come in Diana."
The door opened and Diana slipped inside and closed the door behind her. "How did you know it was me?"
She was dressed in her Wonder Woman uniform, which meant she was going out on business. Justice League business probably. And she was, of course, smiling at Zola. Zola returned the smile, unwilling to infect Diana with her depression and longing for what will likely never be. She didn't deserve that, didn't deserve any of this. But she'd accepted the burden; although Zola knew Diana didn't view her as one, and would never use that word to describe their relationship. No, Zola knew Diana thought of her as a friend. A very short friend – and who wasn't compared to the Amazon princess? - but a friend all the same.
"When Lennox knocks it's more like a bang alerting the household to a fire and" – Zola shrugged – "Queen Dethroned never knocks. She just enters as if she owns the place."
"Queen Dethroned?" Diana gave a short laugh. "I guess that's an improvement over Queen Bitch or The Woman Formerly Known as Queen Hera."
Diana shook her head, her black, shiny hair as perfect as ever. Diana was everything Zola was not, which should've made her hate the statuesque beauty. But she didn't. Diana was just too good of a person for Zola to hate simply because Zola was unsatisfied with whom she was and the life choices she'd made. Like one night stands and not using protection. Diana would never do that. She has far too much respect for herself. But Zola was capable of growth, of learning from her mistakes. And if I'm ever lucky enough to get my baby back, I'll be the kind of parent I never had, the kind of mother a child would be proud of and could respect.
"Just don't call Hera that to her face. I really don't want to break up another girl fight, and Lennox is already annoyed with me for leaving him alone with the two of you so often."
"Aww, so the man of stone doesn't like being left on babysitting duty? What a shocker."
"Yeah, well, it's no one's ideal situation. But, for now, it will have to do." There was a subtle shift in Diana's voice. A threat and a promise rolled into one, not directed at Zola, Lennox, or even Hera, but at all those who stand in Diana's path of achieving that "ideal situation."
"Going out to kick some villain ass," Zola joked, but the look on Diana's face said she'd taken Zola's words to heart.
"I'm more than that," she said, more to herself than to Zola.
"I didn't mean—"
"I have monitor duty, which means I won't be back until late tonight. I just thought you should know."
Of course she did, because no matter how much stone Lennox was made from or how hard he would fight to protect her, Zola was ultimately Diana's responsibility. At least that's how the Amazon warrior saw it. And while Zola would like to think their relationship had developed into a mutual friendship, in the end it boiled down to Diana kicking ass on Zola's behalf, one Olympus villain at a time.
"You're not like your family, Diana. That's not what I meant." She couldn't let her leave like this, couldn't allow her to think Zola saw her as a convenient set of fists and nothing more.
"I know I'm not. But sometimes . . ."
"You're not like them. You're so much better. Don't ever forget that." Zola hopped from the bed and got right in Diana's space. "Or I'll be the one kicking your ass."
With a hint of a smile, Diana looked down at Zola. "You're kind of small, my friend, but Batman says we should never underestimate our enemy. That it's often the innocent looking ones who pose the greatest danger." Diana stepped closer to Zola. "Are you threatening an Amazon, Zola?"
Lifting her chin, Zola met Diana's stare with her own unflinching gaze. "You bet your sparkling Wonder panties I am."
Diana's mouth fell open, and then she burst into laughter.
So did Zola.
They didn't laugh nearly enough and Diana had such a great sense of humor.
"Maybe I should bring you with me, Batman is recruiting."
Zola pretended to consider that. "What would be my superpower . . . ohh . . . ohh or my code name? All the best heroes have a cool code name."
"Like Wonder Woman?" Diana asked, self-mockingly.
"Well, yeah, I always wanted to ask you about your moniker."
"It's a long story."
"No, not really, just a stupid one I don't have time to share."
She walked towards the door.
"We'll talk in the morning. You have my cell; call if you need me. Try not to stay up late."
"Yes, Mom. Just go. I promise not to play with matches while you're gone and burn down the house."
Diana smirked then opened the door. "Smart ass."
Zola thought about that one then conceded with a shrug and a, "True."
Diana glanced back at Zola one last time before leaving, closing the door behind her saying, "Be safe."
