Brave New World
Disclaimers in Part 1
Six Months Later
The world was still in transition; there was turmoil and confusion as things were sorted out, but no more wars were being fought. There had been skirmishes but nothing terribly devastating and not too many of them, all things considered. It had been completely anti-climactic really, given the number of years the Nazis had been in power. But the truth was they had gotten slack and lazy – comfortable with the status quo; and with Orana's destruction, they had no real leader to stir them to fight.
Word had spread of Chase's death though Shep and Hans were both alerted to the truth. Chase felt they both deserved to know. And the rumors served their purpose – no one else came after them, and the Nazi organization had continued to deteriorate to the point that even word of her death was not sufficient to rally them to victory.
So time marched on and changes gradually began to take shape in the world. It wasn't perfect – human beings were involved in its creation. But it was a fresh start for mankind and most of humanity welcomed the opportunity for a second chance. Using the guidelines Chase had given them, they were forging a brave new world together.
Chase and Diana watched mankind's progress from the relative safety of the farm. Despite its relative closeness to the rebel encampment, only Ty, Shep and Hans had ever been aware of its location. Chase had been very closed-mouthed about her life outside the rebellion and that worked in their favor now. Even the townspeople weren't actually sure who she was anymore, and given the influx of new people as things began to settle into a new routine, she doubted they would figure it out before it came time for her and Diana to leave the United States permanently and move back to live on Paradise Island.
In the meantime, Diana and Chase were content to live and work the farm until Diana's responsibilities as both Wonder Woman and the Amazon princess meant she had to be away from it more often than she wanted. Then Chase went with Diana on her trips to Paradise Island, trying to understand life as an immortal Amazon before she actually had to live as one. Diana refused to stay overnight on any of their trips, however; she was aware of the censure and scrutiny they were already under and had no desire to add to it even if was only driven by curiosity.
Drea decided to investigate their hesitation to remain on the island until their wedding and invited herself back to the farm on the trip home to pick up more Amazons. Drea had been in the first group to return to Paradise Island and except for her very brief sojourn back at Aphrodite's request, she hadn't shown an inclination to leave until now. It was odd, especially with the number of births on the horizon and though Diana and Chase exchanged questioning glances when Drea joined them without explanation, they simply made room in the plane.
The invisible jet was kept in the back meadow away from prying eyes and they walked the short distance back home. Chase and Diana had always used it as transition time between their two worlds, and Drea appreciated the time to reacclimatize herself to being in man's world again. Drea blinked when they arrived back at the farmhouse. It was very different than what she remembered – it was alive. They were creating a home here together. It disturbed her.
Drea followed them inside, taking in the freshness of the rooms and the furnishings noting the number of changes and the amount of work Chase and Diana had done in the months they had been living here. Drea followed Diana upstairs; she couldn't help the smile that crossed her face when she was shown into what was now the guest room. In spite of her misgivings, Diana and Chase were well-suited to one another and had created a comfortable living space and they were so obviously happy.
Once she was settled, Drea went back downstairs to find them working together in the kitchen and for a long time, she just stood in the doorway watching them. Finally she decided to take the bull by the horns and just talk to them about what was bothering her.
" You two are obviously very comfortable here. You've done a lot of work transforming this place."
Diana and Chase looked at each other and exchanged smiles. Diana continued chopping and Chase went back to pulling out ingredients. " We are, Drea, thanks."
" Can I ask why?"
Chase turned from the refrigerator and came to stand next to Diana before cocking her head in question at Drea. " Why what?"
Drea took a deep breath. " Why are you working so hard to transform this place? Why are you creating a home here?"
Chase and Diana looked at each other again. " Huh? Drea, we live here. This is our home."
" Paradise Island is your home."
" It will be one day, Drea, but for now, this is our home."
" Because we like it here?? What kind of question is that anyway? Drea," Diana said with exasperation, " what difference does it make when we return to Paradise Island? Except for the new babies and the new war training program I put into place, everything on Paradise Island is status quo... just like it has been for thousands of years."
" Diana, the difference is that this can't be your home... not for the rest of your lives together."
" Right – so what's the rush?"
Drea covered her face with her hands and took a deep breath. She didn't think they were being deliberately obtuse; she just was not being clear enough. She dropped her hands to catch one of theirs in each of hers and held on.
