Chapter 1: Exposition
Honestly, she wasn’t surprised to find herself, half dunk, definitely tipsy, at Diana’s door, having searched it up on the records at the museum after the “battle,” or whatever you want to call it. She called it nothing, because that is what happened. Nothing. She lost the power she felt surging through her limbs gone. But she kept her first wish. So she didn’t really lose anything, but she didn’t win anything either. Maybe it was that boldness that persuaded her to show up at Diana’s door.
She wasn’t surprised to see Diana open the door, her eyes tired and bloodshot without the thin layer of makeup she usually wore to work, her dark curls cascading down her back, yet still managing to look graceful and elegant, everything she doesn’t think she is. She wasn’t surprised to see Diana’s eyes widen in surprise, and after a moment of hesitation, motion for her to come inside, and shut the door gently behind her. She surveyed the room, and saw that it matched who Diana was perfectly: cool, elegant, classic, and one hundred percent distant. It felt like a vacation home, where you certainly keep mementos but you don’t put your whole body and soul into.
She turned back around, and faced Diana, who seemed about to open her mouth and say something, likely about to ask her why she was here, what did she want, or if she was OK, because she knew she looked terrible, with her blond curls flying everywhere and her movements languid and obviously drunk. It hit her then, that even after all of that, Diana was probably still going to ask her if she was OK, and still show her that same kindness that she had the very first day she started working at the museum. So she wasn’t surprised when, instead of choking her long, graceful neck with the anger that she felt for loosing her feline grace, she pounced on Diana, and crushed her full lips beneath her own, everything forgotten as she growled, animal-like, and drank in the sweet taste of Diana’s lips.
Honestly, looking back, the only thing that did surprise her was Diana’s hands, which didn’t remain frozen like she had thought they would, in some part of her muddled brain, and instead came up to grab her hair; her lips, which didn’t freeze, but instead, after a stunned moment, started moving against hers with almost the same intensity that she moved with; her body, which hadn’t moved away from her with all of its agility and her fast reflexes, and instead remained still, even arching towards her. Maybe Diana was too trusting.
Diana had ended up on the floor, and she had kissed her lips until she was sure that the both of them would have swollen lips the next day. She made quick work of Diana’s silky grey nightgown, and felt Diana whimper, already wet and warm and so ready for her. The very anticipation almost made her come. She teased and withheld, almost instinctively knowing what to do, and Diana could only moan, helpless under her fingers. It was only when she had stopped again, for the third time, before Diana could come, that Diana gave up and whispered “please.” The sound of Wonder Woman, begging for release underneath her, made her almost giddy, and she crushed Diana’s lips with her own once again, and twisted her fingers in a quick, calculated move.
Diana had made a muffled scream underneath her hands, and though she had imagined this scenario over and over in her own bed, late at night when the only thing next to her was a pillow and cool sheets and loneliness overwhelmed her, nothing compared to the elation she felt when Diana came, trying to remember every detail and wrinkle and freckle on Diana’s face as she said her name, undone and yet put together, strong yet vulnerable under her hands.
She stroked her hair, almost tenderly, before remembering that this woman, the woman that she had just pleasured underneath her, was the woman who made her lose everything she had worked for with Max, before recalling her wrath and anger, her revenge. But she couldn’t bear to hurt her, not tonight, when Diana’s beautiful brown eyes were closed and so uncharacteristically vulnerable, so she got up from the floor, wiped her fingers on her skirt, and stared down at the woman with cold, unyielding eyes. Diana had looked up, and for the first time, said nothing as she tugged on her shoes, and watched her leave, closing the door behind her with a sharp “click.”
She turned in her resignation from the Smithsonian, and packed her stuff up the very next day. It wasn’t like the museum still wanted her very much, honestly, though for some reason her participation in the near destruction of civilization had remained a secret, much like Diana’s had as well. Still, she had missed quite a few days of work unannounced and had been very much the person to blame for a missing artefact, though it wasn’t as though anyone else knew it was the wish stone. No one would miss her loss too much.
“This is your new target, Athena.” The Boss’s voice resonated in her bones, which was probably the way they intended it to be in the first place, since they insisted on wearing a stupid mask and keeping everything about themselves a secret. Come to think of it, she had never seen the Boss’s face, and the few people who knew what she really does not, one or two other agents and a few tech guys, had never either. The Boss was a mysterious person. The way they said her chosen name though, never failed to make her mind slip back to another person she knew named after a Roman goddess. But the name Athena was Greek, and better than Minerva, who was Roman, and brought back too many unnecessary memories.
She really should send Diana a thank you note, for her name and her prized abilities. Thank her for the power that still did surge through her veins. She probably would not have become the prized killer she was now without Diana. Her first wish had done good.
A picture came up on the large screen in front of her, and the mask she had cultivated in the past decade almost slipped as she very, very nearly choked on air at the face that now stared at her, in all her glory, on the eight foot screen. As it happens, she was unable to keep from cocking an eyebrow at the masked person sitting in front of her after tearing her eyes away from the screen, where Diana Prince was smiling in her tight way, her brown curls still long and lush, her brown eyes still kind. She hadn’t changed at all, though if she were being honest with herself, neither had Barbara.
Warning bells started ringing in her head as she watched the masked person in front of her carefully.
“You know her?”
The question was phrased carelessly, but Barbara knew the calm cruelty of the person in the mask well, and knew that the question, while it seemed casual, was much, much more. She also knew that if they wanted to, they could order her to kill her parents, if they were still alive, and she would have no choice to do it. The cheetah on her shoulder was a constant reminder of the contract she had signed, the lifelong allegiance she had pledged, though with her wish, she would probably outlive the Agency itself. The Boss don’t tolerate weakness of any kind, and even though Barbara was in no respect weak physically, they had eliminated any possibility of a mental weakness as well.
She had asked one of the Terminators what they were going to do when she handed them a list of her friends and past partners, though for some reason, a feline instinct perhaps, she had not included Diana’s name, and they had stared at her, like the name itself hadn’t been self-explanatory. She hadn’t believed that the name was real, but it was. The true meaning behind the job that Barbara had signed up for had revealed itself to her, and while she should have been scared of its implications, she was drawn to the darkness and the solo shadow in the night. So she had done nothing to stop them, even after she began to receive invitation after invitation to funerals. She had ignored them all. She also stopped developing any kind of human bond with anyone, besides the very, very, very casual intercourse she would have after every mission. That was OK. That was tolerated. The Boss had to acknowledge that the killers are adults, and had needs.
So Barbara Minerva grinned in what she hoped was an arrogant and careless way, and shrugged: “Fucked her.”
Chapter 2: Rising Action
The Boss stared at her for a minute, gauging the truthfulness of her words, before also shrugging, their face hidden underneath the large black bear mask they wore, and nodded. “You’re off the case.”
