Brave New World
by D
Disclaimers in Part 1


Chapter XLI

When Orana stepped from the Reichstag onto the square, Diana noticed an immediate hitch in their plans. A hand on Chase's arm and a lift of Diana's chin were enough to alert Chase to the new danger. Diana wondered privately how her mother had known to anticipate this possibility, and thought back to their brief exchange just before Diana boarded the plane.

" Diana? Could I have a moment please?"

Diana was still brooding, fuming over the fact that she had to travel to Berlin without Chase. However, she was trying not to take that frustration out on anyone and that included Hippolyta. Despite the issues that still loomed largely between them, Hippolyta was truly making an attempt to reach out to her daughter, and Diana could appreciate the effort. In her secret heart of hearts, Diana wanted Hippolyta to try again, but she would never be caught admitting that in the light of day – not until they got some of those issues ironed out. Still, she wasn't going to discourage Hippolyta's efforts because of something neither of them had control over. So she took a deep breath and turned to face Hippolyta with a neutral expression on her face.

" What can I do for you?" she asked politely. " Surely you don't need party tips from me?" with just the slightest hint of a smile on her face. Diana hadn't been known as a partier even when she had been sociable. The trace of mischief in her eyes caused Hippolyta to chuckle.

" Um, no. I think I can handle that. No, this is much more serious," reaching for Diana's arm, not letting her touch fall short, not sure if Diana would welcome it. Instead, she pulled a blade from her side sheath and extended it to Diana.

Diana accepted the blade, and looked at it with confusion clearly written across her features. The knife was made of bone – from the handle to the tip of the blade. Diana frowned... if she didn't know better, she'd have thought it was....

" Dryad bone?"

Hippolyta nodded gravely. " Yes. It's the only way we have of killing an immortal. You need to take it with you."

" Mother," she addressed Hippolyta unconsciously. " I can't kill Orana... not with this. I would never deny Chase her right to extract revenge from Orana after what Orana did to her. Chase deserves her vengeance as does the rest of the Nation."

Hippolyta shook her head. " No, Diana. This isn't for Orana... I'd like her to face Amazon justice. No, this is on the off chance you run into any other immortal deities." Hippolyta blew out a breath. " You know Ares was the only god who did not offer you a blessing at your birth, and we believe he mentored Orana when she arrived in man's world. If that is true, then there is every possibility he will be around at some point. I don't want you to go in there unprotected, because if he sees you... I just don't want you to have to go up against him without a way to defend yourself."

" You really think he'll be there?"

" I honestly don't know, but in this instance I would prefer to err on the side of caution."

Diana looked at Hippolyta for a long moment before nodding and putting the blade into her pack. Then she boarded the plane without looking back.

" Fuck!"

The whispered expletive from Chase brought Diana from her musings with a jolt. She raised an eyebrow and Chase smirked, though she couldn't stop the blush that crossed her face. They were slowly making their way towards the Reichstag itself across the same rooftops Chase had walked hours before when she'd been searching for Diana. They planned to be inside waiting for Orana when she returned. Given the number of people on the stand with her, there would be plenty of time to get in and disable her security and safety measures before she returned. This was obviously supposed to be something of a celebration to reinforce Orana's message of who exactly was in control.

" Sorry," she muttered. " Is that who I think it is?" Diana nodded. " Dammit! That changes everything."

" Maybe not," Diana commented softly. " I don't think he knows we're here. He isn't looking around for anything; he just seems to be enjoying the adulation from the handpicked audience. He can't scry here so he won't be able to find us."

" Doesn't matter, Diana; he is still an immortal... still the god of war. And when we go after Orana, he'll still be able to defeat us with the flick of his wrist."

" Not this time," Diana answered confidently. She stopped moving and slid the pack from her shoulders and opened it, showing Chase the blade that rested inside at the top. There was no change in Chase's expression, no sign of recognition at the significance of the object it held inside.

" I'm sorry... I don't get it; guess I'm missing something pretty important, huh?"

" That's okay, Chase. We'll have plenty of time for you discover everything about your heritage later," Diana assured her with a smile. " This is a dryad bone knife."

Now Chase blinked in recognition. " Waitaminute – you mean the kind of bone that can kill a god? But how...?"

Diana slipped the pack back on and they readied themselves to start the next phase of their mission. They had reached the roof of the Reichstag and moved inside. They didn't see Ares look around with a frown on his face. Fortunately, he couldn't see them either, and after a long moment, turned his attention back to the general who was presently singing the praises of Orana and the Reich.

" My mother, and we know it can kill immortals and lesser gods. Not sure it can destroy Ares given the powerbase he has, but it will hurt him. Given his history, if we can manage to hurt him, he will disappear. He's never been one to stick around when the odds aren't in his favor."

" All right, but that means we're gonna need to split up... at least for a little while."

" Maybe not," Diana said again. She looked down. " The records are spotty, but given what I know of Orana from before she came here, she will celebrate her 'victory' when this announcement is over. If you noticed, the set-up out there was for some sort of party; obviously there's at least part of her Amazon heritage she's kept."

Chase looked at her askance. Diana smirked. " I'll explain it to you later." She looked around and her whisper became nothing but mouthed silence. " Ready?" Chase nodded and motioned to the guard on the right. Diana returned the nod and watched as Chase counted down on her fingers. Simultaneously they moved and in seconds, two guards were dead, compliments of broken necks. They didn't make a sound and Chase and Diana were quick to move the bodies out of sight. Then with a glance at one another, they padded silently through the halls, disarming the cameras and leaving a string of dead guards hidden in the recesses as they made their way towards the lab.

" This was just the first, my friends! From this day forward, the rebellion will be systematically destroyed. We will annihilate every village and town that harbors rebels and resistance members and when we are done, we will set our own house in order! We will go after the Jews! We will go after the Negroes! We will go after the homosexuals! We have been lax too long... but no longer. We will wipe out everyone who does not fit the mold of an ideal member of our Supreme Race!" She naturally didn't mention it also meant the destruction of their one semi-ally in the Japanese. Time enough for those details later, after their obvious enemies were eradicated. " And when we are done, we will have a New World Order! The Third Reich will be stronger and better for the purging! It is time we realize the dream of prosperity we fought and struggled for! It is time we reward the faithful!! It is time we take care of our own... no matter the cost to the rest of the world!!"

The specially chosen audience stomped and cheered. And the Amazons manning the cameras carefully captured it all, though not a word of it was broadcast beyond the square. Mitch had made it into the control room, and sent out a technical difficulties message to the outlying stations, thought they understood the meaning clearly enough. What it meant – reading between the lines – was that Orana wanted complete control over what went out to the masses and would need time to edit it accordingly. They had no way of knowing that Orana wouldn't be editing anything at all.

Eventually, Orana held up her hands and the crowd dutifully quieted and waited expectantly. " So this is a celebration of the beginning of a new era in the Reich. Please, join me in commemorating this event and enjoy the refreshments provided here. VICTORY!!"

At this the crowd roared and returned her salute. " VICTORY!!! Zieg HEIL!! Zieg HEIL!! Zieg HEIL!!!"

Orana stood and absorbed the adoration of the crowd for long moments before she allowed them to disperse to the tables that had been set up around the square. Those on the stage with her removed themselves to join the party at her nod, leaving her alone with only Ares for company staring out at the gathered throng. He put his hands on her shoulders and she stiffened, but he didn't pull away. Instead he began kneading with all the strength in his hands, and he felt her relax into his touch almost immediately.

" What's the matter, baby? You're too uptight for a warrior who has conquered like you have... especially one with such great battle prospects on the horizon."

Orana shrugged and leaned back into him. " I don't know, Ares. Something doesn't feel right. I expected more of a reaction from the rebellion. I expected *some* sort of reaction from them at any rate. And yet, I got nothing, and it's making me antsy. I cannot honestly believe they would let something like this go by without making some sort of effort to stop it. I made sure the world knew I was making an announcement tonight; I even let leak what happened to those twelve villages."

Ares dropped his hands from her shoulders and let one run over his beard. " Well, considering the fact that the rebellion has been around for a century, give or take, I'd say it was one of two things. Either they have already gone underground in preparation for the latest siege OR they are biding their time waiting for the right moment to strike – some time when you are distracted and won't see it coming."

Orana bit her lip in thought. " I suppose. It's just that my thumbs are prickling and I hate that feeling. I especially hate feeling like those cretins have gotten one over one me."

" Nobody's gotten anything over on you, babe," Ares said, putting his hands lightly on her waist. " It'll be their funeral when they do make a move because we are going to be ready for them. They won't even know what hit them." He felt her laugh under his touch and allowed his own dark chuckle to bubble up. " Now, c'mon... you and I have some serious business to attend to," rubbing up against her.

Orana permitted a small, satisfied smirk to cross her lips. " We do indeed, and Adelia should be waiting. Let's go."

Diana and Chase worked in tandem together without exchanging a single word. It was as if they had been doing this together forever, they were so smooth in their interactions. Diana went through the crude computer records while Chase disarmed the first of three self-destruct mechanisms Orana had set throughout the Reichstag. These were the triggers that would set off other devices hidden around the globe, and Diana's searching had turned up the locations of those. Finding them would be one of their first tasks once Orana and the Reich were finally defeated.

First though, they had to destroy the lab and make it to the kitchen to take out the second bomb. That would be more difficult as there should be people working and that meant more killing because there were no innocents here. And Chase was tired of killing; she had been doing it since she was twelve years old. However, it had to be done, so with a signal to Diana, they soundlessly slipped into the kitchen and within minutes, there were six more dead. Diana moved the bodies into freezer while Chase disarmed the second trigger bomb.

