"Barbara please! Renounce your wish!" Diana shouts over the raging storm around them. The wind threatening to drown out her voice.
For seconds she's met only with silence.
Then there's a hiss.
Diana whirls around, and there she is. Perched on a cliff above, Cheetah paced back on forth, changes all illuminated by the moonlight. Like a predator stalking its prey.
"Now, why ever would I do that?" Her sultry voice mocked. "Then again, I wouldn't expect you, of all people to understand."
"Barbara please! This isn't you!"
Resounding laughter filled the air. It wasn't the good kind.
"Oh Diana, of course it isn't. Barbara Minerva was weak, all alone. Never capable of anything."
Diana's heart sank at her words.
"But Barbara's gone, and I am Cheetah." With a snarl, Cheetah lept off the cliff's edge, claws out, straight for her.
Taken by surprise, Diana was tossed backwards over the railings, Cheetah along with her.
The harsh impact on the groud tosses them apart, her amour clattering against the rough rocks. Yet, they're quick to react. This time, when Cheetah springs towards her, Diana isn't under prepared.
Bringing both arms up, she grunts as Asteria's wings are swiped and clawed at. It's golden feathers falling off one by one.
The final straw occurs when Cheetah comes close enough, prying the wings open with her claws. Diana sees the look of pure resentment and hatred in her eyes.
Gathering her strength, Diana shoves her back with a heavy blow. Shrugging off the wings, she stands, and finally faces Cheetah.
"You renounced your wish."
"I had to," Diana says. "And so will you."
It happens in a matter of seconds, Cheetah leaps, running along the side of the wall. But so does Diana, and she's faster.
Narrowly avoiding her, she grabs Cheetah by the scruff on her neck and throws her onto tje ground with a thud.
Reaching for her lasso, Diana catches it on a tower above, and pulls herself up. And Cheetah catches on, but not for long. Her grip on the lasso loosens, and she's sent tumbling down.
Until her claws grab ahold of one of the power cords, and using the momentum of the fall, swings herself right back up to Diana.
Tussling mid-air, Diana manages to land a successful hit, tossing Cheetah against a tower.
Yet she still manages to land on her feet.
Running along the falling towers, Cheetah grabs onto a broken power cord and leaps off the edge. Right into Diana.
But a falling tower presses on both of their ropes, sending them both into the water.
Grabbing Cheetah again, Diana pins her against a rock.
"Barbara please! I know you're in there! Fight it! And renounce your wish! Please!" She begs.
A normal person might have missed it, but Diana didn't.
For a split second, Cheetah's narrow, yellow eyes had flickered to an ocean blue.
Her relief was shortlived, however, when those familiar blue eyes reverted back to the sharp yellow.
Cheetah hissed, and lunged for her.
At the corner of her eye, Diana caught sight of a broken power cord, seconds away from hitting the water.
And she made her decision.
Using all her strength, Diana kept Cheetah in the water right as the power cord touched the water, sending electric currents strong enough to kill a human through the water.
Her heart ached, as she watched Cheetah's body seize repeatedly underwater. Despite knowing that the shocks wouldn't kill her, a part of Diana knew this wasn't right.
As Cheetah's body begin to sink, she reached down and grabbed her, pulling her to dry land.
If this didn't work, Diana didn't know what else to do.
Placing Cheetah on the ground, she tried again.
"Barbara! If you can hear me, if you're still somewhere in there, please, renounce your wish!"
"I don't know what else to do, and I don't want to lose you, so please, if you're listening. Renounce your wish," Diana pleaded.
"D-Diana?" Her eyes were blue.
"Barbara," Diana breathed. "It's me. Please renounce your wish. Please."
Barbara shook her head, as if trying to fight off something inside.
"But I don't want to be all alone," she pants. "That's what it keeps telling me. I don't have anyone. With it, I'm not lonely anymore."
"No," Diana says, "Barbara, that's not true, you have me."
The look in Barbara's eyes makes Diana want to punch everyone who ever made her feel this way.
There's a yearning in her eyes, "Are you telling the truth?" She asks, there's a rush of child-like innocence in it.
"I don't want to be alone."
"You won't be, I promise. I'll always be here."
Barbara lets out a relieved sigh at this. She reaches a hand out for Diana, who takes it and squeezes tight.
"Please don't go."
"I won't," she assures.
Barbara's smile is weak, "Good."
"I renounce my wish."
There was a blinding flash of light.
Barbara woke in a bed that undoubtedly did not belong to her. She groaned, a wave of pain hitting her head as she sat up.
Where was she?
Taking in her surroundings, she paused to admire how nicely decorated the room was. Every piece of furniture, every detail. It looked like something out of an Ikea catalogue.