“What? Why?” She sounded strange, even to her own ears, but she couldn’t help but be surprised. She had never been denied a case before, especially after the mark had been revealed to her, and honestly…
Well, honestly, she wanted to be the one to end it all. The Boss’s killers never failed. They couldn’t, or they would be terminated. And if Diana had been initially given to her as a target… Well, the Boss might as well have wanted her to burn in deepest levels of hell. Athena the killer had a reputation, one that preceded her and shot fear into every target’s eyes. She hadn’t been branded her own animal ranking for no reason; most of her targets ended up like large piles of human flesh when she was through with them, though they usually deserved it. Only few got the recognition she had gained over the years. The only other people in their Agency who had unique branding were the Boss and Luna, an Eagle. A Roman code name.
“You’re too close to the case.”
“She was a one time fling.”
“You still know her well enough to be distracted.”
“By what? A flash of thigh?”
The Boss was silent for a moment. “You’re off the case, Athena.” The cool finality in their voice was the stinging part. There was no changing the Boss’s mind when they made it up.
She ground her teeth in frustration. If Luna got her hands on Diana, the woman would destroy her inside out. Literally. Flip her, while her heart was still beating to ensure maximum pain, so that her skin is on the inside and her organs on the outside with her uncanny sewing skills. Not a pretty sight, even for Barbara. Luna had never missed a target either. One hundred percent accuracy.
The Boss doesn’t give out random targets to their best killers. Diana had done something that made them beyond mad, mad enough that they would let Barbara loose on her, something really terrible. But there was no disregarding the dismissal in the Boss’s voice, so she bowed, and left the dark room.
Outside, she seethed with anger at the denial of a target, even if she didn’t necessarily want to kill Diana. Being denied a target was humiliating, and was a testament to how much the Boss still didn’t trust her, even after a decade of loyal servitude. Yes, it was servitude, because if she was being honest with herself, the only things she got out of this job was burst after burst of exhilaration and trembling fear in people’s eyes when she put on her uniform. She had to bow and grovel to get the Boss’s respect or even acknowledgement, and there are parts of her, the parts that wanted to be an apex predator, that tremble with anger and shame every time she must do so.
But a small voice in the back of Barbara’s head was giddy with excitement, the part of her that never really grew out of watching fights and competitions. The voice reminded her of Diana’s lean, powerful limbs, her muscles toned and strong, reminded her of Diana’s seemingly un-ageing physique, her glowing lasso that Barbara had the honor of being of the other side of twice. Barbara had been a match for Diana when both were at full power, and the two of them were unable to have a decisive victory, though Diana eventually electrocuted her without being hurt herself, something Barbara still couldn’t understand. Luna was good, there was no doubt about it. But Diana knew how to take care of herself, and Barbara found herself glad, for a quick moment, of Diana’s kindness, for she would not kill Luna, and then Luna would have to come back to the Agency and suffer the humiliation of defeat and a failed mission.
She had tossed and turned in bed all night, before finally giving up on sleep and going to her desk. She rubbed her eyes tiredly, and tried fruitlessly to calm her racing mind. She put the reason for her insomnia down to being unsure about the Boss’s intentions with Diana, for the Boss hd never targeted a person who wasn’t a criminal, but she knew that wasn’t the real reason she was unable to fall asleep. Instead, she pulled her computer up to her, and turned on the VPN she had created herself. She didn’t need the Boss to figure out what she was up to.
She had created the VPN in preparation for research on her targets, so she could research them beyond the materials that the Boss gave with every mission, but soon found it to be obsolete. The Internet could hardly yield much more than the five hundred pages of information each target was allocated, every crook and nook of a target’s life documented down to the first time they lost a tooth. Besides, Barbara generally didn’t need much information besides where the target resided, the target, how many people separated her and them, and why they needed to die. The Agency wasn’t squeamish about killing the innocent, but Barbara preferred not to. They reminded her of herself back before she got her first wish.
She opened her browser, but paused. Her fingers itched to search the name she really wanted to know about, but instead, she searched up the name “Luna.” She had never really cared about her co-workers, if one could call them that, and so had never bothered trying to decipher their names to find out who they were. Besides, there oftentimes was no point for her to do that. A code name can be any name. She knew a woman named Isabella Jones, who got killed on her first mission and so didn’t get to see her real name dragged in the mud by the Boss with a look of disgust in their blue eyes, whose code name was “Jack.” Their code names didn’t have to have anything to do with their real names, or even their real genders, and their real names are known only by the Boss. Her code name was slightly related to her real name, but Barbara Ann Minerva had died in an apartment fire the day she left the Smithsonian, before she came to the Agency, and so she could have used the name Barbara as her code name and no one would have guessed who she was.
But from what she knew of Luna, the notorious killer who, after flipping her targets inside out, like that wasn’t telltale sign enough of who murdered them, would leave a cat’s footprint near the body, a stamp made of blood, Luna would have chosen a code name related to her real one. A killer who likes to be known, to be feared, to have a reputation is a person who would rather not hide their real name. Barbara even entertained the thought of Luna being the killer’s actual name, before deciding that the Boss would hardly allow that. So she followed her gut, and searched up the etymology of the name Luna.
“The name Luna means ‘moon’ in Latin and in several languages with Latin roots, including Spanish and Italian. In ancient Roman mythology, Luna was the moon goddess.”
A Roman name. She searched names related to Luna next, and came up with a list of names. She wrote them down, careful to not miss any.
“Selene, Selina, Artemis, Artemisia.” The last two seemed too unique for a twentieth century girl, so she crossed them out. The Boss liked their killers to be nobodies, nothing special about them before they come to them.
She came across one name, and paused for a moment, before deciding it was worth a shot to check this name as well.
Of course, the universe decided to start loving her now. So it was with joy and anticipation that she accepted the invitation to the Fame Gala, a gala known for its crazy costumes and anonymous nature, the only time of the year the Boss let down their guard and allowed the killers to get in one room and dance. The time varied from year to year so enemy agencies never knew when the Boss would host the party. The party was also open to outsiders, rich and famous people who came just for the excitement, and of course, marks, who were invited for the pure joy of the killer, who had to stake them out and kill them during the party without anyone noticing. Barbara had only gone once, and she had left immediately after she had killed and disposed of her target. Everyone wore masks, and she had preferred to stay away from large gatherings since the 1984 war. But Luna went every year, from what she heard, and had never once had a target be there yet. Diana, on the other hand, had been world-renowned even before Barbara entered the Agency. This would be the perfect playground for Luna, who probably wouldn’t be able to resist the excitement and risk of the Gala. Whether or not Diana accepted the invitation, for Barbara had no doubt that the Boss would extend this invitation, Barbara would be able to go and gauge who this Luna was.
This was the opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity for what, Barbara couldn’t say. But an opportunity.