Fortunately, since the food had already been prepared and a majority of it had already been set out for the event outdoors, they weren't interrupted and in short order, they were walking down the hallway to Orana's private chambers. This was the tricky part.

Orana was more than a little paranoid and had the most state-of-the-art security she could manage... not that it was anywhere close to what Diana and Paula had developed. So cracking through it was fairly simple. The guards were dispatched easily enough; they simply weren't expecting intruders to be wandering around that far inside the inner sanctum.

There were no bodies to move; Orana kept the guards in her hallway out of sight. Diana disarmed and unlocked the doors – they like the rest of the alarms were set to Amazon milestones and markers. Then they slipped inside Orana's suite. It got harder from here. First they had to disarm the cameras and the monitoring stations in her office area and then they had to move on to the bedroom. The third mechanism was on the bed and it was the one device that connected to each of the triggers around the world. That meant it could still detonate the self-destruction devices Chase had not disarmed yet.

The cameras and monitors were a cake walk for Diana and once they were disabled, they crossed the office floor and stood listening at the bedroom door for a long moment. When they didn't hear any sound coming from within, they opened the door slowly then looked around the empty room.

Chase gave a sigh of relief, relaxing just slightly. Given the rollercoaster ride her life had been lately, she half expected some sort of hidden surprise. But this time, it seemed, their intelligence had been right on the money. Even Ares unforeseen presence hadn't changed the outcome of their work and very shortly, all hell was going to break loose outside the Reichstag as well as at other Nazi strongholds around the world. When Orana left the square, Mitch would let Shep know; then resistance fighters across the globe would attack the Nazis in full force. The Amazons in the square were looking forward to that event, but then, so were the rest of the rebels.

Chase went to the far side of the bed while Diana stayed on the near side, both of them carefully searching for the final trigger device. Without warning, the bathroom door flew open and a very naked Adelia stepped out and strutted towards the bed. She was halfway there before she realized she was not alone... and not with the couple she anticipated sharing the night with.

" Who are you?? What are you doing here??" She froze, and that hesitation was what cost Adelia her life. Chase reacted immediately and the first needled vial of Orana's evil poison struck Adelia in the heart. The effect was abrupt and Adelia fell to the floor, clutching her chest in agony and gasping for air. Unlike Orana's version, meant for prolonged torture, Hans had concentrated the mixture so death was almost instantaneous.

Chase and Diana exchanged glances, and without a word they scooped Adelia up and tucked her into the bed to die. It would save them from having to clean up the mess before Orana and Ares returned. Then they went back to their search.

Much to their surprise and chagrin, there were two triggers and they were tied together by a complicated series of connections beneath the bed. They looked at each other and with soundless sighs, slid beneath the bed.

Diana watched Chase's actions, mimicking her precisely. Chase nodded her approval and together they disarmed the last of the self-destruct mechanisms. Then the door to the bedroom opened and Ares and Orana stumbled in, tossing bits of clothing carelessly around the room.

Diana opened the pack she still carried and removed the dryad blade, then motioned to Chase, who shook her head violently. " Why?" she mouthed. Instead, Chase gestured to her side of the bed, asking Diana to follow her out. She figured it would buy them a little extra time. Meanwhile, Orana and Ares separated long enough to notice Adelia was already in the bed waiting for them.

Ares chuckled. " Guess she's anxious, huh? But what is that smell?? It smells like...."

" ... death. Something's not right; wait, did you unlock the doors when we came in?"

Ares answer was interrupted by the sound of gunfire in the square and several things happened at once. Orana crossed to the window, heedless of her partial nakedness. Diana and Chase rose from beside the bed simultaneously. Orana turned, the needle of the poison vial piercing her chest. She wailed and dropped to the floor, writhing in agony. Chase rushed over to Orana and snatched the belt of strength and the golden lasso from around her body.

At the same time Chase threw the vial, Ares saw Diana and hesitated, caught unaware by her presence here in this room. That hesitation gave Diana the opening she needed and she tossed the blade in Ares direction. He didn't move, incorrectly assuming it was of no consequence and wanting to drive that point home by allowing the blade to penetrate his skin even as he threw a fireball full-force into Diana's torso. Diana crumpled and Ares screamed as he realized just exactly what he'd been hit with.

Chase turned from Orana as Ares pulled the blade from his gut. He threw it at her in his rage, but Chase ducked it easily, having already been in motion to cover Diana's body. He held closed his wound with his hand and shimmered out of sight, needing to find a private place of power to heal.

Chase took Diana's face in her hands and cradled it carefully, completely unaware of the tears streaming down her face. " Oh no, you don't," she said angrily. " NO! You don't get to leave this time. You promised me a future! You promised me forever, Goddamnit!! Don't you *dare* fucking die on me now!!" She reached down and picked up the accoutrements she had dropped in her haste to protect Diana's body from further attack. " Look, Di... we got them away from her."

" Not for long," a weak and shaky Orana said. She was holding a gun pointed in Chase's direction. " I'm an immortal, remember? You can't kill me... even with that lovely noxious poison I created. Uh uh," she said, blinking rapidly. " Hands where I can see them."

Chase placed the belt and lasso onto Diana's chest, glad to see it was still moving, albeit slowly. Then she turned and stood, and in a movement too quick for Orana to process, threw two more vials – one that hit her in the belly and one that embedded deep in her thigh. Orana dropped the gun to reach for the vials, only to fall to the floor again. This time, Chase got up and stuck the two remaining deep into her spine, watching without feeling as the woman stiffened in anguish.

Then she moved to kneel back down at Diana's side, scrambling through the backpack trying to find a way to fix the damage Ares had done. Her heart cried out to goddesses she wasn't even sure existed, hoping for a miracle from somewhere to keep Diana alive.

Chapter XLII

Diana blinked her eyes opened, then closed them again, groaning at the intense pain lancing through her chest. She took as deep a breath as she dared - pretty shallow, considering – and opened her eyes again slowly, seeing nothing around her but empty space. She frowned; the last thing she remembered was... " Chase!!" She struggled to sit up, then dropped back to a reclining position when pain and vertigo made the effort impossible.

A hand came into her line of vision, easing her down with a gentle touch. The cool cloth on her forehead was both familiar and comforting. She closed her eyes and concentrated on breathing, willing the pain to subside. Where was she? And why? And how did she get here anyway? Then a voice cut into her musing. " Take it easy, Diana. How do you feel, Princess?"

The voice was recognizable and yet not as she remembered. " Drea?"

" No, Princess. Open your eyes."

Diana blinked open her eyes and forced them to stay open, then blinked again when a face came into view. " Aunt Jasmine? But how?? You're dead and I'm...." breaking off as the implications of what she was saying sank into her mind.

" ... going to be if you don't make up your mind to be differently."

Diana moaned. The pain was making it hard to focus and harder still to think clearly. Jasmine waited; she needed Diana to be full cognizant of what was going on around her. She felt when Diana turned to her meditation for relief, and after a few eternal minutes passed, Diana relaxed and turned her attention back to her aunt.

" Gods, this hurts."

" I'll bet it does," Jasmine agreed pragmatically. " It looks pretty nasty."

Diana looked around at the emptiness again. " I have to tell you, Aunt Jasmine, for an afterlife, this place leaves a lot to be desired... especially if it hurts like this all the time."

Jasmine smiled at her sadly. " This isn't the afterlife... at least not yet. This is an in-between – a place between life and death, and as long as you can feel the pain of your injury, you are still alive in the real world. Once it's gone...." She let the thought trail off.

Diana smirked wryly then grimaced. " Guess I should be counting my blessings then, huh? 'Cause this hurts like a bitch." She closed her eyes again, missing Jasmine's startled look at her choice of words. " What am I doing here, Jas?" feeling a wave of lethargy wash over her. " Better yet... what are you?"

" Well," rinsing the cloth and gently applying it to Diana's face and neck. " I'm here because you are. You're here because Annabelle is refusing to let your soul go and your spirit is refusing to let your body die while she holds on."

" So as long as she holds on, I'll live, but as soon as she gives up I die?"

" That depends on you."

" Huh? Aunt Jasmine, I know I'm not running on all cylinders here, but life and death has never been about choice – especially when a god takes a pot shot at you."

" Do you want to live? Would you be willing to give up your title, your immortality, to live as a mortal woman in man's world with my daughter for the rest of your natural, normal life? Not as a warrior hero or an Amazon princess or Wonder Woman, but simply as her mate?"

" In a heartbeat, Aunt Jasmine. I have missed her... so much. I would give up everything to be with her again."

" Then live for her, Diana. Make the decision to live for her... and then do it."

" Simple as that?"

" Simple as that."

Silence reigned for a while after that. Jasmine continued to bathe Diana's face and neck and Diana simply lay still trying to breathe through the pain. In all of her immortal life she couldn't remember hurting like this and she wasn't really thrilled with the prospect of doing so now – even knowing she had suffered as badly or possibly worse in her last trip through the karmic cycle. Finally, though....

" Aunt Jasmine?"

" Hmm?"

" Will you tell me about Chase? What she was like growing up – things she did?"

Jasmine laughed... a full bodied laugh, and Diana smiled in reflexive sympathy. " You want to hear stories, hmm? Well, Drea is the only one who's heard any of those before, but sure. I imagine I can remember a few things about what Annabelle was like growing up."

Diana laughed briefly, then curled up into herself as agony pierced her body in reaction. " Ow, ow, ow."

Jasmine smiled compassionately. " A little less laughter, maybe? I'll try not to tell the more outrageous ones, though for the first few years of her life she was a mostly quiet child. Very bright, and she certainly had her moments, but.... Her best friends were her books and her daddy. When he died, she changed. My Annabelle - my brilliant, quiet daughter – became a hellion. That's when she started going by the moniker Chase. And she started taking unimaginable risks. She was seven years old."