" The world is in a state of transition and Chase has chosen not to be a part of that. I absolutely understand why and I can't say I disagree with her reasoning. BUT, you decided to 'kill' her; the world thinks she's dead."
" Yeah, so? We didn't want regular visits from rogue Nazis. I've done enough killing in this lifetime," Chase said quietly with a glance at the closet that held Diana's sword. They had put it away after Chase had used it during the rogue Nazi attack, hoping not to need it again.
" And that is somewhat my point, Chase. No matter what precautions you take, someone can stumble onto the truth – find out who you really are and where you live. Why take the chance?"
" And what about Wonder Woman and her place in the world?"
" Wonder Woman doesn't have a place in this world yet. It is still being born... still growing and developing and changing. We need to give mankind a chance to do things the right way on their own. If that wasn't the plan to start with, Chase, you would have done better by them to have simply remained in charge. They would have followed you."
She sighed then went on. " Paula has been working on the monitoring system on the island and we will be able to keep a better eye on things here now. But they can't start to rely on Wonder Woman to solve everything for them; they need to learn to stand together first." Drea looked up and smiled at Diana. " She'll be there if and when mankind really needs her." She released their hands and walked to the door. " Think about it," she added before walking out to the old oak tree to talk to her sister.
Chase and Diana turned back to preparing dinner, silently agreeing to talk about things once Drea returned to Paradise Island.
Jasmine waited for Drea to finish talking and take a seat beneath the oak before she spoke quietly. " You're going to need to be a little patient with Chase, Drea. Her life has been a series of upheavals and the only stability she has known has been here. It's scary to walk away from that."
Drea nodded. " I remember," thinking back millennia. " I'll see about getting Diana to take me home tomorrow. Thanks to Diana's machinations, I have more than enough to keep me busy these days and they need to be able to discuss and decide this without an audience... even a well meaning one."
Jasmine nodded her agreement. " They'll make the right decision, Drea... for them and for the Nation. It just may take longer than you like." A beat. " Does that bother you?"
Drea shook her head. " No, because I can see how happy they are together. That, more than anything else, is what I wanted to see happen for both of them. They are completely devoted to each other Jas, and they genuinely like each other, aside from being in love. That is why I want them to come home. They deserve to be somewhere safe where they can enjoy those feelings for now." She held up her hand. " But I will leave that decision up to them. They'll figure it out."
The two sisters laughed and sat in comfortable silence for a while; then conversation turned to other things as the sun dropped behind the trees. It was only then that Drea said goodnight to Jasmine and returned to the house where she was welcomed warmly by both younger women. No matter what, they knew her actions were done out of love and concern and she was glad she had taken the time to speak frankly to them. At least they knew the truth. Everything else was up to them.
Meanwhile, the Amazons had slowly been rotated back to America and from there, a few at a time, they had returned home to the peace and tranquility of Paradise Island. Not much had changed and yet everything was different for them. The battle lust they had conquered eons before returned with a vengeance and Diana spent hours creating war games to help ease the burning need they felt.
Many returned home wounded in one way or another, though none as severely as Nubia. Still, Drea, Rina and Paula worked in tandem to repair the damage that had been inflicted on the Nation inside and out. In Nubia's case, Paula spent an inordinate amount of time constructing the prosthetic arm Diana had designed, and Nubia had been the last few weeks adjusting to the new limb and learning how to use it.
The biggest surprise, to Hippolyta at least, had been the number of Amazons who were returning to Paradise Island expecting. They were in various stages of pregnancy – from those ready to give birth, to a few who did not know they were pregnant yet. These had been the optional orders Diana had issued. She had listened to what Orana had said and realized that the Nation was stagnant and continuing in the same vein would only increase dissatisfaction and could possibly create another Orana-type situation. Thus the issuing of the voluntary order to try and procreate while in man's world. Diana hadn't even been sure it would work, given their immortal status, but she figured planting the idea might give a few the desire to try.
Hippolyta didn't know the reasons behind the order, but she couldn't help but see the changes in the Nation because of it. There would be new challenges to face now, but there was new life and anticipation in the Nation as well.