Chapter 3: Climax
She kept getting deja vu as she walked into the Gala, which might in part have to do with the fact that she had chosen a black dress, tight around her curves, and high heels that felt suspiciously like the ones she had worn to the Smithsonian Gala. Or it might have to do with the anticipation of seeing Diana again. Or the Cheetah mask on her face, its cool interior soothing her racing heart. She had the Agency’s craftsman make the mask especially for her, and it covered every inch of her face. It was a beautiful thing, with its golden glow and diamond teeth, but was also one that could aspire horror. She had laughed at the juxtaposition and how well the craftsman had understood her request. She had chosen the Cheetah as her animal, no only because it was the apex predator, but because it was a terrifyingly beautiful creature, one that aspires not only awe but fear.
Some things had changed, though. She was no longer the girl who would self-consciously run her hands down the sides of her dress anymore though, and she hardly noticed the crowd parting for her and the eyes that ran up and down her body as she walked past the masses of unimportant people crowded at the entrance of the Gala. Well, she didn’t notice their stares as much as she ignored them. These people had on half masks, obviously not of enough importance to cover their entire faces and instead just wasn’t to be seen at one of the most exclusive Galas in the world. She did notice everyone around her, cataloguing their reactions and their clothing, analysing the places potential weapons could be hidden and the danger each of them posed to her, seeking out, by force of habit, potential exits in the case of an emergency. She scanned the people around her, but knew that Luna would most likely be inside, where all of the more important people were, and so didn’t waste much time there.
Barbara Minerva never missed anything.
So she ignored the chatter of the nobodies next to her, and proceeded up the glass stairs of the building. The Boss had decorated it in as a jungle this year, so that all of their killers could chose to wear their animal ranking with pride on their faces if they should chose to. She knew most wouldn’t, but she had, and was looking forward to seeing Luna wear hers. An eagle. That would give her more information than anything.
Once she had descended the top floor, the music got louder as the masses of people in large, fully covering masks and formal wear were dancing to songs she could not name. She accepted the glass of champagne offered to her by a waiter. The boy was dressed in the customary tuxedo, his mask a forgettable plain black, and he handed her her drink, then bowed and left to attend to someone else. Normally, she refrained from eating or drinking when she was on a mission for fear of someone drugging her, but today she was here to celebrate, and the Boss’s influence was so that no one who dared to add anything to the drinks or food would survive to see the next hour. People had tried before. Their corpses, along with the killers who had failed to stop or prevent them, still hang in the dungeons of the Agency, a reminder and a warning. She took a long sip of the champagne, noting its slightly bitter taste, and sat down at a jungle-wood table. She checked the time, and saw that it was only half past ten, and that the night was still young, so she settled in and melted into the background, content to watch and wait.
At around eleven, a person slipped into the booth next to her. She hadn’t even noticed them, and so was mentally reprimanding herself when she caught a wisp of the person’s perfume. She turned, and though the golden, winged mask the woman across from her was wearing covered her entire face, she knew it was her immediately.
“Hello, Barbara. Long time no see.” Diana’s low voice managed to pierce through the music playing and reach her very core, soft and elegant, like she was. Dangerous, too. She had crossed her legs underneath the table, the slit in her red dress revealing precisely what Barbara had mocked to the Boss only a few days prior. “A flash of thigh.” Barbara had said it mockingly then, but she felt her eyes drifting down and her breath catching, though hopefully quietly enough that Diana didn’t notice.
“Hello, Diana.” She took a deep breath and tried to look at Diana’s chocolate brown eyes instead of the dangerously low neckline of the red dress. How did you recognize me?” Barbara’s voice sounded a little off to her, but she shook her head and tried to ignore the heavy feeling she felt. Only her, she comforted herself. It’s only her. It’s only Diana.
Diana didn’t answer her question, and instead ran her burning gaze up and down Barbara’s body. “You haven’t changed much.”
“Neither have you.” Barbara squirmed in her seat, uncomfortable with the way Diana looked at her. Her face was getting warmer, she could tell, and was glad for the mask. “You didn’t follow the dress code?” A stupid question, but stupid questions were how Barbara dealt with uncontrollable situations.
Diana laughed, a honeyed sound that seemed to warm Barbara from head to toe, but quieted when she saw Barbara wasn’t joining her. “The dress code? Jungle, you mean?” She paused, hesitated as she took in Barbara’s mask, as if noticing it for the first time. She shifted closer to Barbara, and before she could move away, whispered in her ear: “I prefer to tame the wild.”
Barbara’s face burned under her mask, and Diana’s shapeless golden mask swam in her view. She still hadn’t moved away, though she knew the Boss could see everything going on in the Gala tonight and knew without a doubt who was under each mask, and knew she was putting Diana in more danger than Diana probably knew. Her mind felt heavy, though, and she couldn’t bring herself to move away from Diana’s warmth. “I seem to recall the wild taming you, last time we met.” She whispered back, in a desperate grab for the upper hand, though she could tell her words were slurred and her staring obvious.
Diana laughed, low and deep in her chest, and reached out to brush aside a piece of hair that had fallen in front of Barbara’s mask, a habitual gesture more than a useful one. “So it would was.”
She moved, if possible, even closer to Barbara, until she could feel Diana’s heart beating and the heat radiating off of her was suffocating. She leaned into her, almost unconsciously, as the lights of the party suddenly became brighter and the darkness suddenly became darker, the flashes of light swimming together in a haze of color against a darkened background.
I wonder why she’s so ethereal in this light, some part of Barbara’s muddled brain mumbled to her. I wonder why I’m here. Why are the lights so bright all of a sudden?
Some part of her brain connected two and two, and so instead of pulling Diana into a bathroom like her body was screaming for her to do, she tried to focus her gaze on Diana’s face, and whispered, hysterical and slightly crazy: “You have to leave. Luna wants you.”
“Luna?” She would have missed Diana’s face tightening, her eyes flashing in the dark before softening again, if she hadn’t been closing paying attention to the eyes peeking out behind the golden mask. Who’s Luna, love? What does she want me for?” She trailed her fingertips lightly up Barbara’s arm as she spoke, and Barbara shivered despite the warmth.
“Dead.” Barbara whispered. She pulled back suddenly, stunned that she just gave away another killer’s mission, breaking the sacred and unspoken rule. But she couldn’t seem to stop the words coming. “They want you dead, Diana. Gone. Murdered.”
She laughed, the sound comforting despite the ice growing on Barbara’s heart. “Don’t you trust me?”
She was about to answer in the affirmative, because how could she not trust Diana?, when a man, dressed like the waiter who had given her her champagne, approached their booth. She sprung away from Diana, glad to find her body still swift and her mind not completely off, and turned towards him.
“Miss? The Boss would like to see you.” He said, bowing low. She couldn’t understand the shakiness in his voice until she saw the tremor in his hands, and laughed internally to herself.
“Where?” She said, her voice still sounding off.
“The Dark Room.”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
He trembled, and bowed his head even lower so that his voice came out muffled. “They want you there now.”
She sighed, more out of frustration than anger, and the waiter flinched. “Fine. I can get there myself.”