Diana opened her eyes and looked at Jasmine in shock. " Chase became a rebel fighter when she was seven?"

Jasmine nodded. " Little things at first, and against my wishes and explicit orders she did. I knew, even though she was unaware, that she had a different destiny to fulfill, but nothing I was able to share with her was enough to deter her strength of purpose. I knew she was resolute about avenging her father's death, but looking back at it, I wonder if perhaps she became so reckless because of who she was."

" You mean as your daughter... as an Amazon?"

" No, I mean as your soulmate – one half of a whole. Maybe her father's death showed her the unexplainable loneliness in her soul. I know it left a huge hole in her heart and in her life."

" How could you let her do that, Jasmine? How could you let her run the risk of being killed?? After all it took to get her here...." Diana shook with anger and pain and frustration. " After how long we've been apart from one another, you just let her...."

" No, Diana. I didn't just let her." Jasmine's head dropped. " But I couldn't stop her either. I tried, you have to believe that, and up until the time she was twelve, I had a little success. There were only a limited number of jobs she could do, and most of those required her to simply walk information from one point to another. No one suspected a cute kid like her to be dangerous." Jasmine met Diana's eyes, both sets filled with tears. " But she was the most stubborn, hardheaded child ever born, though given her soul and her heritage, I don't think she could help that." They exchanged watery smiles.

" What happened when she was twelve?"

" Annabelle killed her first man."

" At twelve?!?"

" Yes. She discovered a double agent living among us. It was how she found out about Hans, but that's another story. Anyway, he tried to rape and kill her and she killed him first, but not before she got proof of his duplicity. They lauded her as a hero."

" What happened then? And what is the story about Hans?"

" She became more involved in the rebellion then, started doing a lot more undercover work. And as bad as I hated it, as much as it scared me... gods, Diana – she was the best operative we had. She found out things... well, she's the reason the rebellion is winning, the reason the war will soon be over. Her determination to find Hans is the reason we were able to, and he was one of the few that understood and appreciated her mind first. Together they were able develop many of the weapons and advancements the rebellion has."

Silence. Then Diana broke it. " Then what?"

Jasmine sighed. " Then I died. Just after Annabelle turned seventeen, I was sent out on a mission based on intelligence she had gathered. I was killed, and Annabelle... Annabelle went a little crazy."

" Is that when she became the leader of the rebellion?" Diana asked, knowing what the partial records Paula had managed to cull had said, but curious about the truth.

Jasmine shook her head. " No. Paula's records – those she managed to find – were accurate. Annabelle took on the impossible missions. She went out and met with resistance groups, formed new cells and started a network between them and the rebellion in America. She really was the glue that brought and held everything together."

" Kind of like what she's doing for me now."

Jasmine nodded. " A little bit. What she did for the rebellion was business; what she's doing for you is completely personal. I have never seen her put anyone or anything ahead of the rebellion like she has you, Diana."

Diana blushed. " Then why am I still here, Aunt Jasmine? If she's holding on to me so tightly that I'm not dying, why am I still here?"

" I don't know, Princess. Close your eyes and focus. Maybe she's just waiting for you to decide to come back to her."

Diana nodded, then took Jasmine's hand in hers and squeezed it. " Thanks, Aunt Jasmine. Do we... may I ask for her hand? Can we have your blessing?"

Jasmine returned the squeeze and smiled into Diana's eyes. " Diana, you have always had my blessing. Just promise me that you'll protect her and love her with everything you are. She is fragile underneath that core of strength she's got and she has had those walls up for the better part of her life. She really doesn't remember what it is to look at life with the wonder and amazement of a child. You will need to be patient and teach her, but above all else, you will need to love her. Love is not something she's permitted herself in far too long. It is one reason she keeps pushing you away – one reason she asked for time. She has no idea what to do with all she feels for you."

" Loving her is easy, Aunt Jasmine. It is part of who I am, and who she is to me. The rest we will make up and learn together as we go. Thank you for giving birth to her, Jasmine, and for loving her. You gave up everything for her... so we could have another chance to be together. No wonder Chase is such an incredible woman – she had an incredible mother."

Jasmine leaned down and brushed a kiss over Diana's cheek. " Go to her. And kick Ares ass once for me, all right?"

Diana chuckled and nodded. Then she closed her eyes and focused her attention on Chase and the feelings of panic she could feel rising from her direction.

Chase growled when she couldn't find any first aid supplies in the backpack. She snatched up the communication device she and Hans had developed for emergencies and took a deep, calming breath to keep from screaming at Mitch.

" Mitch, this is Chase, over."

This is Mitch, boss. Go ahead, over."

" Mitch, I'm in... we're in the Fuehrer's room and she's been subdued. I need... I need a squad to take her into custody and... and I need the Amazon healer, Drea. I need her fast, Mitch. Hurry, over."

There were a million questions he wanted to ask, but he shoved them aside for the moment. He could feel the urgency in her controlled voice. He figured he'd get his answers soon enough. " Will do, Chase. The squad will be easy; the healer will take a little longer, but I'll find her, Chase. I'll see to it personally, over."

" Be quick, Mitch... and thanks. Out."

Orana stirred and Chase turned her head, then grabbed the lasso. Much as she hated to leave Diana's side, there was no way she wanted to be caught unaware again by the Amazon Fuehrer. Chase wasn't deliberately cruel, though she certainly wanted to be – given what both she and Diana had suffered at Orana's hands. However, she wasn't gentle in her treatment of Orana and she trussed her up like a calf, tying her hands and feet together with the lasso looped around her neck so that any movement by Orana to free herself resulted in her choking. At the moment, though, Orana was in pain too intense to allow her to struggle. Simply breathing was unbearable.

Chase left her where she lay, semi-naked and in agony. A thought occurred to her and she slid into place beside Diana. She took the belt of strength and looked at it a long moment, then apologized to Diana softly for any pain she might cause. Then Chase semi-wrestled the belt around Diana's slim waist, doing her utmost not to further damage Diana's burned and bleeding torso.

When that was done, Chase sat back on her heels and looked for something else she could do. She spotted the dryad knife sticking from the wall where Ares had thrown it and grabbed it, shoving into the backpack with the rest of the things Diana had brought. Then she went into the bathroom looking for something... anything... that might help.

Chase tore up the bathroom quickly, then realized as she looked at the lone bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinet that she didn't know enough about Diana's immortal body or the damage an ancient god's power could do to be able to treat her without possibly inflicting further injury. Frustrated, she blew out an exasperated breath and grabbed a washcloth from a folded stack, wetting it before rushing back out to kneel beside Diana's prone body.

The silence and lack of distraction narrowed Chase's focus to the pain she was feeling for Diana. Without analyzing the need, she cradled Diana's head in her lap and started talking to her in soft, soothing tones while gently wiping her face while they waited for help to arrive.

" Diana? C'mon, baby. You can't die on me... not now. You promised me, remember? You promised me immortality; you promised me we couldn't die... that we would be together forever. You don't want me to have to come looking for you in the afterlife, Di. I promise you if I have to, I will make your afterlife completely miserable. I swear I will."

Chase took a deep, shuddering breath to keep from sobbing. She didn't need or want anyone to witness the privacy of her pain. " Don't make me go through this again, Diana. I won't survive the separation this time. Despite the fact that we are new to one another in this lifetime, Diana, my soul remembers. Regardless of my repeated denials to myself and my trying to keep some distance between us, there are parts of me that know and recall who and what we were to each other... before. Please don't leave me to that aloneness again."

Chase tenderly wiped Diana's face and neck, letting her fingers trace the features that were so familiar and yet that she was just coming to know. Diana was an admittedly beautiful woman and in spite of her disheveled state, Chase was honest enough to admit to the surge of animal attraction she felt for her. She smiled wryly.

" Ya know, I was attracted to you almost immediately; that was one of the things about you that scared me senseless, if I'm gonna be completely honest about it. I've never really been drawn to someone like I am to you. Not just the physical, though you are gorgeous," Chase said with a blush, " but your mind and your soul are equally appealing. Come back to me, Diana, and I promise not to push you away again."

At that moment, a mixed squad of Amazons and rebels entered the room and froze, taking in the scene with practiced eyes. Seeing Chase completely preoccupied with Diana, Ty immediately assumed command of the unit, directing their efforts. Some of the Amazons went to Orana, marveling at the binding Chase had contrived for her. They were much rougher in their handling of Orana than Chase had been. They removed the lasso and secured her in the forged shackles Aphrodite had given them. Then they took up positions to guard the woman until they were ready to move her out.

Another small group began constructing a travois to carry Diana wherever they were directed and hoping it would be soon. Some of the things they had seen in the Reichstag were more than a little disturbing, and they were anxious to remove themselves and the injured Princess from the vile evil they felt emanating from the place.

A third group assumed a perimeter around Chase and Diana, providing them with both protection and security. Ty was in this group and she dropped to one knee next to Chase, putting a hand on her arm and waiting until Chase dragged her eyes up to meet Ty's.

" Chase?"

" Ty, where's Drea?"

Ty shrugged. " I dunno, Chase. Mitch sent us over and we got here as quickly as we could. It's a mess outside. Not to worry," she added quickly, seeing immediate concern in Chase's eyes. " We have things under control. We ran into more pro-Nazi forces than we expected to, but they are being dealt with. According to the initial reports, quite a few battalions of foot soldiers are simply surrendering. Daylight will give us a better idea of where things stand, but for now, we seem to be ahead of where we expected to be at this point."

Chase nodded, but didn't respond otherwise, her attention focused on the still body in her lap.

" Do you have any orders, Chase?" Ty prompted. She hated to ask, but they still had work to do, and like it or not, Chase was the one in charge of it until and unless she removed herself from the responsibility.