Things between Hippolyta and Diana had not progressed as well or as far as the queen had hoped. One reason for that was the simple fact that real, true distance separated them. Hippolyta had remained in Europe, leaving only when the last group of Amazons departed, while Diana was all over – staying mostly on the farm with Chase, but also returning to Paradise Island regularly to supervise a number of changes. Even when Diana took Hippolyta back to Paradise Island, Diana had only stayed a few minutes before returning to America. It didn't help Hippolyta's peace of mind that Drea had returned with the remainder of the wounded in the first batch to return. It had reminded her, though, why she had been so happy to leave man's world when she had been given the chance the first time.
Her welcome home had been somewhat subdued upon her return to Paradise Island and Hippolyta wondered if she was seeing a changing of the guard. Not that she thought that Diana was deliberately trying to usurp her authority, but Diana was an excellent leader and it showed in the excitement Hippolyta could feel as the Nation prepared to celebrate the marriage of their princess. Whatever happened, Hippolyta was glad to be back in Drea's arms and was looking forward to her daughter's wedding with mixed emotions. More than anything, she wished for Diana's happiness and hoped they would get the opportunity to heal the rift still between them.
First though, they had to get Chase and Diana home to Paradise Island and married.
" Do you think they will come home to stay, Drea?" Hippolyta asked when they were finally able to curl up together in bed very late on her first night back.
" They'll come home, Pol. It may be later instead of sooner, but they will come home to stay eventually... at least for a while. I just don't know when." She groaned as she stretched out muscles that had been cramped a better part of the day. " Personally, I think Diana wants to wait until all the babies are born and raised." Drea propped up her head up on an elbow and looked down into Hippolyta's face. " I think she did a good thing for the Nation, but I may have to kill her for it anyway. I am feeling every single one of my three thousand plus years right now and we've just started delivering the babies that are going to be born here in the next few months."
Hippolyta chuckled and sat up, pushing the healer onto her stomach. " You can't kill her, Drea," rubbing the stiff shoulders. " Chase wouldn't let you even if I would, and I wouldn't let you either. She's still our daughter. But I'll give you a backrub as often as you need one for as long as necessary."
Drea moaned as Hippolyta hit a particularly painful knot. " There may be a lot of those in the coming weeks."
Hippolyta leaned down and brushed a kiss across the back of Drea's neck, smiling as she watched goosebumps follow her touch. " I will look forward to it." She felt Drea shift to look at her and she met the brown eyes confidently. " For the first time in a long time, I feel good, Drea. I believe you're right about Diana and Chase ultimately settling here; I think Diana and I will eventually get to be friends again. And there is new life and new purpose in the Nation. I feel... renewed – like I could go out and conquer the world."
Drea shifted to her side and pulled Hippolyta down into her. She forgot her exhaustion as well as her aches and pains and pain when Hippolyta's hands started to conquer her body inch by tortuous inch. Hippolyta decided it had been a good homecoming after all, and they fell asleep curled around one another wearing contented smiles and a sheen of sweat. Even the babies were thoughtful enough to give them peace for a few hours sleep together before calling Drea away again.
" So what do you want to do, Diana?" They had just returned from their latest trip to Paradise Island, delivering the last of the returning Amazons – including Hippolyta – back home. This time, however, they hadn't stayed. They had literally dropped the women on the island and taken off immediately after; they hadn't even bothered to step off the plane. Chase figured, correctly, it had something to do with Hippolyta's return; she just didn't know what.
The flight home had been silent but not uncomfortable. They knew regardless of what got decided they would be together at the end of it. But this was something they had put off discussing in the weeks since Drea had brought it up and now it had come down to necessity. So Chase brought it up once they were in the kitchen preparing dinner together as they always did.
" I want to do what makes you happiest, Chase. I came to man's world to find you; if you want to stay here, I am happy to stay here too. If you want to go back to Paradise Island...." she shrugged. " I'm sure Drea is cursing my name now for all the work I caused her, but we would certainly be welcomed there. And there is so much there you never experienced."
" You want to go home... to Paradise Island, I mean."
Diana nodded and shrugged at the same time. " Part of me does," she replied honestly. " It's the only home I ever knew until we came here and I have work there. But Chase, I don't need that - I just need to be where you are. I love it here... with you."
" What about what Drea said?"