He bowed again, and scurried off, his retreating figure screaming relief. She smiled, hidden beneath her mask, and turned back towards Diana, who had watched the exchange silently. “Goodbye, Diana.” The words felt like a farewell in her mouth, and Diana’s sad gaze made her think she felt the same way.
She nodded, and got up to leave. “Come back to me, Barbara Ann.” She whispered as she brushed by Barbara, and then she was gone.
She made her way to the elevator, hidden behind an obscene display of various jungle animals, snorting to herself as they jumped at each other and tried to pry fruit from each others hands, the fruit seemingly conjured up out of midair. The elevator button had been decorated as a beetle, but as soon as she pressed it it started moving around. She squished it without a second thought, and stepped into the elevator.
The elevator was crowded, but when she stepped onto it, everyone turned in unison and looked at her, their eyes hostile and cold. She ignored their eyes, and stepped on, used to looks of disgust and antagonism, though not usually so blatant and foreword.
She turned and scanned her key card, then pressed the bottom floor, where the button also became a beetle, and once again squished it without a second thought. She had never seen an elevator this crowded, especially since the elevator was meant to be hidden and only used by members of the Agency. She turned, subtly, and saw that all of the people in the elevator wore the same suits, though different animal masks, though the masks all looked like they were made of cardboard instead of precious metal like hers, and she once again had to wonder who these people were if they were not killers. She saw out of her peripheral a Cheetah mask, and was almost shocked enough to turn and ask the person how dare they wear her animal on their head when the elevator reached her floor, and ten pairs of hands pushed her out. She landed on her back, and before she could say anything, the elevator closed, and the people were gone. That was weird, she thought to herself, though she did nothing except get up and dust herself off. She was less fazed than she was shocked that anyone dared to treat her like that.
She shook her head to clear it, and moved forward in the darkened halls, noting the jungle decorations on the walls, and the animals moving on them. The Boss had never decorated the interior halls of the Agency for the Gala before, so she didn’t know what to think as the animals pranced around her on the wallpaper.
She checked her watch, or the watch that sat on her wrist since she didn’t wear a watch when she first came into the Gala, and it read 2:10 AM.
That was weird. She had left Diana at around 12:00 PM.
She shook her head again, and went forward until she found the Dark Room, another sense of deja vu overtaking her as she took a deep breath before going inside.
“How kind of you to join me, Athena.” There was barely concealed rage in the Boss’s voice.
“You’re welcome.” She said, and her brain reacted a second later. She was honestly more shocked by what she blurted than the Boss’s anger, though she had never seen them angry before, only mildly disappointed. How could she say something like that when the Boss was already angry?
“Excuse me?” Wonderful, so she had shocked the Boss.
“Pardon me, I wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry if I made you wait.” She gritted her teeth in frustration, both because the person in front of her was grating on her nerves, and also because she was sincerely beginning to doubt her own sanity.
“You should, you know.” A voice whispered in her ear, clear as day. She whipped her head around, but there was no one behind her. The generic female voice continued. “Honestly, you should seriously be watching yourself. Have you seen where you are, Barbara Ann?”
“Athena. Do not show up late and then disrespect me.” The Boss’s voice interrupted the soft croning of the voice in her ears.
“My apologies. What is it you wanted to see me about?” Her voice was callous and uncaring, far from the turmoil she was feeling inside. The Dark Room too had animals on the wallpaper, moving and breathing animals., which should have been her first warning sign, but she had missed it when she walked inside.
“You know why.” The Boss was cold, calculated. “I believe you assured me the target was a ‘one time thing.’”
Diana. Of course. It always came back to her, didn’t it?
“Of course it does, Barbara Ann. Why are you trying to fight it?” The voice behind her whispered again. Barbara was beginning to feel the room spin, and the bear mask on the Boss’s face had begun to grin at her.
“Stop. Laughing.” She growled at the mask.
“Excuse me?” The Boss had stood up now, and it was only in standing did Barbara notice that they were shorter than her in her heels.
The mask continued to laugh at her.
“I said. Stop. Laughing.” She practically growled.
“That’s right, Barbara Ann. Tell it to them straight.” The voice whispered, excited now.
The Boss’s eyes were focused on her, and the bear kept laughing and laughing, it’s eyes mocking her, mocking her weakness, mocking the voice behind her and the voice kept whispering “tell it to them Barbara Ann tell it to them” and the Boss was taking off their gloves and the animals on the wallpaper kept dancing and juggling and the Boss was glaring at her with hatred in their eyes and they were holding a whip in their hand now and she knew what that whip was for, she had been on the receiving end of it many times, though not since she became Athena and was branded, and the animals kept dancing and the mask kept laughing and the voice kept whispering and
And Barbara pounced.
The mask needed to stop laughing at her, so she pounced, and the Boss fell, no match for her agility and speed, and she choked the mask long and hard, and its eyes bulged out. The Boss seemed distressed for some reason, she thought to herself numbly, but she kept squeezing because the mask was still laughing at her, mockery in its eyes, and the Boss said, in a desperate and weird and choked way: “LUNA!”
The mask stopped laughing, the animals stopped dancing, and the voice faded.
She lowered it to the ground, breathing deeply. She was suddenly tired, and there was red stuff covering the arms of her beautiful black dress. Blood, she noted dumbly.
She sunk to the ground, and it was on the ground a pair of shoes walked up to her. They were high, impractical heels, much like her own, but these were pointed, and were covered in cheetah print. The person wearing the shoes knelt down, and Diana’s warm brown eyes stared into her, as she took her hand in her own.
“Come on, Barbara Ann, let’s get you out of here.” She let herself be lifted, and looked up into Diana’s eyes, suddenly slightly angry that Diana was still taller than her even with her heels on.
“Barbara Minerva. Geology, gemmology, lithology, and part-time cryptozoologist. I like those,” She pointed at Diana’s shoes. “Animal print. Rawr.” She smiled drunkenly, and then everything went black.
Chapter 4: Falling Action
When she woke up again, she knew immediately something was wrong. For starters, she one hundred percent did not own any piece of clothing that felt like water on her skin. She also didn’t have a huge bed that felt more like clouds than an actual, physical thing with mass.
“Barbara Ann?” Diana’s voice whispered the nickname softly as a hand, presumably hers, turned on the night shade next to her and basked the girls in its warm light. “Are you awake?”
“No, I’m asleep.” She said sardonically, not bothering to keep her voice down. “Why am I here?”
Diana appeared shocked by her question for a minute, and then her eyes tightened. “Well, I wasn’t going to leave you to the wolves, now was I, Barbara Ann?”
Barbara didn’t answer, and instead sat up and turned to look at the woman sitting on a seat next to the large, grey bed. Some part of her wanted to realize the irony, that she was lying on Diana’s bed when only a few days ago she had almost been assigned a mission to kill her. But for the most part, she just felt tired, and dried up. She was tired of all the stupid mind games, and whatever haze had come over her at the Gala was draining in ways that she didn’t realize was possible. She just wanted to lay down, close her eyes, and never wake up again at this point. But she didn’t, and instead opened her mouth to speak. “What happened?” Her voice was incredibly steady.