" Yes. Put the soldiers who have surrendered under the command of the resistance leaders whose jurisdiction they are quartered in. They are *not* to be tortured or killed; they will need to be tried and sentenced accordingly once we have things under control. Anyone that fights back or tries to run away dies by their own choice – kill 'em all," said flatly with no emotion.

Ty's eyes widened, but she nodded her agreement. She hadn't expected such unemotional disassociation from Chase at their moment of triumph, but victory seemed to have lost its savor in light of what had happened to Diana. " I'll get the message to Mitch and Shep." She motioned to the woman cradled so carefully in Chase's arms. " How's she doing?"

Chase looked up at Ty briefly before returning her attention to Diana. " Still breathing, but I don't...."

Whatever else she had been about to say was interrupted by the arrival of Drea and Mitch. The healer made her way to Diana's side, stifling a cry when she saw the damage Ares had done to Diana's body. Immediately she dumped her bag of supplies out and began barking orders to those who were standing around as if waiting for instructions; they started doing her bidding as quickly as her directives were issued. Ty removed herself from the area and went to have a word with Mitch. The war was still raging around them, despite the calm at the center here, and they had things left to do.

" Don't worry, Chase. I'm not going to let my daughter die. She has too much left to look forward to in this life."

" I'm sorry, Drea. I never meant for something like this to happen."

Drea smiled, even as she winced at the wound that covered so much of Diana's upper body. Drea could only imagine the pain that was causing her. " I know you didn't, Chase, and Diana knows that as well. Putting the belt around her was genius – that will actually help her heal. It channels her immortal strength, something she wouldn't be able to tap into here otherwise."

" Will she be all right, Drea? Can you make her better?" The last was a plaintive whisper and it tugged at Drea's heartstrings. She smiled with all the confidence she could muster.

" She's survived this long by your combined wills; I don't think making her better will be a problem. You both want it too badly. We need to get out of here though. I want her moved to the triage unit we have set up until we are ready to go home. If you could manage to get the location of the invisible plane out of her," motioning to Orana, " that would help immensely. I'll explain it to you later," seeing Chase's uncomprehending look.

" I'll see what I can do for you. Can you... give us a minute?"

Drea nodded and rose. " Anya, let's get the litter ready. We're going to need to move Diana to the triage unit in the warehouse." She gestured the rest away from the couple to give them a little privacy.

" Diana," Chase leaned down and whispered into her hair, wrapping one arm around Diana's collarbone and running the other the length of her arm to clasp their hands together. " I've got to go out there and finish what we started, but I'll be back soon, I promise. We have unfinished business between us, so you damn well better straighten up and fly right. I expect you to be up giving orders by the time I get back, and I'm not gonna be gone very long, all right? I love you, Diana. Come back to me now."

Her eyes didn't open and her breathing didn't change, but Chase felt Diana's grip tighten briefly. She smiled into Diana's hair and brushed a kiss across the top of her head. " That's my girl," she whispered. Then she eased out from behind Diana's body and headed out to finish up the business they had started together.

Chapter XLIII

" Ty!"

" Chase? What are you doing out here? We've got this under control. You need to get back in there with your girl. We can handle this, honestly."

" I know you can, Ty. But I also know that the resistance needs to see me, even if it's only briefly. They expect it... I can't be hiding out taking care of someone they know nothing about. Leaders don't have private or personal lives, ya know."

Ty smirked. " Well, you never have before. Guess that means I'm gonna win that bet, huh?"

Chase ducked her head and spoke softly. " She touches my soul, Ty, like nothing or no one ever has... in this lifetime anyway."

Ty crinkled her forehead at Chase's wording, then shook her head and pushed on Chase's shoulder. " G'wan. Go do your leadership thing so you can get back to Diana. The rest of us can handle the details, all right? Let us do our part, too."

" Ty, if it was up to me, I'd let ya'll finish the whole damn thing without me and the hell with the consequences. But we have all fought too long and too hard to get here to lose because of my selfishness. Make sure Orana is moved to the torture room in the basement, and keep her guarded and manacled to the wall at all times. I'll be back shortly to take care of moving her for judgment."

Chase turned and walked off before Ty could formulate a reply. Ty watched her go, then started whistling, a somewhat incongruous sound given the gruesomeness of her surroundings. But even that ugliness couldn't dampen her spirits at seeing Chase complete. Then she headed back into the Reichstag to carry out Chase's orders.

Chase scampered around the square, dodging the random gunshots that still rang out across it, though there had been very little resistance to their coup so far. They had planned well; however, they all expected there to be at least one serious fight from the Nazis once they were able to organize something against the rebellion. It was Chase's job to try and insure that didn't happen.

She rounded the corner and realized she was in trouble almost immediately when she ran into a leather-clad chest. She backed up just enough to look into brown eyes that flamed with hatred before a hand covered her mouth and the world disappeared around her.

Ty jogged back into the Reichstag unimpeded by anyone or anything since Chase and Diana had secured the building. With a very few words on her part, the Amazons formed an honor guard for Diana while the rebels surrounded Orana to transport her down to the torture chamber. She exchanged a few words with Drea, then went with the rest of the rebels down to the basement. She was going to take responsibility for Orana personally until Chase arrived to take over. Orana was going to be the final piece of business the rebellion took care of before the resistance governments took their place in the new world order.

Meanwhile, the Amazons made their way unmolested to the triage unit Drea had set up in the warehouse area they had been quartered in. It was a little unnerving – almost as though the Nazis were chasing something else or had disappeared underground. But they didn't take time to consider the reasons for their easy passage; they were too happy to get Diana back under cover.

As soon as they arrived, the Amazons spread out, having already been given their instructions by Drea before they left the Reichstag. Soon, everything physically possible had been done for Diana's body and it was time to focus their spiritual energy on healing her as well.

Anya took her position at Diana's head and Drea stood at her heart. Mala took Diana's belly with the belt of strength and Nubia was located at her feet. The remainder of the Amazons, except for those assigned guard detail, filled the spaces in between the four placed strategically at Diana's power points.

First Drea, then Nubia, Anya and finally Mala placed their hands on Diana's body and the rest linked them together. Then they started channeling their immortal strength into Diana's body through the belt of strength. And before their eyes, Diana's immortal body began to heal from the damage Ares had done to it.

Though visible, it was a slow process and they faltered when Ty came rushing in frantically close to the end. It took them nearly another hour to finish, and by then, Ty was beyond frantic and the Amazons were exhausted. Diana's sleep had turned natural. She would need a good stretch of normal sleep, but when she awakened, she would be as good as new, and possibly better, given the fact that she was wearing the belt of strength.

The Amazons scattered throughout the warehouse to catch a few hours of sleep themselves and Drea moved to talk to Ty. When Ty explained the situation, Drea dropped her head into her hands. Ty tugged on her arms, trying to convey the sense of urgency she felt, until finally Drea sat her down and clarified the realities of the circumstances surrounding Diana's healing. They would move as soon as they were able, but there was nothing to be done until Diana woke from the final stages of the healing sleep she was currently in. Ty recognized the truth in Drea's words, knowing Chase would never forgive either of them if Diana was put in harm's way unnecessarily. Ty explained what the rebels were doing, and how Drea could contact her once the Amazons were able to move out.

Morning was just peeking over the horizon before Diana stirred. By that point, the Amazons had gotten a short few hours of rest and were already geared up and ready to return to the fight. Drea had shared Ty's emergency with them, and they desperately wanted to be out helping in the search and not here waiting for instructions from their princess. But they were loyal, well-trained troops, and so they waited.

Diana's blinked her eyes opened slowly to let them adjust to the streaks of daylight shining in the roof vents, fully expecting to see Chase's green gaze waiting for her when she woke up. Instead she immediately focused on the uptight, pensive looks of the Amazons surrounding her and shot up into a sitting position. She closed her eyes momentarily to allow her equilibrium to catch up to her body's motion, then she turned to sit on the edge of the pallet.

" Report!" The command was whispered, but the fierceness behind it was felt by every single one of them and every Amazon eye turned to Drea. The healer took a seat beside Diana and touched her forehead with the concern of a mother before taking Diana's hands in her own.

" How do you feel?"

" DREA!!"

" All right... what do you remember?" trying to gauge where she needed to start from.

" Orana and Ares...." Diana looked down at her chest. " He tried to kill me, but Chase wouldn't let me die. I talked to Aunt Jasmine, and Chase told me...." Diana looked around before letting her eyes and her voice drop. " Drea? Where is Chase? She promised to be right back. I heard her. And I know the damage he did to me had to take at least a little while to heal, even with...."

Diana blinked rapidly. " Where did the belt come from? Is Orana...?" Diana trailed off and rubbed a hand over her eyes and face. " Drea, please... report." Her voice was a mixture of confusion, frustration and defeat.

Drea blew out a breath. " All right – short version? You and Chase managed to defeat Orana and injure Ares. Then you were brought here for healing and Chase went out to assure the rebels about things." Drea swallowed. " She was supposed to go from the Reichstag to the control room; Mitch was going to broadcast her words to the rebellion. She never made it."

" What?!? What is being done??" Diana grasped Drea's arm so tightly, the healer had to bite the inside of her lip to keep from flinching. Drea eased Diana's grip from her arm and held her hand, rubbing her thumb lightly over Diana's knuckles.

" Shh, Little One. The rebels have been out all night searching. Unfortunately, they haven't found anything – not a trace."

" What are the Amazons doing?"

" Waiting for your orders, Princess." She held up a hand to stop Diana from exploding. " Breathe, Diana. We all needed rest once you were healed; it took a lot of energy to repair the damage Ares did. None of us has been up very long, and we decided to wait for you once we did."