" You mean about Wonder Woman?" Chase nodded. " Well, she is right... mankind does need to learn to work together. The real question is do they need Wonder Woman to find a way to do that. Or if they would even accept my help in that regard." They both remembered the few instances Wonder Woman had tried to step in and help since Chase had walked away from leading, and in each instance she had been politely but firmly informed her services were unnecessary. She had done what she could without being seen but it was difficult. " I think," Diana continued after a few moments of silence, " I think Wonder Woman would have to keep trying. It's who I am."
Chase smiled. " I wouldn't have expected less from you, Diana. You've always been a champion for the greater good. The question, though, is do you *want* to? What do you – Diana Prince, Amazon Princess and Wonder Woman's alter ego – want to do?" Chase held up a finger when Diana drew breath to speak. " And no more circular answers, love. Say what you feel."
Diana was silent for long moments and the only sound was the hum of the kitchen appliances and the frying of their dinner. Finally, she looked up from the contemplation of her hands and met Chase's gaze squarely. " I'd like to go home, Chase. I want some peace for us... even if it is only for a little while. We can always come back if and when mankind ever needs us again. But for now I'd really like to focus on us."
Chase deliberately broke the stare, turning to the stove to shut off the flame beneath their food. Then she held out her hand to Diana and led her upstairs, taking her time showing Diana just what kind of focus she had to look forward to. And Diana happily reciprocated the attention. Only the rising of the sun made them decide that sleep might be in order if they expected to return to Paradise Island in the near future. There were still a few things they needed to work out in man's world before they were free and clear to leave.
Aphrodite sat at the scrying bowl holding her head in her hands moaning and rocking back and forth. Athena laid a gentle hand on her shoulder, not expecting the love goddess to jump so hard when she felt the touch. Dite glared at Athena who returned it with a look of compassion.
" Sorry, Dite. Are you all right? You look a little...."
Aphrodite closed her eyes. " I *am a little.... Those two are so gonna be the death of my radical self."
Athena squeezed her arm sympathetically and smiled, taking a seat next to Dite. " What did they do now?"
" Round and round and round. You'd think after three thousand years, they could totally figure it out. At least they finally got things settled for now, but talk about bogus vibes in the meantime. I need a drink."
Athena rose and held out a hand, helping Dite to her feet. " Come. We'll go find some good wine and relax for a bit. With those two, a bit is all we can spare. I've never seen trouble find anyone like it does those two, and now that they are finally back together...."
Dite laughed and wrapped an arm around Athena's waist, leaning against her as they walked down the hall. " No kidding. But at least we'll get a gnarly wedding outta this."
" Chase, are you sure?" Jasmine asked softly. She put an arm around Chase's shoulder and brushed a kiss across the top of her blonde head. Chase nodded.
" Yes, Mama. It's better this way for now. Maybe later we can come back here to live, but for now, she needs to be there, and I need to be with her. Besides, with me gone maybe you'll finally get to cross over... have a bit of peace for a change."
" Actually, Ty and I get to attend the wedding first. Then we will move on to the afterlife."
Chase blinked at her long-dead mother. " Can you do that?"
Jasmine nodded. " The goddesses promised me before you were born. And I finagled a place for Ty as well; she deserves it... and so do you." She paused a minute, running ghostly hands through Chase's hair. " Chase," Jasmine said quietly, " your father's ring and mine are in my jewelry box if you and Diana would like to use them. I just... I didn't know...."
Chase leaned over and brushed a kiss across Jasmine's ethereal cheek. " Thanks, Mama. I love you."
" I love you, too, bitta girl. Now go on... your bride is waiting," motioning to Diana who was standing at the far end of the path. " And you don't want to be late for your own wedding."
Chase rose from her spot beneath the oak tree and ran to greet Diana. Jasmine watched until they disappeared out of sight, then she turned to Ty who had been patiently waiting in the tree. " C'mon, Ty. Time to go." And they disappeared together as well.
There was one final bit of business Chase had to take care of before they left America for the last time. The things that had been important to her, including Jasmine's jewelry box, had been pack away for transport to Paradise Island. Now she simply had to sign the papers transferring ownership of the farm to Hans.
He had returned from the European theatre briefly when he'd heard of Chase's death and had stayed in discreet contact from that point. When he became aware of their decision to leave the United States, he had decided to go back and become a farmer. Chase had promised him he could learn, and she had given him a crash course in all the aspects of farming. Surprisingly, he found it to be a fulfilling and satisfying occupation, and though he didn't give up science, he turned his efforts towards making himself a better farmer with it.