“You… It’s nothing. You should rest now, anything else can wait for the morning.” Diana said softly, her voice calm enough that Barbara almost couldn’t detect the small waver in it. But she was Barbara Minerva. She didn’t miss anything.
“Tell me what happened, Diana. I don’t remember.” She demanded, her voice hard and cruel. She was out of line and she knew it, but she couldn’t control the anger rising in her chest as Diana shook her head again. She knew she had made a mistake, but it was no one’s business but her own, and if she wanted to know, then Diana should tell her, goddammit.
“Tell. Me.” She almost growled, her teeth clenched and jaw tight.
“Fine.” Diana’s chocolate brown eyes had found hers again, but there was nothing warm about them now. They were hard, and, though Barbara didn’t dare think it, cold. Unfeeling. “You killed the person in the bear mask. Last night. You had gone for so long that I began to be worried about you, so I found someone who knew where you were, and where the so-called Dark Room was, and went down to see if you were OK. You were. You were bleeding a bit on your arm, but overall you were fine. The person in the mask though…”
She closed her eyes. She knew enough about herself to know what the Boss had probably looked like after she had gotten her hands on them. It would not have been a pretty sight, nor one she would’ve wanted Diana to see.
“Splendid. I murdered my Boss.” She mumbled, surprisingly not affected. The Boss had been a strict person, a good mentor in the ways of an assassin, but she couldn’t really say she had even felt anything more than a slight dislike towards them. They may have fed her and clothed her for the past decade, but they were nothing to her personally. They had made sure of that.
“Are you OK?” Diana had come closer, and she laid a timid hand on Barbara’s arm. “if you need some time…” Her voice drifted off as she appraised Barbara with a question in her eyes.
“Oh please. Don’t act like you don’t know what I do for a living, what that person does for a living. You accepted the invitation to the Gala. You know exactly what we do and who they are. Do you honestly think I would regret killing them?” She rolled her eyes at the question, knowing more by instinct than through knowledge that Diana knew everything there was to know about the Agency, if only because Diana had always had an uncanny way of knowing everything about Barbara when she paid attention.
There was silence for long enough that Barbara would have began to wonder if she had scared Diana off with her bluntness if it weren’t for the warm hand that still lay on her arm, before Diana sighed, long and sad. “Yes, I know,” she whispered dejectedly. “I hate to think that I may have had something to do with you choosing this path.”
She scoffed. Even now. Patronising her. “Don’t be ridiculous. You think too much of your impact on me.”
“So, Athena wasn’t because of Diana?” She asked quietly.
“Of course no—“ Barbara cut herself off as once again, Diana read her mind. She swallowed, and tried again. “Of course not. Athena is because of Minerva.”
“Alright.” Barbara had the feeling that Diana had only agreed with her so she would top talking about this. “Are you hungry?” Barbara blinked at the non-sequitur. “No, I’m fine. I’ll be heading home now, if you don’t mind. I need to find the bastard who spiked my drink.” “What do you mean?”
She rolled her eyes again, though why she felt so defensive towards Diana she didn’t know, especially as Diana sat in the dim lamp light, somehow looking so ethereal and so human at the same time. “I saw the mask the Boss was wearing laughing at me. That’s not normal. I missed you coming up to me in the booth. That’s not normal. You might think that’s normal, but Athena doesn’t make stupid mistakes like that. I can’t believe I let my guard down last night.” She paused, then mumbled to herself. “Actually, I can’t believe this person got in to the Boss’s Gala.” She pinched the bridge of her nose, and threw the covers of Diana’s bed off of her before standing up. “Thank you for the… Medicine. And for wrapping my arm,” she said, waving her bandaged arm at Diana carelessly. “I’ll get out of your hair now.”
Diana said nothing as she watched Barbara struggle out of her night gown, and then, completely naked, walk around the room looking for her clothing. There was a time when Barbara would have been embarrassed to be naked in front of another person, but she was long past that. Various forms of training naked in front of various strangers in various dangerous situations ween you off of the basic human feeling of embarrassment soon enough.
She had found her clothes on the hanger in the closet near the bedroom door when Barbara heard the swish of fabric behind her, but didn’t move as she felt Diana’s cool fingers tracing the scars that now covered her abdomen. “Where did you get these?”
“Some from training, some from missions. A little something from here and there.” She said, working to keep her voice nonchalant.
“Barbara Ann…” She didn’t turn to see, but she could feel Diana’s eyes roaming up and down her naked back, and her hands continued to traces the scars that covered her.
“What?” She said harshly, unsure why a blush began spreading on her chest and cheek bones.
Diana said nothing, and her cool hands left Barbara’s back. She stood so still and so quiet that Barbara though she left, before she gasped. Diana’s lips, soft and full, had found their way onto Barbara’s back and was gently kissing each of the scars. Barbara felt her knees go weak and a moan escaped her unwilling lips as she leaned into Diana’s kisses. Her hands came up to encircle Barbara’s chest, and Barbara forgot why she was standing in front of a closet and forgot that she had just been drugged at one of the safest places in the world. “Let me return the favor tonight, Barbara Ann,” Diana whispered into her neck, making Barbara shiver as Diana’s warm breath brought goosebumps to her skin. “Even the wild can be tamed for one night.”
Barbara would have said no, but Diana had begun sucking on the sensitive skin on her neck, and once again against her wishes she whimpered, and did nothing to stop her when Diana turned Barbara around and finally, finally captured her lips again.
“Fuck you.” Barbara whispered into Diana’s lips.
She chuckled, low and deep in her chest. “Fuck me, indeed.”
When she had got up, after her legs had felt stable enough to walk on again, Diana had pulled her back down. “Stay, Barbara Ann? Please?” Diana has sighed happily into her ear, her voice soft and her eyes nearly closed, the nickname slipping off her tongue like it had never left. She had looked angelic. So Barbara had let go of the last bit of hatred that she had harboured, and felt her whole body become light enough to float away in the wind as she sank back down next to Diana.
She slept peacefully for the first time in a long time.
They had breakfast in the kitchen, Diana smiling up at her from her newspaper when she wandered into the kitchen, hair messy and barely awake.
“Good morning, Barbara Ann.” She had smiled at her, her smile warmer even than the sunlight that shone through the blinds over the windows.
“Good morning, Diana.” She had smiled at her. “What are we eating?”
“Eggs and cake. Chocolate cake.” She had looked up at Diana in surprise, almost sure for a moment that Diana knew she had always thought of Diana’s warm brown eyes as honeyed chocolate. “Thank you,” she said instead, quietly and sincerely.