Diana took a deep breath and nodded her head. " All right. Nubia," motioning her mother's advisor. " I want you to take the army and work with Ty... try to find any sort of clue what might have happened to Chase. Someone had to have taken her for a reason – odds are the Nazis have her somewhere and are looking to trade her for Orana. So we need to find out who took her and where they have her before they start making demands. We can't give them the upper hand; it has taken too long for the rebellion to get it back."

" By your will, Princess," Nubia nodded. She and the rest of the council had been very impressed with her leadership. She had made sure Chase was aware of the Amazons strengths, then had handed out assignments, trusting in their training to get the job done without her having to hawk over them every second. That's what had enabled them to defeat Orana.

" Diana, if Nubia is leading the Amazons in their search, what are you going to be doing?"

Slowly Diana stood to her feet. " I'm going to go talk to Orana, and then I'm going to find Chase."

" Diana, wait...." Drea stood up and held Diana's arms. " If you're doing that, why don't you simply lead the Amazons? Why are you going alone?"

" Because I'm not going as Princess Diana." She removed Drea's hand from her arm. " I am going as Wonder Woman."

Diana stood in front of the safe in the Fuehrer's room for a long moment before twirling the dial with long, tapered fingers. Thanks to Chase, Diana already had the belt of strength and the lasso of truth, even if Chase hadn't realized exactly who and what they represented at the time. She was simply aware that Orana never took it off because it made her invincible, having been told so by Orana herself during her time in captivity. Part of Diana was surprised Orana had kept the costume, but a bigger part of her knew that Orana considered this her greatest trophy. Hence her reasoning for keeping it protected in the safe.

Avoiding people to get to Orana in the torture chamber and then to her rooms had been simple enough. Practically everyone was out searching for Chase, and Diana was beyond ready to go do her part... especially since she now knew exactly where Chase was. She only hoped she had guessed right about Wonder Woman's abilities against a god, or this could turn out to be a very short, very ugly rescue.

She swung the door opened and held her breath. Everything she'd once earned, everything she needed to be Wonder Woman was here, and Diana removed each piece reverently, then donned them and covered the outfit with her civilian clothing. She needed to get out of the Reichstag as Diana Prince, just as she had arrived, so she tucked the tiara into her shirt and resettled the belt and lasso at her waist. Then she walked back out the door, headed for the temple to retrieve Chase.

" Well, well, well," Ares taunted. " Not all that tough now, are you, miss thing? You wanna explain to me how a bit of nothing like you has managed to destroy the best thing I had going in a very long time? Do you realize how long it will take me to rebuild anything like the Reich was? It will take months just to get Orana back into a position of power."

His tone was conversational enough, but the hatred that burned out of his eyes belied that tone. Chase didn't deign to answer him, refusing to give him the satisfaction, which only served to make him angrier. He backhanded her for the umpteenth time, watching dispassionately as another trickle of blood ran from yet another cut on her face caused by his hands.

They had been hours at this and Chase had yet to speak a word. In some ways it made Ares angry, but in others, he couldn't help but admire her fortitude.

Chase was shackled to a wall in the temple Orana had consecrated to him years before. It was at the edge of the city and off the beaten path. By the time the search parties got here, assuming they even found it, Ares and Chase would be long gone. He had only come here because he was still weak and suffering from the effects of the dryad blade. Only his need for revenge on Chase had prompted him to leave his sanctuary in his still weakened condition. He would take care of Diana and his sisters when he was stronger.

For now, though, he was content to torture her physically with his bare hands, taking a rest between blows to recuperate. He walked back over to his throne and collapsed into it, holding his belly.

" You know," he suddenly said conversationally, breaking the silence that had fallen over them like a pall. " I just realized something - I don't need Orana anymore. I was going to force them to trade her for you, though of course, you would have been dead by the time they actually got to you. But I really have neither the time nor the inclination to bother with all the effort it would take to make things work with her again." He chuckled at his own twisted sense of humor. " However, I think I can destroy you and the rebellion at the same time by using this little coup of yours to my advantage." Ares rubbed a hand over his beard. " Hades, I *know* I can. Sometimes, I am just sheer genius in action."

Chase maintained a bored, disinterested look on her beaten face, though fear gripped her heart and a sinking feeling formed in the pit of her stomach. She had the unhappy feeling she knew *exactly* what Ares was hinting at, and could only hope she was wrong.

" Just imagine how your friends will feel when they find out that you used them to become the next Fuehrer. Any sort of rebellion will be dead in the water. And the Nazis will think the slaughter tonight was just a purging to get rid of the dead weight in the government and it will be *easy* to bring the rest back in line because of it." Ares laughed. " I think you actually did me a huge favor."

When he got no reaction from her whatsoever – not even an attempted glare - he lifted a hand to heal her enough to make her cognizant, thinking he had done too much damage to her for her to appreciate the irony that was going on. And more than anything, he wanted her to appreciate the fact that he was going to defeat her with her own so-called victory. Lifting his hand from his belly, though, very quickly brought home the fact that he was still in quite a bit of pain himself, and he hissed as the wound stretched and bled sluggishly with his movement. His hand dropped back to cover his belly and he stepped back from Chase a pace.

" However, I'm going to go rest a recover for a little while," he said with a groan. " This damnable thing is not healing and I'm going to need all my strength to put this plan into action. You just...." He twirled his wrist at her a few times. " Hang around and think about things. I'll be back." His mocking laughter lasted longer than the sparkles that marked his disappearance did.

When she was sure he was gone, Chase let her shoulders drop, allowing her wrists to support her weight briefly. Her broken ribs were making it nearly impossible to breathe and she wheezed slowly through her busted lips as she tried to find a position that wasn't agony to be in. Every change in position made her lightheaded though, and clear thinking was becoming more impossible by the moment.

" Aww wight, Chase," she slurred out loud. " This is a helluva mess ya lann'd in an' no'ne's gonna bail yer ass ou'. I's all upta you so kick star' those few brain cells ya got lef' an' figger a way oudda here. Ya got yerself inta this so yer on yer own wid this 'un."

" I wouldn't bet the farm on that if I were you, Annabelle," came a familiar voice out of the darkness. Chase strained to see past her bloodied, swollen eyes, and when the figure stepped into the light, Chase couldn't do anything but blink before letting a silly grin cross her face.

" Hi, Di. Ya look diff'rn't. Wha's with the costume? Who ya s'posed to be? An' how'd ya fin' me, anyway?" She grimaced in pain as she shifted to see better.

" Annabelle, I need you to focus. My name is Wonder Woman, and I've come to get you out of here." She knew the use of Chase's first name and that of her own alter-ego would get Chase's attention quicker than almost anything else. And Diana didn't want Chase to inadvertently alert Ares to her presence – not yet anyway. She wanted Chase free from the shackles and ready to escape this dreary place before possibly having to encounter Ares here.

" Wunner Wom'n? Huh... ya look a lot like my frien' Diana. She's more'n my frien' though," Chase's voice dropped conspiratorially. " She's my soulmate," each word clearly and carefully enunciated.

Diana gently cupped Chase's broken face in her hands. " What does that mean to you, Chase? Is that important?" She knew it was unfair of her to ask Chase in her current condition, but Diana needed to know that Chase felt the truth in her heart and soul, not just understood it in her mind.

Chase's brow furrowed in concentration. With all the damage Ares had inflicted on her, thinking and rational thought was becoming more difficult; having someone who looked so much like Diana asking her questions about her relationship with Diana was even more confusing. But she forced herself to concentrate on giving Wonder Woman an answer.

" Very 'po'tent," she slurred. " Mos' po'tent thin' in m'life."

Diana smiled. " Most important thing in my life too, love," the last whispered under her breath. " Come on... I've got to get you out of here," breaking the shackles that held Chase and catching her in strong arms as Chase fell forward with a groan. Diana cradled Chase against her chest and just held her tightly for a long moment and Chase relaxed into the warmth.

" Wunner Wom'n? Where's D'ana? Is she okay?"

" Diana is just fine, Annabelle. I'll explain everything to you as soon as we get out of here, I promise, all right?" A sound from behind her made Diana tense and mutter an ancient curse under her breath. Then she turned to face the mocking smirk the god of war wore to hide his own pain and discomfort.

" Don't tell me you're leaving so soon, Princess. We haven't even had a chance to get acquainted yet. Surely you weren't going to leave without saying hello."

Diana eased Chase to the floor. Wonder Woman or not, there was a dark part in her soul that was looking forward to this. Ares was going to go down and it was only fitting that she was going to be the one to do it. Sometimes it rocked to be the Amazon warrior princess.

Chapter XLIV

" I'm flattered, Princess. I certainly didn't expect you to get all dressed up for me. Though in all honesty, I didn't expect you to get up at all," he said with a sadistic chuckle. Then he dropped into his throne chair with a grimace. " I must be losing my touch."

Diana didn't deign to answer, choosing instead to simply glare at him. He was the first one to look away.

" So why are you here? Surely you didn't come here expecting to walk off with my new Fuehrer. Chase and I have a new future to begin together. You certainly don't think I'm just gonna to let you come in and destroy that just because you put on a skimpy little costume, do you? Please, you could have at least donned the leather if you wanted to impress me."

" I'm not here to impress you, Ares. You're not worth that kind of effort. Now," stepping closer to him and putting her hands on her hips. " I'm going to pick Chase up, and we are going to walk out of here free and clear. And you're going to leave us and the rest of the rebellion alone."

This time Ares doubled over in laughter, stopping almost immediately and clutching his stomach in pain as agony rolled through his body in unaccustomed waves. " Damnation, that hurts! How is it that I am still suffering here even though I'm a god and you, immortality notwithstanding, seem to be fully recovered?"