It was then that she noticed the glass on water sitting on the bedside table, accompanied by some Advil. Popping a pill in her mouth, Barbara took a gulp of water.
Leaning back against a mountain of the softest pillows she had ever felt, she let out a sigh.
She had an inkling as to who's house she was currently situated in, and didn't know if she had the courage to go out there and face it yet.
To face her yet.
For the next five minutes, Barbara spent staring up and the ceiling contemplating. Gathering up the courage to just step out.
With a big huff, she swung herself to the side of the bed. She had to leave this room sooner or later, might as well be now.
Tip toeing her way across the carpeted floor, she reached for the door's handle, determined to generate as little noise as possible. But to no avail, as it swung open with a loud creak.
"Oh shit. Shit shit shit," Barbara cursed softly.
Across the living room, Diana looked up.
Even while seated at the dining table, book in one hand and mug in the other, she still managed to look so- so beautiful, Barbara thought.
Her hair fell in messy waves, framing her sharp jawline. A simple tank top and shorts making no difference to the way she could stand in a room and time would come to a standstill.
"Hey, you're awake," Diana said softly, setting down her mug.
Barbara's eyes widened at being caught. "Y-yeah."
It could have just been a part of her wishful thinking, but Diana seemed glad? Happy, even, to see her?
And now she was walking towards Barbara.
There was a faint aroma of coffee lingering on her, she noted.
"How are you feeling? Did you take the Advil?" She asked. Was Diana concerned? About her?
"I wasn't sure if it'd help, or if that you'd feel nauseous or anything," Diana paused, studying her.
"Do you feel nauseous? Because you were out for so long and I thought you probably had a concussion because-" She stops mid-sentence, unsure, as if afraid to continue.
Barbara weakly raised an eyebrow at her hesitance.
"Relax Diana, I'm fine. My head just-"
She doesn't even manage to get out two sentences before a wave of pain hits her head. This time worse than the previous ones.
It stops her in tracks, causing her to sway dangerously on her feet. And if not for Diana, she'd already be flat on the floor.
Speaking of Diana, who's arms were currently wrapped around her body tightly, preventing her fall.
Through her haze, Barbara's gaze flickered up, and her eyes met dark, concerned, worried ones.
She couldn't help but laugh at the irony. Their situation so terribly similar to one of their first interactions, when Diana had been her knight in stunning white dress, saving her from an assaulter.
But Diana doesn't miss the way her face contorts, and grimaces with pain.
Bringing an arm to support both her legs, the other pressed against her back, Diana effortlessly lifts her up. Carrying Barbara across the living room and placing her so gently onto the couch.
"Diana I-" She tries, the pain in her head preventing her from forming a coherent thought.
"Rest, Barbara. We can talk when you're feeling better," Diana says, placing a pillow under her head. And she buries her face into it.
Barbara doesn't remember much after that.
Yet the feeling of fingers delicately running though her hair lingers on for hours after she wakes.
This time, Barbara woke to soft rays of sunlight streaming from the balcony, hitting her face. The faint smell of bacon wafting from what she assumed was the kitchen.
Sitting up and rubbing her eyes, she was pleasantly surprised when she wasn't hit by a wave of excruciating pain.
Placing her feet on the ground, Barbara's foot immediately came into contact with something. Glancing down, she was confused by the pillow and the blanket that lay next to the couch.
But if there's already a pillow and a blanket on the couch, then- why are these on the ground? I didn't drop them while I was sleeping did I? Barbara thought. "Wha-"
Then it hit her.
Had she really spent the night beside her? On the cold, hard floor? When she had her own bed in the other room?
Her train of thought was interrupted by the sound of footsteps nearing.
"You're awake! Good morning!" Diana greeted her, balacing plates on both arms.
Barbara didn't know what to say, staring back at her, mouth agape.
Setting the plates down on the table, Diana turned to face the blonde. A cheery smile adorning her face.
"I made breakfast!" She said. "That is- if you feel well enough to eat it?" A hesitant look took the place of a previous smile.
At her invitation, Barbara lifted herself onto her feet.
Only to have Diana rush to her side.
"Are you feeling okay to walk? If you aren't you can just say so. I can help," Diana's concern for her made her heart skip a beat, even if she daren't admit it.
"It's okay, Diana. I'm feeling fine," she says.
She could've sworn she saw Diana face flush. But then again, hers did too.
Nodding silently, Diana led them back to the table.
Barbara's cheeks turned pink yet again when she pulled out a chair for her.
"Thanks," she mumbled, heart racing.
The soft smile Diana sent her did not help.
It was then that her stomache chose to let out an embarrassingly large growl. Causing her eyes to widen in horror.