She sat down and started eating. Diana returned to her newspaper, and Barbara started looking around the room. Diana’s apartment hadn’t changed much in the last decade, which in a way both surprised and didn’t surprise Barbara. She still had minimal decorum, so the only piece of decoration on the wall caught her eye immediately. It was a line of photos hanging on the wall next to the kitchen cabinet.
The photos were tinged with age, some of them black and white, and others coloured. She started on the right and worked her way down to the left, and saw that, true to form, the pictures seemed to have been organised by year, with the year they were taken neatly written in Diana’s graceful, slender handwriting on the bottom. They ranged from the 1910s to 1984. They were mostly pictures of Diana and other people, smiling and happy in a free way that Barbara had rarely seen in Diana’s eyes since before the war. There was another man in many of the photos with her, both of them dressed in outfits that looked like they had come straight out of a World War I museum. She traced her fingers over Diana’s smiling form, and hid a smile to herself. But the photos of Diana with other people had stopped in 1984. Most of the the rest of the photos on the wall were all taken by less professional hands, and only Diana appeared in them. She was always alone, and smiling the weird smile that Barbara had gotten used to.
She traced her fingers over the places where Diana had taken the photos, and realised with a start, they were all photos of places she recognized. There was the island where they had fought their final battle, the restaurant where they had shared a meal and become friends, the alleyway where Barbara had snapped at her and left, the gala, even a picture of Barbara’s office. She was confused for a moment until she came upon the last photo. It was the annual group photo the Smithsonian had forced its employers to take every year. It was the first year Barbara had been there, and something cracked in her chest when she saw her and Diana standing together in the back row, her smile wide, and Diana’s skin crinkled at the corners of her eyes. She remembered that day, remembered that she had said something Diana had found funny right before they had clicked the camera, and so the camera had captured the moment they were both laughing with true happiness.
It was the same photo framed in her apartment, on her nightstand.
She hadn’t been able to look at it for the first five years she had joined the Agency, but it had looked out of place anywhere except on hr nightstand, so with a resigned sigh, she had placed it back there.
She had stood up unconsciously, and once again, didn’t notice Diana until she caught her perfume scent behind her and leaned into her arms on instinct. Diana’s arms came to encircle her around her wait, and rested naturally on her hips. “What are you looking at, Barbara Ann?”
She looked up at Diana, who seemed even taller than before because Barbara was barefoot, and instead of answering her question, asked her own. “Why do you call me that?”
“Yeah. You never called me that—,” before, she added in her mind.
Diana contemplated the question for a moment, crinkling her brow prettily. “I don’t know. I guess I’ve just thought of you that way so much for the past decade that it just naturally slipped out when I saw you.”
“I never told you my middle name, though.” She said, the question one that had been burning in her mind since she had come to last night. She also smiled against her will at Diana’s admission that she had thought about them a lot over the past decade, but something dark had come over her heart.
“Lucky guess, then.” Diana smiled, and kissed the top of her head. “Come back to eat.” She led Diana lead her back to the table.
“You know, I never asked you, Diana.” She said, suddenly remembering something. “The armour you wore when we were on the island. The golden armour. What animal was that?”
Diana’s spine stiffened almost imperceptibly, before quickly relaxing. “What do you ask that for?”
Barbara’s voice is quiet, and not deadly yet. “Curiosity.”
Diana was quiet, and then she sighed, a dejected and sad sound. “An eagle.”
“Oh.” Barbara said, her mind reeling but her voice miraculously calm. “Well. It- It was beautiful.”
“Thank you.” The tightness in Diana’s voice hadn’t left, but she seemed slightly surprised by Barbara’s anticlimactic reaction. “I was able to salvage most of it. I made it into a mask. The mask I wore to the Gala.”
“Oh. Good. Nice.” An awkward silence engulfed the two women. Diana turned back to her food and silently began her chewing again, but Barbara… While she may have appeared calm on the outside, Barbara’s mind was racing.
An eagle. A golden eagle, nonetheless.
It all made sense.
The only other people in their Agency who had unique branding were the Boss, a Bear, and Luna, an Eagle. A Roman code name, another goddess.
An eagle. Like the golden eagle form she had taken on when Barbara had become Cheetah, in the war that felt millenniums away.
She searched names related to Luna next, and came up with a list of names. She wrote them down, careful to not miss any. She had added it with hesitation. Diana.
Diana. Like Luna. The Moon Goddess.
Diana’s golden mask on the day of the Gala. It had been blurred in Barbara’s blurred vision, but now…
Was it a golden eagle?
Why did the Boss want Diana dead?
Maybe the Boss hadn’t wanted Diana dead. Maybe they had wanted Luna dead.
How did Diana find the Dark Room?
The Dark Room was hidden, reachable only by the one elevator hidden from public view and accessible only by keycard, something only top members of the Agency had access to. Luna went to the Gala every year. She would know where most of the major rooms are. Luna was also one of the three people who had unique animal rankings. A high ranking.
But, why? Why would Diana participate in the Agency? Why would—
“Barbara Ann?” Diana’s voice had cut through Barbara’s thoughts.
Barbara Ann. Who knew Barbara’s full name? Only the Boss. The rest of the world knew her by the name Dr. Barbara Minerva, who had died in a fire. But what if Diana had gotten access to the files the Boss kept of all of them? That would make sense.
It hit Barbara like a ton of bricks. The Boss had never told her who was going to be the assassin assigned with the assassin of Diana Prince. They had only took her off the case. But if Barbara’s thoughts were correct… Then the only other person qualified in the Agency to take on Diana was… The Boss themselves.
But the Boss was dead. They would pose no threat to Diana.
But why was the Boss dead? A small voice whispered in the back of Barbara’s mind.
Because of Barbara. Barbara had murdered the Boss, and for what reason? Their mask, the one they always wore, was laughing. How can a mask laugh?
The flute of champagne, Barbara realised with a start. She had drank it, believing that the Boss would never let any harm come to the people who came to their Gala, unless they were a mark and even then the Boss preferred their assassins to finish their tasks using more physical and foolproof ways. The drinks had never, ever, been successfully spiked before, and the person who spiked it had never lived to see the next day. But if Diana could have snuck into the very rankings of the Agency itself, what’s to say she couldn’t have spiked the drink?
And it didn’t even have to be everyone’s drink. It just had to be hers, because she was the only one who could kill the Boss. She was the only one with a high enough ranking to get to be in a room alone with them.
So what could it be? What could possible make Barbara want to kill a person who generally she had nothing against?
LSD, the voice in her head answered again. It made sense. She knew what it felt like, and she was honestly shocked that she hadn’t realised this earlier. It was popular in Barbara’s youth, and she had taken it in high school in a desperate bid to seem cooler to her classmates. She had never taken it again because it had made her see things that didn’t exist, and felt hostility radiating off of people who would generally never wish her harm. Like the Boss’s mask. And the animals prancing on the wallpaper, the voice added
“Barbara?” Diana called her again, pulling her from her thoughts. “Are you OK? You haven’t touched your food since you sat back down.”