Zola got back into bed and switched the television on, feeling better. Diana may have had tons of sisters, but Zola had none. And, in spite of the way they came to be together, Zola and Diana were indeed friends, perhaps even sisters of a sort.
Hours later, Zola awoke to a low beeping sound. She opened her eyes and tried to focus on the monitors on the far wall. Dragging herself from the twin bed, Zola moved closer to the four screens. With a purposeful stride, Diana walked across the front lawn and towards the house.
Zola turned away from the monitors, already knowing that in a few more feet, Diana would move in a blaze of red, white, and blue and be inside. She'd tripped the silent alarm on purpose. The way she did every time she stayed out late.
Zola lay back on the bed and considered returning to her own room. The panic room Diana's friend Batman had installed when Zola had come to live with Diana was comfortable but small. The Gotham vigilante had also installed their security system, the one Diana regularly tripped, her way of letting Zola know she was home and she could come out.
This was their secret – a mutual decision to not tell Lennox or Hera. Hera would not care but she would more than likely want her own panic room but Lennox . . . well, Lennox would be offended, probably even a little hurt. As much as Zola trusted and depended on Lennox, she wasn't entirely certain he could protect her when the big bads came calling. Not that she was certain the panic room would protect her either, but she felt safer in it than out when Diana was away at night.
But Zola was far too tired to drag herself back to her room, concluding that she could sleep here the rest of the night and be up and back into her room before Lennox or Hera awoke. Pulling the covers up to her shoulders, Zola fell into a deep sleep only to be startled awake an hour later when the alarm was tripped again.
Running a hand through short, blonde locks, Zola jumped from the bed. Scanning the monitors with wide-awake eyes and a heart pounding a fearful beat, Zola searched for the intruder. A minute later, she was relieved to see Wonder Woman already on the case. Sword in hand, Wonder Woman slowly approached from the rear, the intruder hiding behind a tree and staring at the house.
Zola watched as the intruder turned to face Wonder Woman . . . and began to talk. And she was listening, dropping her sword from where she'd held it to his throat. Even stranger, both Diana and the intruder turned and began making their way towards the house. The man was tall, taller than even Wonder Woman. And he wore a trench coat. But the coat was open, and as he got closer to the house and the floodlights shone down on him, Zola was struck dumb. Superman. Get the hell out. Superman is on my back lawn. Correction, Superman is coming into my house. What the hell?"
Zola's eyes flew from one monitor to the next, trying to get a glimpse of the red capped hero. But it was no use. There were no security cameras inside the house. What should I do? Better question, what is Superman doing here so late? And why did Diana let him in the house?"
Zola returned to the bed and sat, back against the headboard. If it had been anyone other than Diana, Zola would've thought Superman was here for a booty call. But it was Diana, and Diana didn't do booty calls. But it is late at night and Diana never has men over. As far as Zola knew, Diana wasn't even dating anyone. When she wasn't working with the League or searching for Zola's baby, she was at home.
Now that Zola thought about it, that wasn't exactly true. Over the last few months, there had been times when Diana had gotten a call and taken off - no explanation - and returned late. Not that she was required to give them an explanation, but Diana was normally so open about her comings and goings, particularly with Zola. But not always. Could it be? Could Wonder Woman and Superman . . .?
It wasn't such an odd idea. They were both freakishly tall and powerful. Both fought on the side of good and had obviously gotten into the good looks line more than once before they were born. They both flew, which, even for Zola, was a stupid reason to hook up with someone. But they had to have tons in common. Yeah, Zola could so see how they could fall for each other. She could also see why they would want to keep it a secret. Well, far be it for Zola to open her mouth and let Diana's game out. Nor would she dare venture from her hiding hole until the Man of Steel left. From what she understood of his powers, the man had super hearing.
Then a burst of giggles came from her before she had a chance to slap a hand over her mouth. Man of Steel. She bet Diana was getting his man of steel right now. Like the panic room, Diana's bedroom was sound proof. Maybe not for someone like Superman, but to the normal ears of Zola, Lennox, and Hera, they never knew what was going on in Diana's room, not even when she worked herself into a sweat exercising. Now, Zola thought with a wicked smile of envy, Diana was probably working up a different kind of sweat.
You go, girl. Wonder Woman indeed.
Chapter 2: Hera