Diana's tinkling laughter was what allowed her to breathe again.
"I'm sorry, I- I don't know how it didnt occur to me that you'd be hungry after two days without food," she apologises.
"Here, I made some porridge for you," she says, sliding a bowl across the table. "I'm sorry if it doesn't taste very good, I've been trying to learn and-"
"It is?" Diana asks, genuinely troubled.
Barbara's heart tightened just the littlest bit at that. Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, not to mention demigod, worried about a mere mortal.
She sends her a small smile, hoping that she'll know it's true.
Diana grins back.
They spend the next ten minutes eating in silence. That is, until Barbara finishes.
Despite finishing the entire bowl of porridge, she found her stomache not quite filled. Yet, she refused to say anything about it, not wanting to trouble Diana, who'd only been so good and wonderful to her so far, who wasn't done eating yet.
Barbara wasn't about to ask her, mid-meal, to stop just because she wasn't full yet.
So she kept her mouth shut.
She didn't realise that she'd been subconsciously eyeing Diana's food until it was too late.
"Are you still hungry?"
At that question, she immediately snapped out of her trance, face turning face at the aspect of being caught red-handed.
"No...?" Barbara tried lying.
All it took was one raised eyebrow from Diana for her to crack.
"Okay yes," she starts rambling. "It's just- your bacon looks so good and I know you already put some in my porridge but yours is just sitting there looking so tempting but I didn't, no, don't, want to steal your food and-"
"Barbara." This time, it's Diana who cuts her off.
"You could've just asked."
"What?" Barbara says, confused.
She watches, as Diana cuts a rather generous piece of bacon from her plate, stabs it with her fork, and-- oh god, brings it to Barbara's lips.
Her mind blanks out for a couple of seconds as she stares at the daunting peice of bacon, making Diana chuckle.
"Here," she says, waving it slightly infront of Barbara. "Open?"
Upon Diana's command, her mouth falls open, partially due to her shock, but it works anyway.
The piece of bacon drops into her mouth and Barbara thinks it just might be the best damn piece of bacon she's ever had in her entire life.
Diana laughs again.
When they're done, Barbara meekly offers to do the dishes seeing as Diana cooked. Only to be brushed aside with, "I will do it. You, rest."
She wasn't about to argue with a literal goddess.
Finding her place back on the couch, she begins folding the blankets and fluffing the pillows. Tidying, to satisfy her desperate need of something to occupy herself with.
She's done in less than five minutes.
With nothing else left to do, Barbara fiddled with her hands. Her breaths quicken as the flashbacks of the events of the past week all rush back to her, no matter how hard she tries to stop them.
-H-hi, thank you."
"You know, we could go and grab early dinner,
And talk about how lame that stone is-
"Are you okay?-
-Yeah, thank you."
"Go home, okay? Goodnight."
"I do know what I'd wish for.
To be like Diana.
Strong, sexy, cool.
"It's been a pleasure, Miss Minerva-
Oh it's Doctor, actually."
-I can't let you touch him Diana."
"Barbara please! Renounce your wish!-
"Barbara? Barbara! Are you okay? Can you hear me?"
She doesn't realise that her chest is heaving and tears are running down her cheeks until Diana's steady hands are on her shoulders.
"Deep breaths, okay? Can you do that for me?" Diana's voice is laced with worry, yet firm. "Just focus on my voice."
Inhaling deep gulps of air, Barbara clenches the folded blankets on her lap so tightly her knuckles turn white.
Diana moves and sits herself beside her, holding her when the hyperventilating turns to crying.
Pulling her close, Diana lets the blonde bury her face into her side when her cries grow. Her heart aches at the sight, yet all she can do is run her hand along Barbara's arm, and pray that she understands.
Understands that she cares.
When Barbara stops shaking and cries soften, Diana gently pulls away from her.
Neither of them saying anything about the sudden loss of physical contact.
"Are you feeling better?" She asks cautiously.
Barbara sniffs and repeatedly wipes at her eyes, "Yeah, I- oh God, I'm so sorry. I don't know what happened and I didn't mean to do that. I'm so so sorry, I can leave if you want me to, I've-"
Her rambling is halted when a soft, comforting hand is placed on her knee.
"Hey, no," Diana says. "I would never ask you to leave, okay? You are, and will always be welcome here."
"But we do need to talk."
Barbara lets out a sigh at that.
"Yeah, we do."
She decides she doesn't want to fight it, not anymore.
"I'm sorry," Diana starts.
"What for?" Barbara asks quietly. "This all started because of me. Not you."
"That's not true."
"How would you know that?"
Getting up from where she's seated, Diana leaves the room, and returns with the Lasso of Hestia.
The sight of it causes Barbara to falter. Diana sees it in her eyes.