“I’m alright.” Barbara heard her own voice as if through water, muffled and slightly stilted. “I think I might just have to go home and lay down.”
Diana said nothing, just covered her hand with her own, and rubbed small circles around Barbara’s calloused hands. Calloused, from years of training to kill, to murder, to avenge. But here she was, sitting with a person who had betrayed their Agency, who had poisoned her, and she had no urge at all to fight, or to kill.
The Boss would be so disappointed, Barbara thought dryly to herself.
After leaving Diana’s, who had seemed worried and surprised but unsuspicious when Barbara had given her a peck on her cheek when she left, Barbara had returned to her small apartment, and was sitting on her bed, staring at the picture that now stood once again on her bedside table.
That was the only question that didn’t make sense to Barbara. Why would Diana, who had likely never killed a person in her life, who was so kind and compassionate even towards her with her soul stained by the blood of hundreds of missions in the past decade, join the Agency? And why would her pseudonym, Luna, have the reputation of a notorious killer, a compassionless, bloodthirsty assassin who was top of her game?
The Agency had never once assigned her to a case that required her to feel bad. Her marks had been murderers, rapists, frauds, and people who had escaped justice and, in Barbara’s humble opinion, deserved it. But even then, Diana didn’t believe in killing. Or, the Diana Barbara thought she knew didn’t. So, none of it made sense.
To seek out all the killers? No, that wouldn’t make sense. The assassins’ files would be very, very classified. For her to get her hands on Barbara’s file would already be hard enough. For her to get the others would be nearly impossible. To find the other criminals that the Boss always had an insane amount of intel on? But Diana had never needed help to extend justice to those who had escaped it. Not in the time that Barbara had known her, and though it may not have been long, she had been able to detect Max Lord’s plots long before Barbara herself, and her abilities as a fighter even at half her strength had been almost a match for Barbara, at full strength.
So, once again, the only question that plagued Barbara’s mind was…
She stared at the table on her bedside, her smiling face and Diana’s pressed close together, as she tried to understand why she felt such an undeniable pull in her stomach that told her that Diana’s reasons had something to do with her. But that was narcissistic, right, she tried to reason with herself. Why would Diana chose to partake in such a dangerous job against her beliefs for a woman, Barbara, she had known for barely a year? That didn’t make sense, in any logical or rational meaning.
She pondered the question for two days, ignoring anything outside of her home except for the news she kept blasting on the radio, until Diana broke her silence. She didn’t know how Diana got her address, as they had never really exchanged addresses, but when she opened the door to an urgent knock at, ironically, midnight, there stood Diana, tall and lithe in her grey silk pantsuit and a dark trench coat over it. She had on heels, and towered over Barbara, who wore her pyjamas. She looked glamorous, Barbara thought to herself, but this time with less dejection than admiration.
“Hello, Barbara Ann,” Diana said, who had the decency to look abashed as Barbara raised her eyebrows at her. “May I come in?”
They sat down in the living room. Or, Barbara sat down on the only chair, and Diana sat down on the couch, two of the few pieces of furniture Barbara owned. As they sat down, Barbara watched Diana, who for the first time since they’ve known each other couldn’t seem to bring herself to look at Barbara, and instead picked at her nails. The nervous habit was strangely endearing, and Barbara felt something warm rise up in her at the sight of Diana nervous to speak to her. She said nothing however, not willing to let Diana off the hook so easily, and waited for Diana to start the conversation.
After a few more minutes of silence, Diana sighed, a deep and dejected sound. “Barbara Ann, I’ve come to apologise and tell you the truth.”
“Oh?” Barbara raised an eyebrow. “Is it the truth that Luna, the notorious assassin, is actually Diana Prince, world-renowned philanthropist and whose alter-ego is the world-saving Wonder Woman? Is it the truth that Luna spiked my drink with LSD, which was for the purposes of me killing the Boss so Luna could protect herself?”
Diana opened her mouth, and then closed it again. She wrung her hands in her lap for a second, and nodded wordlessly.
“Well, you’re a bit late.”
“I- I understand. But, if you’ll let me, I wanted to explain myself.” She took a deep breath, and said, as if plunging into the deep end of a pool, “The Agency had intel I needed, access to insider information, a-way-for-me-to-know-how-you-were-doing, and a chance to understand the hierarchy of assassins as well as their employers.”
“I’m sorry? What was that middle bit? Between the hierarchy and the insider information?”
Diana looked down at her hands again, and said, quietly enough that Barbara would have missed it if she hadn’t been listening closely. “A way for me to know how you were doing.”
“How I was doing?” Barbara stared at the women in front of her incredulously. “What do you mean how I was doing? You mean, after you took away my wish, after you ruined my life, after you left me for your ‘old friend’? After all of that?” Her voice had gotten more and more heated as she spoke, but she couldn’t help it. The mask she had carefully cultivated in Diana’s absence over the past decade was slowly crumbling, and not only did Barbara not try to stop it, she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to stop it.
“I had no choice, Barbara Ann. You saw the destruction Max’s wish had caused. You think I didn’t give up something I cared deeply about to save the rest of the world?” Diana’s voice was filled with sadness, but she didn’t raise her voice. She stared deep into Barbara’s eyes, and all Barbara could see was Diana’s chocolate brown eyes, still filled with warmth and love.
“I don’t care,” Barbara was well aware at this point how immature she sounded, but how dare Diana just ignore how much she had hurt her? How dare she? “I don’t care what you had to give up. People move on, Diana. We move on. Human are meant to adapt to new situations. Why couldn’t you? Why did you think you could just waltz into my life, become my best friend, my only one, and then just leave, and never call unless you needed something? Why?” Her voice cracked, and against all of her wishes she felt angry tears welling in her eyes.
“I- I, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how much I was hurting you.” Diana whispered.
“Yes, I can tell,” Barbara said, dryly. “What do you want from me now then, Diana?”
Diana reached out, and paused, waiting for Barbara to withdraw her hand, and when she say that she didn’t, took Barbara’s hand. “I want to apologise, Barbara Ann, for all the hurt I’ve caused you. For ignoring you, and for using you. I had attended the Fame Gala for two reasons. Firstly, to reconcile with you, as that night would have been the last night I would have remained an assassin, and I would have no more chances to see you after that. I hadn’t meant to harm you; I had no idea that the LSD would cause you such large hallucinations. Originally, I wanted to approach you while you were under its influence and find some way to reconcile with you.” She raised her other hand hand at Barbara’s protests. “I know that seems like a terrible way to do it. But after our last encounter, I felt sure that you would want nothing to do with me unless you weren’t so defensive, and LSD was the only thing I could come up with on such short notice. I wore the eagle mask so that you would think I was Luna and approach me.” She paused here, looking down at their entwined hands, and almost as if she were afraid to meet Barbara’s eyes.