" Karmic revenge?" Diana smirked.

" Don't push me, Amazon. I am still the god of war."

" And? I'm not still recovering from a god's blast and I'm not the one bleeding like a stuck pig from a dryad blade."

His reaction was fast, but it was also predictable. Diana's response was completely unexpected and left Ares gasping for breath. He lifted a hand and Diana didn't flinch. Diana didn't move, even when he let loose with a volley of fireballs, except to bring her wrists up in front of her chest. She deflected the barrage right back to Ares and he flinched beneath the repercussion of power that hit him on the return.

Diana watched dispassionately as Ares fell off his throne and hit the ground face down. He moaned a long moment before he went completely silent, and Diana nodded in satisfaction. Then she turned back to Chase who had closed her eyes. Diana's ire grew when she was reminded of the abuse Ares had perpetrated on Chase, but she put it aside temporarily. She was more concerned with getting Chase out of Ares' temple and back to Drea's healing skill. It wasn't like Ares was gong to be able to come after them any time soon.

Diana knelt down and slid her arms around Chase's body. When she stood up, Chase moaned and blinked her swollen, bloodshot eyes open. " Wunner Wom'n? W'ere we goin'?"

Diana smiled down at Chase. " We're going to find Drea to heal you, and then we're going to go home."

Chase struggled as much as her battered body would allow her to do, and Diana cradled her closer to keep them both from toppling over as she walked out of the dark sanctuary and into the sunlight of morning. Chase tried to beat on Diana's chest, but her injuries made it more of a tapping than anything else. But it was enough to get Diana's attention focused on Chase.

" We can' leave yet," Chase said , shaking her head slowly from side to side to emphasize her point. " We can' leave til D'ana is okay."

" Diana is fine, Chase. *I* am fine. Drea and the Amazons healed me."

Chase squinted, though it was hard to tell the difference as swollen as her face was. " D'ana? Yer Wunner Wom'n? Then h'come...? Why...?" She put her head down on Diana's shoulder. " My head hurts."

" I know it does, sweetheart. Let me get you to Drea and we'll talk about all this later, okay? I promise. I'll explain it all when you feel better."

" 'Kay... I'm gonna res' now." And she was out before Diana could formulate a reply. Just as well, Diana thought, since I have no idea what I'm going to say to her about this. Then she picked up her pace and moved into a jog, heading back into the city.

The rebel watch saw her before she got into the square and they sent up the alert. By the time Wonder Woman reached the square, every rebel and every Amazon that wasn't involved in clean-up and repair was waiting. Four Amazons met Wonder Woman with a litter and Diana tenderly, reluctantly placed Chase's body on it. Ty was at her side immediately and covered her mouth with one hand while the other clamped on to Wonder Woman's wrist.

" Who are you and what happened to her? Oh God, Chase!" She turned accusing eyes to Diana. " Did you do this to her?"

" NO!" Diana cried out in horror. " I would never... not to anyone – especially...." Diana swallowed the words she wanted to say. " I am called Wonder Woman and my job is to defend freedom and protect the innocent. Ares did this to her; the Amazons called me in to help with the search."

" You're an Amazon?"

" Yes, I am. And any of the Amazons here will vouch for my character. But first, do you think we could let Drea start her magic on Annabelle? I'd really rather she didn't have to suffer any longer than necessary. Ares was brutal."

Ty nodded and stepped aside to allow Drea to approach the pallet. Drea did a cursory examination and motioned for the Amazons to lift the travois. " I'm going to take her to the infirmary." Both Ty and Wonder Woman nodded.

" Do your best for her, Drea. I will be back to check on your progress shortly." Drea gave her a succinct nod that was also like a bow, then the Amazons moved off towards the infirmary at a double time jog.

" Where are you going, Wonder Woman?" Ty asked. There was a nagging familiarity about the woman, but Ty knew if she had ever encountered this particular Amazon before, she would have remembered.

" I am going to go talk to Orana. I have some questions and she has the answers."

Ty nodded. " I see. Think I'll come along. I have a couple questions myself."

Diana sighed. She had been afraid of something like this. Orana would expose her and she didn't want that. If she was going to stay in man's world with Chase, she couldn't afford to lose the secret identity of her alter ego. It had been simple when she had snuck into the dungeon in the early part of the morning. It had just been her and Orana, and her only objective then had been to find Chase's location. Having Ty along now would only complicate matters immensely.

However, there wasn't a good way to put her off, at least not out here in the open, so Wonder Woman nodded her head, and Ty gave a signal to the rebels to return to their work. Then together she and Ty began to make their way into the Reichstag and down to what had once been Orana's torture chamber and was now her prison.

They walked downstairs together and once they were out of sight of the first set of guards and before they got to the next set, Diana slid the lasso off her belt and wrapped it around Ty's torso. " Ty, when we get to the door, I want you to wait outside for me. You can say that you accompanied me downstairs for Chase, all right? But I need to see Orana alone."

" All right."

" And as far as you're concerned, all your questions got answers... at least for the time being." Ty nodded and Diana removed the lasso from Ty's body, coiling it and reattaching it to her waist before Ty came back to her surroundings with a start.

" Sorry, Wonder Woman... what was I saying?"

" You were just bringing me up-to-date on the progress that has been made here." They stopped in front of the dungeon door before Diana could continue. Ty nodded at the guards.

" Let her pass. She needs to speak to the prisoner." Both guards snapped to attention. " I'll wait here for you, Wonder Woman."

" Thank you, Ty," Diana responded, before she opened the door and crossed once more into the room that had haunted her nightmares for more than a hundred years.

Orana lifted her head and sneered when she saw who her visitor was. " Diiiiannnnnna," she drawled in a screeching tone that scraped raw every nerve Diana had left. " So good of you to come visit me in my loneliness. Still pretending to be a hero, huh?" jutting her chin out in Diana's direction. " Too bad you had to *take* it from me instead of earning it for yourself. Although," Orana chuckled hatefully, " I guess I took it from you first, didn't I? I never cared about being a hero, though. I just wanted to get away from you and your oppressive mother, and being able to steal Wonder Woman right out from under you just made my victory that much sweeter."

Diana bit her lips until they bled. She wanted to beat the shit out of the woman who hung before her manacled like the animal she was, but it was neither the time nor the place for her to exact that kind of revenge. Instead, she decided to get some answers she needed – some for her own personal closure and some just because.

She took the lasso of truth from her belt and for the first time Diana saw fear in Orana's eyes and she wondered. Orana had been brutal in her adherence to the truth, even when she had disregarded every other principle she had been taught to revere and respect. So why was the woman who had given up her Amazon heritage to become a ruler in man's world suddenly so afraid of the truth?

Orana pushed back into the wall as though by doing so she could keep Diana from using the lasso. " No, no, no... you can't do this to me again. I have rights you know, Diana. You can't just come waltzing in here and take the answers you want from me. You can't use the lasso against me." Diana ignored Oranas' ramblings and looped the lasso over Orana's head. Then her ramblings turned to screams of outrage. Fortunately, Orana had built her torture chamber well and the walls were soundproof. And Diana and Chase had put the cameras out of commission when they had destroyed the lab, taking perverse pleasure in the destruction.

Diana held the lasso firm, letting Orana scream and squirm until she wore herself out. It didn't take very long actually – the poison was still saturating her system and causing untold pain and damage to her body and internal systems... including her mind. Finally, Orana's head dropped to her chest in defeat.

" What do you want to know, Diana? Isn't it enough that you won? There – I said it... you won. You beat me. Are you happy now or do you have to rub it in? You never seemed the vindictive type," Orana taunted, " though I suppose a century of anger and hatred could change a person."

That statement was a little too close to the truth and Diana clamped her lips together briefly to keep from lashing out. Then she spoke in a calm voice.

" Why, Orana?"

" Why what, love? Come on, Diana. You've got to be more specific than that if you really expect me to give you an answer."

It hadn't been the question Diana had intended to ask first, but since she had.... " Why did you really want to be Wonder Woman? Why did you give up your birthright... your heritage... to become the Fuehrer in man's world? Why do you hate me so much? I thought you were my friend."

Orana leaned her head back as if in contemplation, because these were the questions she didn't really want to answer. But the lasso compelled her to tell the truth and the desire to speak burned in her soul until the words just poured from her.

" I wanted to be Wonder Woman because you wanted it so badly. I *knew* it was you under that mask, just like I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away from those games. Competition is too much a part of your make up, and your entire future was at stake. I wanted to mess that up."

Diana expected as much, but it didn't make it any easier to hear. She waited for Orana to continue. Orana waited for a reaction from Diana, but it never came. Finally she gave a disgusted sigh and resumed speaking.

" As for the birthright... the heritage... what birthright? Being an immortal? I'm an immortal here in man's world, and here, I don't live by someone else's ridiculous, archaic rules. I make the rules here; *I* am the boss. As for being an Amazon – what exactly did that get me? I was never quite the best once you came along. It was always 'Diana this' and 'Diana that'; I was always in second place – me... the one who taught you everything you knew! I made you who you were and what did I get from you in return? Nothing... that's what!!!"

" Here, I was *never* second best! I kicked ass and took names and then I took over the world. I got everything." Orana took a deep breath and gave Diana a sick smile. " I'll tell you a secret," dropping her voice to a whisper, forcing Diana to take a step closer. " I knew who Annabelle Chaser was when she was captured. I knew she was the soulmate you had been waiting for."

Diana's hand clenched on the lasso and the muscles clenched in her jaw. But Orana had leaned in even closer... as far as her shackles would allow, and Diana knew Orana wasn't finished speaking.

" She was important to me as the leader of the rebellion, but she was of immeasurable value to me once I knew who she was supposed to be to you."