Taking one end of the lasso, she wraps it around her wrist.
"Barbara, I would only ever speak the truth to you. But I would never ask you to do the same. That would be unfair of me to expect."
The genuine care and kindness that she sees reflect in Diana's eyes is what makes the decision for her.
With trembling fingers, Barbara picks up the other end of the lasso, gingerly wrapping it around her wrist.
Though neither of them say it, they understand.
If you choose to be vulnerable around me, then I choose to be vulnerable around you.
"Why are you so nice to me?"
Diana tilts her head at the question.
"Why, even after all I've done, why do you still help me?"
"Because I care about you, Barbara."
"But why?" she presses. "Why do you care about me?"
"Because you matter to me, because you're special, because you're you."
The lasso glows.
"Because no matter how many times you tell yourself that you aren't worth it, doesn't change the fact that you are."
"But I've made so many mistakes," she whispers. "Why would I still be worth it?"
"You're not wrong," Diana says, her agreement causes Barbara to look up. "But so have I."
"I'm not perfect, I'm far from it. I make mistakes, just as you do."
"All I wanted was to become stronger," she says. "Like you."
"You already are," Diana replies.
And Barbara wants to doubt, but the lasso glowing a brilliant gold around her wrist says otherwise.
"You are strong in the way you stand by your principles, your morals. Your power lies in your kindness towards others, and the people around you, regardless of their status."
Diana continues, "Your passion for what you love is admirable, dedication as well."
"You are strong in the ways I am not."
"So yes, you have made mistakes. As have I. But we can learn from them. We can grow from them."
"I've hurt people," Barbara says, voice shaky. "I've hurt you."
"Oh Barbara. I've hurt you too."
She takes the blonde's hand in hers.
"So perhaps, if you're willing, we can learn how to be strong together," Diana finishes, tears in her eyes, waiting.
Barbara looks up, and teary eyes meet.
"Yes," it comes out as a whisper. "Always."
Holding each other, the girls curl up on the couch, tears falling.
Yet with the hope of a new day living, and the promise of change beating like a heart.
three years later
Sliding her keys into the lock, Diana lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding.
Today had been a long day.
Pushing the door open, she kicked her heels to the side, a haphazard mess compared to the other pair sitting neatly on the shelf.
Making her way towards the balcony, a soft smile worked it's way onto her face when she took notice of the sight before her.
She tip-toed the rest of the way, determined to not be noticed until she got close enough.
Wrapping her arms gently around her girlfriend, Diana giggled at her surprised gasp.
"Hey yourself," Barbara said, spinning them around so that it was Diana who had her back pressed against the balcony railings.
"Why didn't I hear you come in?"
"You were busy," Diana teases, face dangerously close to Barbara's.
"Yeah," she says, humoring her girlfriend.
Offering both palms to Diana, Barbara grins when her girlfriend interwines their fingers.
With a tiny tug, she pulls their bodies close. This time, it's Diana's turn to whoop in surprise.
Pressed close against each other, they both let out happy sighs.
"I've missed you," Diana says, before pressing a soft kiss on her lips.
"You saw me this morning before we left for work," Barbara mumbles, leaning into her kiss.
"True, but who's to say you didn't miss me too?"
Barbara laughs at her girlfriend's antics.
"You're terrible, Miss Prince," she says, looking her in the eye.
"True again," Diana hums in agreement. "But you love me."
"I do," Barbara says.
Diana's about to kiss her cheek, when she pulls away, in mock thought.
"What does that say about me?"
They hold each other's gaze for less than five seconds before they fall into the other's arms, bursting into giggles.
It's a good three minutes later, when they finally stop wheezing.
They're wrapped up in each other when at the corner of her eye, Diana catches her girlfriend's rose-tinted lips moving just ever so slightly.
She never once seemed to tear her eyes away from the illuminated night sky.
"What are you doing?" Diana asks.
To her chagrin, Barbara blushes at her question.
She tries brushing it off, "You don't want to know."
Which only gains the interest of her girlfriend further.
"Yes I do," Diana insists.
"No, you don't."
"Yes I do."
"No, you don't."
"Yes I do."
Barbara sighs. "How do you always win?"
"You let me and you know it," her girlfriend says, with a triumphant grin. "Now tell me."
Turning to face the sky, she leans closer to Diana.
"I'm naming the stars after the people I love."
Her girlfriend's eyes lit up at that.
Her lips part, milliseconds away from teasing Barbara when she pauses, and closes her mouth.
"Do I get a star?" Diana asks, amusement laced in her voice.
Rolling her eyes, Barbara mumbled.
"You get the sun."
Diana doesn't stop swooning and kissing her girlfriend for forever.