“I had just wanted to talk to you at first. But then, you said something about the Boss wanting to kill Diana, and I realised you hadn’t realised that I was Luna. It was only then I knew how much the Boss wanted me disposed of. You see, my second purpose in attending the Gala last night had originally also been to capture the Boss. But after you told me that you were given me as your mark, I knew the Boss would be prepared for me. However, they still trusted you, and you had clearance, so after I saw how inebriated you were, I wanted you to take me to them, allowing me to then capture them. What I had forgotten to take into account for was your abilities.” She paused again. “You are no longer the Barbara that I knew. In the past, you were fast and strong, but you were untrained. Now, you were lethal, a deadly weapon. I had expected to walk into the Dark Room using your clearance, and then, depending on how well our conversation had went, either fight both you and the Boss or fight the Boss with you. But instead, I walked in to the Boss, bleeding on the floor, and you, standing over them with blood all over your dress, panting down at them as though you were an animal standing over a fresh kill.”
Barbara shuddered, remembering the haze in which she had been in when Diana had walked in.
Diana’s hand rubbed Barbara’s knuckle in a comforting way as she continued. “I was almost afraid to approach you, but when I did, you looked up at me, and all the ferociousness melted away, and you were just the same Barbara, my Barbara Ann, who had looked up at me when I helped you pick up your papers that first day in the Smithsonian. I don’t know how, or if you read my mind, but you said the same thing you had said to me that day. Then you lost consciousness, and I carried you out.”
“What about the Boss’s body? How did you deal with it?”
“I didn’t do anything. I called the FBI, who had been waiting outside for me to capture the Boss and bring them to them, and told them that the Boss had died in the fight. They cleaned up everything after that. I was glad that you didn’t pull your typical Athena method on them; that would have been harder to explain.” She chuckled, though the sound lacked the warmth of Diana’s usual laugh.
“So, that’s it?” Barbara asked quietly.
“Yes. That’s it, Barbara Ann. I promise, I had no ill intentions against you that night. I…” She mumbled something that Barbara didn’t hear. “What did you say?”
“I missed you.” Diana said, as sincerely as she had been since she came in.
“…Oh.” A pause. “I still have our picture on my bedside table, you know.” Barbara said, and she smiled sincerely, for what felt like the first time in, well, a decade.
“So. That’s all you wanted to say, is it, Diana?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“So what do you want from me, then, Diana?” She repeated her question, though with less anger.
“I want…” Diana shut her mouth, and brought her other hand to cover Barbara’s hand as well. “I- I missed you too much, Barbara Ann. I don’t want to ever go through that again.”
“…What are you saying?” “You know, you’re free from the Agency now. The Agency is non-existent anymore. Your skills would likely still be in high demand in other agencies, but besides that…” Diana gestured at the decorations in the room, rocks and art that Barbara had gotten from her various missions, a guilty habit of hers that she couldn’t shake. “I can tell you still love gemmology. You can still go back to academia.” Diana said suddenly, and Barbara blinked at the non-sequitur.
“I guess so. I haven’t thought of that yet.”
Diana nodded, and then hesitated again, before saying, “I guess what I’m saying then, is I want to be back in your life again. As your colleague, as your friend, and…”
Barbara prodded. “And?”
“As your lover.” A faint blush spread against Diana’s skin, the color bringing out the faint freckles on her skin.
Barbara thought about it for a second, and then nodded, feeling her ears heat up as well. “Let’s see, Diana Prince.”
Diana leaned forward, and kissed their entwined hands. “Thank you, Barbara Ann. That’s all I want.”
Well, that's it! I honestly have never written anything so long, so I'm super proud of myself for finishing this. Also, happy 2022 everyone, and I might post an epilogue later! Happy new year, and thank you for reading my fic!
Chapter 6: Epilogue
happy 2022, everyone!
Diana stomped off the snow on her boots on the door mat, and stepped into the warmly lit home, a sweet aroma already drifting from the kitchen. She hung her bag on the rings near the door, and shook her hair out of its ponytail, allowing the silky brown curls to bounce in the air. She stepped out of her boots, and called out while loosening her coat. “Barbara Ann, darling? I’m home!”
“Hello, love. How was your day?” Barbara materialised seemingly out of nowhere, and placed a kiss on Diana’s lips. She was wearing a long red sweater with nothing else, her blond hair loose and her face slightly red from the warmth.
“It was lovely. I missed you.” Diana said, grabbing Barbara by the waist and pulling her in, trapping her in an embrace.
Barbara leaned her head on Diana’s chest and laughed, a twinkling sound that filled Diana with warmth. “I missed you, too, love.” She let herself lean into Diana’s warmth for another second before pulling out of her hug. “Come on, we have to start cooking! It’s almost a new year, and I intend on starting it with a bang.” She stretched up and whispered in Diana’s ears: “Especially since we’ll probably be here for the rest of time itself.”
Diana laughed quietly, her warm breath sparking goosebumps down Barbara’s back. “Oh, Barbara Ann, you have no idea how much I’m looking forward to that.”
They were interrupted by a beeping in the kitchen, and Barbara quickly extracted herself from Diana.“Aw, shoot, the chicken.” Diana watched as Barbara sped off to the kitchen, her lean legs flexing and the muscles in her calves flexing. She followed soon after tugging off her coat and hanging it on the coat hangers, and paused for a moment at the kitchen doorway, just to take in the view.
Barbara was struggling with the chicken, her hair hastily pulled up in a knot, her nose wrinkling with exertion as she laid the chicken on a board. “Here, let me help you with that, darling.” Diana said, crossing the kitchen and taking the carving knife from Barbara with her long elegant fingers. Barbara relinquished hold on the knife, and watched as Diana cut the chicken, her long fingers flexing, and suddenly her mind was no longer on the chicken.
She crossed quietly to behind Diana, and wrapper her arms around Diana’s waist. “Hm?” Diana hummed.
“I’m hungry, love.” Barbara pouted.
“The chicken will be ready in a moment, Barbara Ann.” She could hear the smile in Diana’s voice.
“But I’m hungry now…” Barbara whined, her hands starting to move around on Diana’s back.
“Oh?” Diana said, catching on, and Barbara had the pleasure of once again seeing the tips of her ears reddening. “How can I help with that?”
Barbara said nothing, just sidestepped Diana and plucked the knife out of her hand, laying it gingerly down on the board. Then, she turned Diana towards her. “I want an appetiser.” She whispered into Diana’s ear.
Diana swallowed, and said: “I can help with that.” She tilted Barbara’s face up, and captured her lips in her own. Barbara moaned into their kiss, and Diana, with that superhuman strength that never failed to give Barbara a spark of pleasure deep in her, picked her up bride-style, and carried her down the hallway to their bedroom, still deep in their kiss.
“Happy new year, my love.” Barbara whispered into Diana’s hair, feeling serene and floating on happiness. Both of them were slightly out of breath, and the lights of New York shined through the window in their bedroom as the city stayed awake to celebrate the new year.
“Happy 2022, Barbara Ann. And to many more.” Diana said, smiling into the dark.