" You KNEW?" The whisper was ground out between her clenched teeth.

" Oh yes, my dear... DEAR Diana. I knew. I had done my homework. I figured there had to be a reason you were so drawn to Steve Trevor that you were willing to risk Hippolyta's wrath, so I started looking. Imagine my surprise when I found out there was actually something to that whole soulmates theory you had always played into. So I had people looking for her." Orana grit her teeth together. " I was going to destroy her."

" Oh," she continued without missing a beat, " I knew that killing her would have made her a martyr to the rebellion, but it would have been worth it just to know I had succeeded in keeping the two of you apart. I was going to make her suffer, and then she was going to die. But she got away from me before I could finish."

Diana reacted from her heart before her mind had a chance to engage itself. She transferred the lasso to her left hand and pulled back hard and fast with her right. Then she cut across Orana's face, catching her in the jaw and feeling the bones shatter beneath her fist. The second hit went to Orana's belly and the third brought a crunching sound from the ribs Diana broke. Then she took a deep breath, and two steps back, never losing her hold on the lasso. There was a sense of dark satisfaction on Diana's face as she looked at the damage she had done and could see the pain in Orana's broken face.

" Why? Why do you hate me so much, Orana? I never did anything to you, except look up to you and respect you."

" Exactly!" Orana hissed.

Diana frowned. " What do you mean?" her brow furrowing. " How could respect make you hate me?" Her question was met with silence and Diana tightened the lasso painfully until it bit into Orana's skin. " I want an answer."

Orana rolled her eyes and took a shallow breath to respond, having already learned the hard way that deep breaths were out of the question. " Gods, Diana... are you really that stupid or just that naοve?? I wasn't about to let you have something I couldn't... especially since you never wanted what was right there in front of you."

A look of disgust crossed Diana's face, but Orana didn't see it. She had closed her eyes and was lost in her own little fantasy world.

" It would have been so perfect, Diana - you as the princess and heir apparent with me as your consort. I would have done anything for you... anything to be with you." Her brown eyes popped back open and they were filled with the venom of hatred. " But I wasn't good enough, was I? No – you didn't want me... you didn't want *anyone* that way. You had expectations of finding your soulmate. Why should you get to have a soulmate? None of the rest of us did!! What made you so goddamn special?!?"

Orana forgot her pain in the heat of her anger and took a deep breath, spittle and blood flying from her mouth as she continued to rant. " So I decided I was going to take away everything from you – your good name, the respect people had for you, your chance to be Wonder Woman, even your goddamn supposed soulmate if I could manage it – whatever it took to make you realized you were no more special than the rest of us. To make you see me!!! To make you love me!!!"

Diana's face hardened. " When I leave this room, you will no longer remember that the Amazon princess, the woman who goes by the name of Diana Prince, is actually Wonder Woman." Then she pulled the lasso from Orana's torso and carefully coiled it up, keeping her back turned to Orana until the task was completed. When she turned, her face was set into hardened lines and her eyes were chips of ice so cold, Orana couldn't control the shiver she had in reaction.

Diana walked right into Orana's space, so close that the ex-Fuehrer could feel the heat emanating from Wonder Woman's body, but not quite touching, then she leaned in until their faces were only a hairsbreadth apart.

" Not even if we were the only two people alive on the whole planet," Diana said succinctly.

Diana stepped back from Orana with a grim expression on her face and walked to the door. She reached out for the handle, then hesitated before opening it. " Where's the plane?"

Orana blinked. That certainly hadn't been the segue she'd been expecting and it took her by surprise – enough that she blurted out the answer. " At the temple... in the back area behind it." Then a sneer formed on her face. " Not like it matters – that plane will only answer to me."

Diana looked over her shoulder with a smirk. " Apparently not, or you would have summoned it already." She opened the door when Orana's voice stopped her one more time.

" What's to be done with me?"

" You will stand trial, and if I have my way, you will walk the gauntlet as a mortal being. I figure there are enough Amazons and rebels eager to have a shot at you that you will be dead long before you get close to the end."

" Do you get to take another shot, or do the three you already gave me count for something?"

" I will not hit you again. My contribution to your punishment will not be physical." Then she crossed the threshold and closed the door firmly behind her, leaving Orana alone with her thoughts and the implications of Diana's words.

Chapter XLV

" So, we've had a few more casualties than we expected, but we have also managed to capture or kill a majority of the Nazis – far more than we expected by this point in the engagement. A huge contingent of their regular army simply surrendered. We're waiting for Chase to decide what to do with them. The officers will be tried and sentenced for their war crimes, but we didn't make a provision for their army to simply... give up."

" And Annabelle has to decide?" Wonder Woman and Ty were walking slowly back towards the warehouse that now served as the hospice for the rebels who had been injured during the offensive. There hadn't been many, but it had been more than enough and the medics and Drea had had their hands full. For now the area around the Reichstag was secure and the focus was on settling the rest of the empire as quickly as possible so they could get the provisional governments in place, although Ty had the distinct feeling Chase was going to have been much more accurate in her estimate of how long it would take than the rest of the team had been. She hoped not, though. She wanted to go home and start having a real life.

" Well, yeah," Ty shrugged as she answered Wonder Woman's question. " Whether she likes to admit it or not, Chase is the defacto leader now – not just of the rebellion, but of, essentially, the world. The rebellion and the resistance all take orders from her."

Diana blinked at the enormity of what Ty has just said, but otherwise neither her face nor her voice gave any hint of what she was thinking. " How does she feel about it?"

Ty shrugged again and shook her head. " You'd have to ask her to be certain, but I don't think it was ever her life's goal... to be a world leader, I mean. She was always pretty set on destroying the Nazis." She paused a beat before she turned the focus of the conversation to Wonder Woman. " So, who are you really, and how did the Amazons come to claim you?"

Diana smiled wryly. She understood Ty's curiosity, but it didn't make it any easier to answer her questions honestly. " I really am Wonder Woman, and I have been the Amazon champion for a long time. We came as soon as we knew of the troubles humanity was facing in man's world. I am glad we were able to make a contribution towards helping."

There was a feeling of finality in Diana's tone and Ty bit back the questions she wanted to ask. Despite Wonder Woman's apparent friendliness, Ty got the distinct impression pushing her would not go over well. And the Amazons were great allies.

Fortunately, they were interrupted by one of the lesser commanders, and Ty stopped to take care of the problem while Wonder Woman continued on her way to the hospice. She never saw the startled expression on Ty's face or the speed with which the rebels started moving. Diana was focused on getting to Chase.

When she crossed the threshold, heads turned and the Amazons present gave her the barest nods of respect, but otherwise, life continued as normal in the infirmary. Only Drea moved from the notes she was recording on the files that littered the makeshift desk and rose to greet her.

Diana stopped briefly to talk with each of her Amazon sisters that had been wounded in battle before she continued her journey to Drea. When she reached the healer's side, Drea took her arm and led her to a cordoned off area. Here, hidden by the improvised curtains they had hung to give her privacy, Chase lay in solitary splendor with two Amazon guards outside the curtain to insure her privacy. Her green eyes were nearly swollen shut from the beating Ares had given her and she was bandaged more places than not from the cuts and broken bones he'd inflicted as well. Diana turned to Drea and lifted her eyebrow in mute question.

Drea sighed and spoke softly so the others around them would not hear. " She took quite a beating, but she is healing well. It's going to take a few days, though. Immortal or not, she is not Wonder Woman and doesn't have the belt of strength for us to channel healing energy into her."

Without hesitation, Diana reached for the belt that she wore around her waist, only to be stopped by Drea's hands. She shook her head wordlessly and Diana returned the look with a venomous stare of her own. Drea kept a grip on her, but shifted it to merely holding Diana's hand. Diana returned her attention to Chase's severely beaten face.

" Why, Drea? She needs my help!"

" As do so many others here," motioning around the room beyond the curtain. " Diana," saying her name so low even the princess nearly missed it, " you want to keep your alter ego of Diana Prince a secret from the world, correct? So you can remain here with Chase in man's world and still be a contributing part of is as both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince, right?"

" Of course, but...."

" No buts, Di... Wonder Woman. Aside from the fact that if you heal her you would need to heal the rest, you have somehow managed to completely disorient Chase about who and what you are. And until you clear things up with her in that regard, you can't risk going against her wishes... whatever they are. Besides, you can't heal the rest for several reasons. The Amazons don't have that kind of strength for one thing, and none of the rest of these people are immortal. The belt will only heal an immortal – I'm not sure Chase is ready to share that with the world."

Diana's shoulders dropped. " It hurts me to see her like this, Drea."

" I know, Little One. Do you know how to hide your identity? No, wait... your mother never showed you that, did she?" Drea muttered, coloring slightly for her slip. " Sorry."

Diana shrugged. Somehow, standing as Wonder Woman in the costume she had earned those long years ago made the pain and anger she had felt since then recede. Having finally found Chase and knowing how Chase really felt was what gave her happiness. " S'all right."

Drea looked at Diana, seeing she really didn't mind, then she realized where her eyes were focused. She put her fingertips on Wonder Woman's chin and brought Diana's attention back to her. Drea couldn't stop the grin that crossed her face or the widening of it as a blush traveled up Diana's face. " You've got it bad, huh? It's good to see. Now," clearing her throat and keeping her voice at a whisper, " let me show you how to make Wonder Woman become Diana Prince."

The whispering was too low for Chase to understand the words, but it was loud enough to make her curious. It made her want to open her eyes, but she found it took a lot more effort than she expected it to. When she finally managed to open them a slit, she had to blink in disbelief and the pain of that caused tears to run down her face. When she opened them a second time, everything was blurry and she closed them with a moan.

It was the moan that caught Drea's and Diana's attention.