All the furnishings were being left behind and Hans was quite comfortable. He even managed to convert his payment, which he insisted on making, into something other than dollars, just on the off chance that they might be able to come back and something other than dollars was the currency. They didn't know he was going to put the property into trust for them; he figured it would be a nice surprise.
The signing didn't take but a few minutes, and Hans pulled Chase into a hug. " I will miss you, my friend. You saved my life and though I will never be able to thank you for it, I will always remember it. If ever you return and I am not here, look in the oak; it will hold your answers." She looked at him askance and opened her mouth to speak, but Hans shook his head. " Just trust me for now, Chase." She nodded and kissed his cheek before stepping back from him to stand next to Diana.
Hans took their hands in his and they held one another's so they formed a complete circle. " Be good to one another, and love each other long and well. Never go to bed angry, and watch out for each other all your days together."
Then he kissed them both briefly and released their hands. Chase and Diana held his gaze for a moment longer before whispering goodbye, then they headed for the far meadow without looking back. The time had finally arrived for them to go home. It was time to begin the next chapter in their lives together.
" Pol... POL... HIPPOLYTA!!" Drea finally resorted to the full name and loud voice. " Will you calm down please? You're making me seasick." Hippolyta pouted in Drea's direction and dropped into a nearby chair. " Besides, I'm not sure why you are so nervous. Diana and Chase are coming home to be married and you know we're not going to see hide nor hair of them for a while after that."
Nubia chuckled. " Especially since we built that cottage for them on the far side of the island as a wedding gift." She flexed her arm. Diana and Paula had done right by her and except for occasional twinges and an uncanny accuracy to predict bad weather now, her new arm was almost better than the original. She smiled when Paula took her hand and rubbed her thumb across her knuckles.
" Not to mention their boat. The crew has been working non-stop refurbishing it for them to be able to crew it alone together."
" I know," Hippolyta agreed. " I just... this is my chance to start doing right by Diana again. I just don't want to mess it up."
Mala patted Hippolyta's leg. " You won't, my queen. But you need to relax or you're going to make yourself sick. You're putting them together in Diana's room tonight, yes?"
Hippolyta nodded. " I promised Chase I would not stand between them or force archaic rituals on them."
" Then babe, you need to take a serious chill pill. Things are totally rocking for them and we're just cruising along for the ride."
The Amazon council that had been casually sitting around Hippolyta's living room straightened when Dite spoke. They hadn't realized the goddesses were in the room, but before any of them could shift, Aphrodite waved them still and popped her own chaise lounge into being. The other goddesses found places to sit and the women spent a long moment studying one another.
" They will be here shortly," Artemis said, breaking the silence.
" Everything is in readiness," Hippolyta confirmed. " An engagement celebration tonight and then their wedding tomorrow. We just need them to get here so we can get things started."
At that moment the sound of shell trumpets rose up around them. Drea smiled and stood. " Come on, Pol. Let's go welcome our children home."
It had been a good day. The entire Nation had met Chase and Diana at the landing field and in short order Chase's things were unloaded and taken to Diana's quarters. Eventually they would have to go through their things and decide what would need to be moved to the cottage and what would remain at the palace. First, they would need to be told about the new accommodations the Nation had built for them. For now, though, the emphasis was on celebrating.
There was new life in the Nation, both literally and figuratively speaking and the Amazons were intent on commemorating the occasion, especially since the wedding was taking place on summer solstice. So they greeted their princess and her consort with a rousing cheer and unloaded the plane, then backed away so Hippolyta and Drea could welcome Diana and Chase home.
Diana hesitated and Chase placed a comforting hand on her back. The Amazons held their breath as she gave Hippolyta a brief hug... the first since their rift. Hippolyta let go as soon as Diana did, her eyes filled with tears, and she took Chase in a bone crushing hug.
" Thank you," she murmured, knowing exactly why Diana had embraced her. Chase just nodded and kissed her cheek as she pulled away.
" That was a good thing you did, Little One," Drea complimented when Diana hugged her. Diana didn't answer, but squeezed her again before stepping back and allowing chase to say hello.
" Welcome home, Chase," cupping her niece's face. " Thank you," Drea added softly, kissing her softly and then releasing her. The queen and her consort stepped back and the princess and her consort did the same, and the Amazons waited for the pronouncement. It wasn't long in coming.
