We're ready. No matter what happens. Or what we become.
For the short time that they’d known each other, Carol Danvers had proved herself more than a hero--and a friend, too. A friend from an entirely different reality, with it’s own heroes, it’s own rules, it’s own gods.
Diana was all too happy to share Themyscira with her, even after the week she’d been having, trapped in the depths of hell. She still saw herself, a savage avatar of war, mad with bloodlust, when she closed her eyes. She still could smell the steel and blood and the acrid air even in Themyscira, and she still felt trapped, even in the green forests and the open houses of Themyscira.
She pushed it away as far as possible as she showed Carol the island, from the tops of the hills, to the sprawling forests, to her sisters who still trained, still made weapons and song and poetry. It was interwoven with stories of herself as a child: climbing the walls, pranking the women on the island, the wistful stories of her mother and Phillipus--and of course, asking for stories of Carol’s home in turn, where she could.
It wasn’t long until she guided Carol to a hill overlooking the beach, the surf coming in strongly, the cries of gulls filling their ears. The horse she’d taken to ride with Carol, she allowed her to wander, content to simply walk to where she needed to go.
“That is where I met Steve Trevor,” she pointed to one of the coves within her line of sight, knowing Carol could follow, “He was the only one of his crew left--and it’s where my journey to the Patriarch's world started.” Diana traced her finger along the cove, to the west. “We departed there--and it has been a long, long time since I have seen this beach. One of the small mercies of this new reality is that I have been able to come home.”
“Your Steve Trevor’s a stud in the movie,” Carol offered, chuckling a little. “I prefer this version though,” she continued, feeling her good-natured assurance soften. “Yours,” came the elaboration. “.. It’s important that you can come here.”
She’d looked over at her companion fondly; noting the gratitude in the dark-haired woman’s voice with a small nod. The Amazonian beauty wasn’t wrong. The concept of ‘home’ was something that Carol’d done her share of ruminating over. What was home these days? Was San Francisco home? It wasn’t the same San Francisco she’d known, not New York or even Boston or Maine, but it wasn’t a cheap imitation of any, either. The questions muddied themselves back into white noise as the blonder of the two women crossed her arms over her chest. It did nothing to keep the wind from whipping her hair around (ace decision), but it forced her to drink in the air.. To be conscious of every single breath and heartbeat and moment she spent in this paradise.. With Wonder Woman. Carol let out a breath of amusement at the reminder. Their new world was a wild one; they’d bested demons less than twenty-four hours ago, and here they stood.. In Diana’s homeland, with warriors of legend; people Carol had only read about in books.
Toto, we most certainly aren’t in Kansas anymore.
“We don’t have much of anything to hold onto in the bay area,” she supposed, looking out over the water, counting the birds and gauging the rhythm of the waves: “.. Not like we did in all the different places we’ve come from,” Carol continued; “.. This,” she exhaled, shaking her head and looking back over at Diana with a small smile -- it wasn’t sympathetic, wasn’t pitying or sad -- it was warm. Certain.
“This is one of the exceptions.”
A brazen laugh left Diana at the description of the other Steve. “I only saw a glimpse,” she admitted, chuckling. “He resembles my Steve but--” but he didn’t matchi him, exactly. The way he looked at her, the way he moved, what she felt. “It wasn’t quite the same.”
She watched Carol’s face intently--less out of instinct and more out of sheer curiosity, admiration. Even in a life that was seen as fantastical as her own, it was still fascinating to meet Carol and others from her own universe, to hear her perspective. Even if she didn’t voice every thought, Diana could feel what she meant under her words, having to wrap her head around this reality where they were known, were commodified in ways Diana hadn’t even imagined they could be…
“It is, though I do not quite understand how,” Diana pushed her hair back from her face, frowning lightly. “I do not believe that it is simply a stroke of luck, or my gods at work. Even their power is limited.” Not that she wanted to delve into that, and not on sacred down. “No one has answers here, nothing concrete. I have heard that some of us-- some of us go back, and some have been here for years. I-- I fear that maybe this is our fate, here and now.”
Diana’s voice was steady, and there wasn’t exactly fear in her voice so much as it was hesitance, at the potential future they were staring down.
Diana had a point that’d drawn a long exhale from Carol. Maybe this was their fate.
It had been a routine of defend first, think later in the few weeks that she’d found herself in Cara Davies’ life; the remnants of her own had been so few and far between, so small and deep, that she’d buried herself into the common good -- the protection of the more-obvious fragments of her world that she’d been able to find. Maybe, if she could outpower whatever had threatened them in the first place, once she did, they’d have time to rebuild. They’d have time to heal. Defend first, think later.
“We aren’t what we were,” she mused, “.. And they aren’t what we thought they were either. Gods. Titans. Demons..” It wasn’t a crime to question things; was it? Carol looked over at her compatriot -- her equal from another world -- tilting her head in a way that signaled some sort of budding, forced reconciliation of realities. Carol didn’t exactly look like she was jumping for joy at the current state of affairs, and yet..
“Good thing is, there isn’t much out there that’s bigger or scarier than us,” she offered, laying herself on the metaphoric tracks as she spoke. Her words were daring, her willingness to push forward admirable; they came first in the outward order of operations. Heart undergirded it; it came in the form of a quieter, fuller shine in her eye that went unaddressed.
Marvel understood Wonder, and with a small smile -- she extended a gloved hand.
Diana listened, knowing what Carol meant. What this meant for the both of them, for the countless friends and enemies and gods and monsters.
“No, we aren’t. We’re…”
Diana lingered on the words. Were they more? Less?
There were stories here in this world that she knew were hers, and yet knew that they weren’t. There were girls here who shouted her name, who rejoiced at the versions of her out there.
Even in her world, where she had seen this, it was different here. Everything was different.
How many times had she found herself, a child of clay and will, changed? How many times did she find herself in the middle of a play of the gods, how many times had she found herself in a situation that she never imagined herself in?
How many times had she watched? How many things had she survived?
It was becoming countless. It felt that it always would be countless. And Carol’s words, Carol’s daring assured her in a way that Diana was starting to feel was always at the surface of her being.
She lets her words hang, before reaching out for Carol’s gloved hand. She takes her hand, firmy, and smiles at this woman, this friend of hers who she knew she’d never have met without these strange times.
“We’re ready. No matter what happens. Or what we become.”
FINAL WORD COUNT: 1428