Drea squeezed Diana's hand and gestured her towards the bed before she slipped out of the curtains, moving the Amazons away from them just enough for Diana and Chase to be able to talk without being overheard.

Diana, now sans her Wonder Woman costume, walked to the bed and took a seat on the edge. She let one hand cover Chase's while smoothly moving blonde bangs off her forehead before letting that hand cup Chase's cheek.

" How do you feel, Chase? You took quite a beating."

" Ow."

Diana smiled gently. " Yeah... is there anything I can...?"

Chase shook her head, only just moving it. " D'ana, m'confused."

Diana let her hand move from Chase's face and through her soft hair. It came to rest on Chase's neck and she gently kneaded the muscles there. " About what, Chase?"

" You... and Wunner W'man."

Diana nodded and sighed. " Yeah, about that...." Chase didn't move, but it looked for all the world like she crooked her head in question. Diana blew out a breath of frustration. " I'm sorry, Chase. It's my fault you're confused now, and it's probably making your head hurt worse than it should be."

" Hmm?"

" I'm not helping make this any clearer am I? All right... let me just start from the beginning. Then you can ask questions if you have any, okay?"

" 'Kay."

" Okay," Diana said again, standing up and pacing the room with her hands to her lips for a long moment before taking a breath to begin speaking. " First, I need to show you something." She twirled slowly clockwise and Chase could literally see her clothes dissolve, leaving her clad only in the costume that made her Wonder Woman. Then she spun again, this time counterclockwise and Chase watched her civilian clothing reappear and Diana Prince standing in front of her once more. Then Diana reached for the buttons of her shirt, and Chase blushed a furious red as Diana disrobed in front of her. Once her mind kicked into gear though, she realized what Diana was showing her and she sat up just a little before understanding what a really bad idea that was.

Diana moved back to the bed and help Chase ease her body back down to the bed, and Chase reached out a hand and brushed it against bare skin, watching in fascination as the skin and muscle rippled under her light touch. She brought her eyes up to meet Diana's, startled by the raw passion and lust she saw burning there behind the love that never wavered.

" S'rry," Chase mumbled through still busted lips and bruised jaws. She started to pull away and found her hand caught by Diana's in a firm grip.

" Don't be sorry for that, Chase. Never be sorry for that."

" 'Kay," chase agreed quietly. " How?" gesturing with her fingers to Diana's exposed skin and bra. The Wonder Woman costume was no where in sight.

Diana shrugged. " Mind over matter. It is there when I need it. Since the title was originally supposed to be mine, it is merely a matter of making it become a natural part of who I am. Now that I have claimed it... started making it a part of me... I only need to imagine it and it becomes real. It will take a little practice and Drea said that actually I need to spin with more force for it to work the way it is supposed to, but eventually it will be second nature for me. I am better protected this way. No one will know that Diana Prince is really Wonder Woman."

" Why? Why'dja lie t'me?"

" I didn't, Chase... not really. Amazon Princess Diana, Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are all the same person. They're all me. But no one but us can know about it. If I'm going to be able to stay here with you and have any sort of normal life and still be able to help people like we do, then no one else can know." She read the question before Chase could even open her mouth to speak. " The Amazons are sworn to secrecy, Chase, on penalty of death. And they will all be returning to Paradise Island as soon as we are done here. That is their home, after all."

" Bu' why me?"

" Two reasons – one, you have to get used to referring to me as Wonder Woman when I am functioning in that capacity. And two, it seemed like the quickest way to get your attention and make you focus on me so we could get out of there safely without catching Ares' attention. Futile as it turned out, but...." Diana shrugged her shoulders and waited for the question she knew was coming... the one she felt guilt for.

" Didja plan it... t'fin' ou' ho' I really felt 'boutcha?"

" NO!" Diana shook her head vehemently. Then the shaking stopped and her eyes dropped to their still joined hands, not noticing her unbuttoned shirt as her attention was focused on what was going on between them. " No," she said in a much softer tone. " The two reasons I gave you are the truth. I wouldn't for the world have ever had something like this happen to you, Chase... not for any reason. I did take advantage of the circumstances, though, once you started talking to me as Wonder Woman about me as Diana, and for that I apologize. It was completely wrong of me to do that."

Chase didn't want to let Diana's hand go for fear of sending the wrong message, but she did want to see Diana's eyes and with one arm bound and in a sling it didn't leave her much choice. " D'ana, loo' a'me. You owe me tha' mush."

Diana did look up slowly until their eyes met. There was no condemnation in Chase's glance... only confusion, and she managed to hold her eyes steady on the green that had captivated her from the first. Chase tried to smile and discovered that was a bad idea as well. Instead, she conveyed her reassurance through her gaze and the strength of her hand hold.

" Why? You din' trus' me?" the hurt clear in her voice.

" No, love, not you," unconsciously seeking to reassure. " I didn't trust me," her voice so quiet Chase was straining to read her lips. " You have to admit my track record hasn't been that great where we're concerned. But when you told me that I was your soulmate... something snapped in my brain. I needed to know you were sure so I didn't mess things up again. This is too important to both of us for me to rush in... and I really want this to work. I mean... if you do," dropping her eyes again.

She really didn't feel up to this, but since they had started.... Chase tugged on Diana's hand, finally jerking hard enough to pull Diana off balance. Diana squawked and threw an arm out to keep from collapsing on top of Chase's body, tempting as that thought was. She looked at Chase with a mixture of angry frustration and confusion.

Chase tugged again, not as hard this time but hard enough that Diana got the message. " Chase, are you sure?" laying down tentatively and wrapping herself reverently around Chase's body. Chase threaded their fingers together.

" I'm sure, an' I do," she mumbled. " I knew'n m'heart, bu' seein' you hurd made i' real fo' me. I don' h've to be 'fraid or preten' indiff'rence."

Diana brushed a kiss across Chase's forehead. " Not this time, love. You only have to believe in us."

Chase didn't answer and when Diana looked down at her face, she smiled at the expression of happy contentment she could see in spite of the damage Ares had done to her. Then she leaned her head against Chase's and closed her eyes to join her in sleep. They never heard the commotion that erupted around them until it was brought directly to them, and by then, something fundamental had changed for them again.

Ty skidded into the hospice and almost immediately ran into Drea. " Ty! What's the matter?? You can't be running through here like that; we have injured that are trying to rest and recuperate!"

Ty bent over at the waist and tried to catch her breath. She been running since she'd separated from Wonder Woman nearly an hour before. " I know, Drea," she wheezed. " Where's... where's Chase?"

Drea put a restraining hand on Ty's arm. She'd looked in on them only moments before and what she'd seen had heartened her soul. " Diana's with her, Ty. They're resting. What's wrong? Come... let me get you something to drink. You look like you're about to collapse."

" No time," Ty replied, shaking her head but allowing Drea to lead her to a chair.

" We'll make the time then. You're exhausted, and we cannot afford to lose another leader right now. You've got to remain strong and take care of yourself until Chase is ready to resume command of the operation. Now, drink this."

Ty accepted the proffered glass and down about half its contents in a single draught. " Thanks, Drea. I feel better already." She shook her head again. " I don't know how Chase has stood this all these years. She makes it look so easy, but if she doesn't get up and take charge soon, I'm gonna pull my hair out. And I don't think that is gonna help me in the looks department that much."

Drea laughed softly. " Well, you haven't lost your sense of humor yet. That, at least, is a good sign."

" What sense of humor?" Ty muttered. " I was being serious. Being in charge sucks."

Drea nodded. " Sometimes it does, yes. But I'm sure that wasn't the emergency that sent you rushing in here like your feet were on fire."

" No, you're right," Ty said heavily, draining the cup. " The Nazis are mounting an offensive. Several of their best, key battalions were not in the city when we captured it yesterday, and unlike a majority of the army, they have decided to fight."

" Where are they now... how far away from the capital?"

" Reports put them about half a day away at their top speed. They should be here by dark."

Drea nodded. " All right... I'll make a deal with you. You go back out there and take charge – make whatever arrangements you need to make to get things ready for a fight and in return, I'll take care of getting everyone moved out of here to whatever location you choose. Well, everyone but Chase and Diana. Then about an hour before sunset, or when you think the enemy is about an hour away, we'll wake them. Hopefully by then, Chase will have had enough rest to have healed somewhat."

A frown crossed Ty, face. She had seen the injuries Ares had inflicted on Chase. There was no way she was going to be healed from that in just a few short hours. Drea sighed and stood from the hard chair she had been sitting on.

" Come... let me show you something."

Ty rose obligingly and followed Drea to the cordoned off area where Chase and Diana lay hidden from prying eyes. The healer pulled Ty in front of her and simply pointed. Ty gasped and blinked as she saw something, despite what she hoped... despite what she *knew*... she never quite thought she would. But the picture they made together brought a smile to her face. Then she frowned in confusion and took Drea by the arm, leading her back to the desk where they could talk privately without being overheard.

" What did you do to her?? She is healing much faster than is natural. Does this have something to do with her being an Amazon like you and Diana??"

Drea smiled sadly. " It has everything to do with it."

" Good!" Ty exclaimed emphatically. " It's about time she got something good out of being an Amazon. And way past damn time she found someone to share her life with. Thanks, Drea. If you want to start moving the wounded over to the Reichstag.... It really is a fortress and the easiest place for us to defend. I'll be out working on troop placement, so if you could send any able bodies you can spare, I'd appreciate it."

Then she was gone before Drea could formulate a response. So instead, she started calling out orders of her own, hoping this wouldn't take too long or do much damage to the rebel troops. Already she counted many of them as friends, even in the very short time they had been in man's world, and she didn't wish any of them harm. But she had a bad feeling that this was going to be ugly.


Continued in Part 10

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