" Amazons, welcome home your princess and her consort, Chase. It is time to celebrate their return to us and the joining of their lives together as one."
The roar that followed was deafening.
As the evening wore down, Diana led Chase to her quarters. " I know it's not a home, but I thought we could make it ours when we got back."
" Back? From where?"
Diana shrugged and looked away. " I thought we'd take the boat out... just the two of us... for a few days. There are a few islands we could visit around if you wanted or we can just sort of drift along alone."
" That sounds perfect," Chase said with conviction. " Anywhere alone with you is a good thing in my book. As for this," motioning to the rooms around her, " if it's ours, it will be a home."
Diana wrapped her arms around Chase and just held on. Chase could feel the shaking in Diana's body and returned the embrace fervently. After a timeless moment, Diana pulled back just enough to look in Chase's eyes. " Come on. We have one more night left together as single women, and I don't intend to waste a moment."
For the first time, Diana was thankful for the thick walls and stout doors the palace was constructed of. She didn't worry about them keeping anyone up, conveniently forgetting that the windows that allowed the moonlight to stream in also allowed the sound to scream out. Diana wouldn't have worried about it even if she had remembered; she was too happy to finally be complete and the Nation was overjoyed to be witness to that completion. It seemed as though sunlight had returned to them, dissipating the clouds that had hung over them since Orana's defection.
When the sun really did rise, it did so on an Amazon Nation that was smirking with the knowledge that Diana and Chase were perfectly suited to one another. Chase and Diana spent their first few minutes awake simply being together, then Chase turned in Diana's arms with a smirk of her own.
" You do realize the entire Amazon Nation now knows just exactly how much we love each other."
" Good," Diana stated emphatically. " No one will challenge our claim on one another."
" Could they?" Chase's eyebrows went up to her hairline. There was still so much she had to learn about Amazon traditions.
" They could try, but I don't think anyone will."
Chase thought about that and wrapped herself more firmly around Diana's body. " Good. I don't share and I don't play well with others who expect me to." Diana chuckled.
" Neither do I, love. Now c'mon. We need to get cleaned up and dressed. It's time to go get married." As if to underscore her words, a knock sounded on the outer door followed shortly by a knock on the bedroom door.
" Diana? Chase? Uh... I don't want to intrude, but um... well, it's time... if you would like to make it to the wedding on time you probably should get up so we can get you both prepared." Hippolyta swallowed. This was probably the most awkward thing she had ever had to do. She raised her hand to knock again, then jerked back when the door opened and Diana and Chase stood together in the doorway. Hippolyta smiled nervously. " Oh good... you're awake... up." She cleared her throat. " Diana, if you would come with me, Drea will be in momentarily to help Chase."
At precisely that moment, Drea came running around the corner a little out of breath. " My apologies for being late, my queen, princess," Drea said, bowing her head. " We just had another birth... a healthy baby girl. The goddesses must be watching over us." She blew the hair from her face, then turned to Hippolyta and waved her arms. " Don't you have somewhere else to be? Shoo!"
Diana snickered, Drea's attitude reminding her so much of her childhood growing up. Hippolyta gave Drea a mock glare and growled, " Wench!" Then she motioned Diana towards the door. " Diana," seeing her hesitation and her longing glances in Chase's direction. " You'll have plenty of time to spend with Chase once we get the two of you married. Drea, I'll send someone with your gown when they bring Chase's." She kissed Drea and started to follow Diana who hesitated at the doorway. Diana scowled.
" How come you got you kiss Drea goodbye, and I don't get to do the same with Chase?" Hippolyta smirked.
" Because we are on a tight schedule," she stated matter-of-factly. " And after last night the entire Nation is well-aware of just how long the two of you can go on together."
Twin blushes and knowing smiles were exchanged between Diana and Chase, then Diana growled in frustration and stomped out the door towards her mother's quarters. " May I ask why we need to be separated to prepare for this?" Diana asked as she entered Hippolyta's room. " We spent the night together and the world knows we weren't sleeping."
" It's just an opportunity... it's a last chance for us to talk before you start your new life with Chase." Hippolyta blew out a breath. That had been harder than she had expected.
" I have already started my life with Chase. Today is just an affirmation of that in front of the Nation."
