Fandom: Justice League
Category/Rated: Het, T
Year/Length: 2004/ ~1118 words
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.
Summary: Her mind did not revolve around herself at all hours of the day, and she strove to improve, to form herself back into the girl she had once been.
Author's Notes: Vague hinting at a Bruce/Diana one-sided relationship. I like Diana, people, her self image is just a little...different in this story.
Her name was Diana, after the goddess of the hunt and the moon, the daughter of Zeus. She called herself Wonder Woman, because the wristbands she wore gave her preternatural strength and the ability to fly. She was an Amazon, a warrior-woman, and stood taller than most men. People called her princess because of her attitude.
She wasn't sure of the exact time that she had become this self- righteous, self-absorbed, bitch that she had become. As a youth she'd rebelled against the stigma of 'princess', the rich snotty portrait of a girl who had too much and appreciated none of it, and at some point in her life she had become it.
Her friends, dare she call them that, respected her skills in a fight, but she knew they resented her help. And she even knew why. She wouldn't have wanted her own help, because it came with a price. How many times had she unthinkingly taunted Hawkgirl about being stronger, quicker, better? How many times had she been in the middle of a wonderful evening with Bruce, only to have an obnoxious comment slip out and have him turn away, eyes troubled?
Princess. And the worst part was that there was nothing she could say to deny it. It was truth. Ugly, horrible, truth.
But she was not as absolutely self-consumed as they thought. Her mind did not revolve around herself at all hours of the day, and she strove to improve, to form herself back into the girl she had once been. And as she did she began to notice, slowly at first, the problems tearing her friends apart.
She could still remember the first instance of enlightenment, come in the middle of an argument with Hawkgirl. She could visualize perfectly her own cold smile, Hawkgirl's tight jaw and clenched fists. Her own words echoed in her head, haunting her no matter how she tried to purge them. 'What's the matter, Shay, can't protect your men?'
Hawkgirl had turned away from her then, and not returned to Watchtower for nearly three days. It was the first argument Diana had truly won, but the victory was sour and bitter, and for a long time she could not understand why. And then, weeks later, in the midst of a fight she saw Lantern get batted out of the air and fall, incoherent to the ground. All of the League must have seen the river of energy heading towards him, but it was Shay who dropped out of the sky, tried to drag him out of its path, and when that was not possible shielded him with her body.
Diana could still remember Flash's raw scream, and could still see him struggling against Batman's hold. When the smoke had cleared Hawkgirl's hammer was lying on the ground, and she lay, collapsed, beside it. Diana could remember flying to the younger woman's side, kneeling uncertainly beside her, hands hovering over the burns on Shay's arms where the energy must have seeped from her hammer. And Shay's words, the first she had spoken to her since their fight, echoed in her ears.
'I would die, Princess.' And then Flash had been there, gathering Shay carefully into his arms.
That had been weeks ago, and since then Diana had found herself paying more and more attention to Lantern, Hawkgirl and Flash. Stuck-up bitch they called her, and they were right, but even she was aware that something was very wrong with the three of them.
John walked about looking lost, shadows haunting his green eyes. Some days his mood lightened only when he was around Shay, but then he was silent to her, distant. Sometimes, the two would be talking, joking, smiling, only to have a sudden cloud of silence fall over them. Diana assumed John was in love with Shay, and for a while couldn't imagine what the problem was.
And then she realized that the sudden cold silences between Shay and John coincided with Jay's presence.
Jay was his usual loud self, but the more Diana watched the more she noticed the sparks of anger in his eyes when he looked at John, and the sparks of something else when he looked at Shay. Flash and Lantern had always been argumentative, but it had been a friendly thing. Not anymore. In practice Diana watched John sweep Jay's legs out from under him, and bring a hammer to bear on the younger man's knees, being stopped moments before the strike would fall by an enraged Hawkgirl.
Jay had smirked coldly at John when Shay helped him stand, let his hand linger around her wrist till John took a step forward. Diana began to think that maybe Jay felt something for Shay, and the problem began to be clarified for her. But two men fell for the same woman often enough, it still shouldn't have been causing this much grief.
Diana turned her attention to the third variable.
Shay was combative, but she always had been. More and more she was reckless in fights, often charging ahead or taking on more enemies than it was wise to handle. More and more she pushed her friends buttons, something she was extraordinarily good at. Not three days ago Superman had lifted her by the neck, pinned her to the nearest wall, and drawn his fist back to strike her, his eyes flaming with fury.
It had taken the combined efforts of the entire team to talk him down, and the entire time Shay had said nothing, just smiled tiredly.
Yet, seemingly at odds with all her other behavior, Shay would lift Flash out of dangers path, shove John to safety. And so, finally, Diana began to think that maybe the problem wasn't just two men loving one woman, it was one woman loving two men.
Diana came to her final realization in the midst of a battle, watching Hawkgirl pound away at a creature ten times her size with a look of tired melancholy on her face. John was engaged with the same creature, striking it again and again, a look of fury on his face. And Jay ran around the room, drawing the fire of at least a dozen weapons.
And she realized, with startling clarity, that if living offers no solutions to a problem that's tearing you up, cracking the very foundation of your being, then there must be only one solution. And so Diana, cold, self-serving bitch that she most of the time was, realized before Superman did that three of her friends had a death wish.
Diana began to think that Shay's statement, so many weeks ago, of 'I would die,' was fully intended to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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