Hippolyta nodded. " I know, and I know there is still a lot of bad blood between us, Diana. It's not just going to go away because I want it to; it's going to take a long time some serious effort from both of us. I just want you to know that I would like to try."
Diana carefully considered the sincerity of Hippolyta's words and actions of late and finally nodded her agreement, not trusting herself to speak. Hippolyta sighed weakly in relief and led Diana to the bathing room.
" Come. We don't have a lot of time, and you want to look perfect for Chase."
" I'm glad you decided to come home, Chase," Drea commented as she helped Chase prepare for the coming nuptials. " You seemed happier, more content."
Chase shrugged. " It makes Diana happy, so I am."
" Do you know what you'd like to do here... something that would make you happy? Research or gardening? Music, perhaps or healing?
" I thought maybe I could try writing," Chase said softly, not meeting Drea's eyes.
" I think that sounds like an excellent idea." A pause. " I know I have been on both sides with you, Chase, but I want you to know I am so glad you came into Diana's life. And I am proud to be your aunt, even if that is all new to us. Perhaps we could work on that; I'd like us to be friends."
" I thought we already were. I know why you were looking out for Diana, Drea, and I'm glad she had someone she trusted to do that for her. Maybe eventually, she and Hippolyta will work things out between them. I think they both need that."
Drea smiled. " You're a very wise woman, Annabelle Chaser."
" Of course she is," proclaimed a voice from the bathroom doorway. " She's my daughter." Two heads turned simultaneously, then they spoke together.
Though Chase had expected Jasmine's presence, she had expected simply her presence... a ghostly apparition – not the flesh and blood woman that stood before her. When she realized her mother was real, she jumped up and crossed the room, wrapping her arms around Jasmine's waist and burying her head in her mother's neck. Jasmine just held on and let her cry.
It didn't last but a moment, then Chase pulled away. " I'm sorry, Mama. I just didn't expect...." motioning to Jasmine's very real body. Jasmine smiled and embraced Chase again, kissing her forehead and absorbing the sensations she was experiencing one more time.
" Neither did I," Jasmine confirmed, " but I wasn't going to say no when the goddesses offered either."
" Can anyone get in on this hug?" Drea asked softly. Chase turned and opened an arm, and Jasmine looked behind her and jerked her head. Soon, Jasmine, Drea, Chase and Ty were hugging fiercely and murmuring love between them. Only when the clock struck the half hour did they separate.
" Come... we've got to get you ready, Annabelle. You don't want to meet Diana with tears on your face – even if they are happy." That got Jasmine the smile she had been looking for and Chase moved back to the mirror she and Drea had been sitting in front of preparing.
It didn't take long before Chase was girded in the traditional long toga. Drea leaned forward and kissed her cheek. " I'm going to go see how Diana and Hippolyta are doing."
" Thank you, Drea," Chase whispered. Drea and Jasmine exchanged another embrace, then Drea left the three of them alone. Ty stood and took Chase in her arms.
" I'm glad I was able to be here for this, Chase, and I'm really glad you found happiness. Talk to me now and then... let me know how things are going."
Chase nodded. " I will, Ty. I'm sorry...." But Ty covered her lips before she could finish.
" Don't be, Chase. It's all good. Aunt Jas and I have plans. Now let me get out there. We don't have a real long time before we have to be back. Hades was cool about it, but I don't think I wanna get on his bad side by being late." Ty leaned down and kissed Chase gently. " I love you, Chase. Be happy."
" I am, Ty," returning the kiss and giving Ty a genuine smile. Then it was just Jasmine and Chase.
" I'm proud of you, baby girl. You've done so much... seen so much... and still...."
" Thank you, Mama. I'm gonna miss you when you cross over."
" I'll still be close, Annabelle. As Ty said, talk to me. I'll be listening and if you ever really need me, I'll be right there." Jasmine opened her arms and Chase stepped into them. " It does my heart good to see you so happy. I'm proud to have been chosen to be your mother."
Chase didn't answer except to tighten her hold on Jasmine and they rocked in place until a knock on the door caused them to separate. " Chase?" Drea's voice. " Are you ready? It's time."
Chase took the ring off the chain she was wearing and slipped it onto her middle finger. Then she took Jasmine's hand and opened the door to find Hippolyta and Diana waiting behind Drea. Blue and green eyes locked and everything else faded away. Drea took Jasmine's hand in one of hers and Hippolyta's hand in the other and together the three of them headed out to the temple to wait for Diana's and Chase's arrival.
Chase reached out a trembling hand to touch Diana's face, and Diana intercepted it with an equally shaky one. Then she pulled them into contact along their length.
" So very beautiful. I love you," Diana whispered. " And I can't wait to be married to you."
" And I, you," Chase said with equal softness. " You look incredible." She took a deep breath. " Since I don't know how the ceremony is supposed to go – can I give you something here between us... will you wear something for me?"
" Anything," surprised when Chase captured her hand and slid a warm band onto her left ring finger. A glance down made her break into a smile. It was when Chase sealed the promise with a kiss that the tears flowed, but they were happy tears, so it was all good... until Ty cleared her throat.
" Um, would ya'll like to join the rest of us at the temple for the ceremony? 'Cause I know a whoooole lot of people who are gonna be pretty pissed if you leave them out of this wedding thing."
Chase and Diana chuckled, knowing Ty spoke the truth, and followed her to the temple to be married... finally.
Aphrodite presided over the ceremony with dignity and grace – a side of her personality she used sparingly but to good effect. The other five goddesses stood behind her in a semi-circle to bear witness to the joining and bless it. And the Nation watched as with a very few words and a kiss that melted steel, two halves of a whole were rejoined for eternity.
From his temple on Olympus, Ares watched - a snarl on his face and a growl rumbling in his chest – as the warrior once again surrendered to love and her soulmate, signaling his defeat once more. That never changes, he thought with disgust. Of course, he mused with evil intent, tomorrow is another day. Then he changed the channel on his scrying bowl; surely there were more interesting things to watch, especially in the newly forming alliances and governments of the new world order. There was plenty of chaos and mayhem he could stir up there and that thought made him smile wickedly and observe with a distinct sense of contentment. Nice to know that that hadn't changed either.
Meanwhile, Diana and Chase were dancing together, lost in their own little world and observed by the entire Nation. Hippolyta, Drea and Jasmine watched then exchanged knowing smiles as they walked off hand in hand without a backwards glance.
" Time for me to go as well," Jasmine announced. Ty had been taken as soon as the ceremony was completed, but Jasmine had been allowed a little extra time. " Take care of them," she instructed seriously. " They deserve to be happy."
" They already are, Jas; that's the best part. This is just the beginning for them. It only gets better. They have the rest of their lives to look forward to and share... together."
Drea raised her glass, even though Diana and Chase were no longer present. " To eternal happiness for Chase and Diana in their brave new world together."
The Amazons echoed the toast as the celebration continued. Chase and Diana smiled at one another as a cheer rose from the party even as they set sail towards the slowly setting sun.
" I could stay here like this you know," Chase said into the bare belly her head rested on. A bottle of chocolate body paint lay empty and discarded to one side of their little nest and a swipe of her tongue garnered her another taste from Diana's bellybutton. It also got her jiggled around when Diana laughed in ticklish reaction. Chase scowled in response then brightened as she spotted another bit of chocolate she'd missed and moved up Diana's torso to rectify the problem. A lick, a nip then she wrapped her lips firmly around the hardened nipple, causing Diana to arch and moan before locking strong fingers around the blonde head.
" You know," biting her lip when Chase's attentions shifted to the other breast, " Gods, Chase," when her fingers started trailing goosebumps up and down her body. " I think," she took a deep breath and caught Chase's wandering hand in her own and urging her head up until their eyes met. Then their lips met and they kissed until they were both breathless. " I think we need to move this inside to the bed," flipping them over and starting her own assault on Chase's body, allowing her hand to map the path her lips would soon follow. " We need more chocolate."
Chase smiled and pulled Diana back to her until their lips met again. The chocolate was forgotten for the moment, but they did eventually get back to it. They decided it was definitely the best medium for creating a true work of art. But then, they had an eternity together to work on it.
The year is 2044. The world is no longer ruled by Nazi tyranny. The Resistance has succeeded in its mission to give mankind another chance to be free. What they do with the opportunity will determine they way of the world for the generations to come, but now, Wonder Woman waits in the breach, ready to protect and defend the ideology of freedom when called upon to do so. And this time, she has the soul motivation necessary to win. Enemies of freedom don't stand a chance.
04/05 – 07/06