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Even if unwilling

by Te

[Story Headers]

Even if unwilling
by Te
March 10, 2004

Disclaimers: Profoundly not mine.

Spoilers: Sort of for Young Justice #44-45. Sort of.

Summary: Wonder Girl drinks. Arrowette copes.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Author's Note: Livia showed me this particular AU of Wonder Girl. I fell madly in love.

Title from Euripides' "Bacchae":

"For this city must learn, even if it is unwilling, that it is not initiated into my Bacchic rites, and that I plead the case of my mother, Semele, in appearing manifest to mortals as a divinity whom she bore to Zeus."

Acknowledgments: To Jack and Livia for audiencing and encouragement. Jack also found me that title.


Wonder Girl is drunk.

This is hardly news, but it's rather like the weather. No one is surprised by a rainy day, but if it's a torrential rain (or perhaps one of toads or fairy princesses), it's worth noting.

If only to yourself.

For reasons of her own, Wonder Girl had designated this to be a day of tequila. From what Arrowette has been able to make out about Wonder Girl's rather odd (and disturbing) relationship with Dionysus, the god does not approve of this sort of deviation.

"Wine," Wonder Girl had said, while morosely tracing patterns in a bit of spilled red, "is my heritage and my birthright." And then she had glared in Arrowette's general direction, forehead scrunching ominously even as the flowers in her hair had remained perfectly fragrant and still. "But I don't like wine."

Which is a lie, though not an especially egregious one. Wonder Girl likes wine the way most people like their air to be a nice mix of nitrogen and oxygen. It's something necessary, and necessarily thoughtless.

Tasteless, Arrowette sometimes thinks.

There can't possibly still be any sort of special pleasure in the stuff for Wonder Girl. Even the moodiest, most difficult child will eventually grow tired of peanut butter sandwiches.

So. There are Whiskey Days, which are marked by trips through space (and time, though Arrowette tries not to think about it too much. It's bad enough that they've all been forced to get religion, of one sort or another), as Young Justice finds one bar, pub, and flat-out dive after another, fighting whatever crime they come across while Wonder Girl tries to decide which eye-watering whiskey is the best.

There are Beer Days, which tend to be deeply exciting in one way or another, with the fraternity types Wonder Girl attracts mindlessly and effortlessly at those times. The Bacchanal is in her, of her, through her. Sometimes there's singing. The morning afters tend to be messy, though.

And there are, of course, Tequila Days, which start early and last... for rather a while. Dionysus seems to be especially perturbed by Wonder Girl's taste for the stuff, and her powers wax dangerously.

Arrowette picks her way through the rubble of their latest headquarters, following the sound of argument and laughter.

Wonder Girl is mocking the Secret, as she does, taunting him to solidify so that she can share... Arrowette checks: Jose Cuervo.

Perhaps there'll be another Beer Day soon.

The last time Harm had given in to Wonder Girl's whim to share her constant, fulsome inebriation with the boy, they'd lost him. Almost entirely. They'd had to track down a medium to lure the boy back from... wherever he had gone.

Since Wonder Girl had used wine, Dionysus had laughed it off, and trailed flowers over the bodice of her uniform.

It had taken weeks for them to get rid of the things. Arrowette doesn't think people realize quite how seriously Wonder Girl takes the integrity of her uniform, that bastardized tunic and skirt.

"It was his joke on me," Wonder Girl had said, and licked a few stray drops from the lip of a bottle of champagne. "'I'll make you a warrior, little girl,' he said, and then he dresses me like... this." She had traced the 'W' on the chest, and smiled her nastiest smile.

The one Arrowette loves, because she understands it perfectly.

"Well. We're showing him, aren't we, Cis?"

There are times -- many, many times -- when Arrowette could question that. There doesn't seem to be much of a show in splintered wood, in the strangely oily scent of spilled tequila.

At least... not the sort of show Wonder Girl meant.

Part of it is who she is, of course.

When Arrowette had been small, and her mother had been going on -- and on -- about the world of superheroes and magic and mystery Arrowette would join one day... well. Even then, even as she spent one more day tottering around in those awful, heeled boots while reciting poetry and whatever else that woman -- her mother -- decided she needed to do, she had to wonder if it would truly be that wonderful.

Her instincts were as excellent then as they are now. She lives and works with metahumans, and they are, all of them -- to some extent or another -- the definition of their powers.

The Secret's personality has never been anything but wispy and ethereal.

And Wonder Girl is the embodiment of drunken, thoughtless exuberance. Wild sexuality and the endless, endless struggle to remember why she'd want to think clearly.

Arrowette has never seen Wonder Girl sober, whether there was a bottle within reach or not.

So. Part of it is the fact of her powers, and part of it is just the girl herself. Arrowette did not know her before her little trip to Olympus, but sometimes she thinks she can see her. The sixteen year old girl in the woman's lush, powerful body.

Arrowette has not yet met a sixteen year old girl who was worth more time than it took to save her from sort of idiocy, or stop her from committing it.

Arrowette will be seventeen soon.


Wonder Girl tilts the bottle up and swallows and swallows until all the tequila is gone, tossing the bottle on a high enough arc to pass through the Secret's 'body.'

Arrowette aims and shoots, and the net-arrow deploys perfectly, catching the bottle before burying itself in the far wall. There's a bit of a swing to the hanging net, but it's still a good shot.

Wonder Girl snorts. "Practicing?"

"Always," she says, and hangs the bow back over her shoulder. And waits.

One of the flowers in Wonder Girl's hair is growing, vine winding around and through one perfect red curl. The look on her face is dreamy and distracted, and then...


Wonder Girl crushes the growing edge of the vine between two thick fingers and glares murderously at the sky.




Arrowette nods, and pauses just long enough to be sure Wonder Girl won't get distracted from following. She's close enough for Arrowette to be able to smell the flowers. Today they smell faintly of cologne, under or over the usual sense of... it's not really a smell. It's seduction and madness. There's a reason Young Justice is down to her and a ghost-boy with no true senses at all.

The others don't last.

Arrowette walks faster, jumping over the obstacles in her path, leading them back to her bedroom.

It's clean, of course. The worst of Wonder Girl's depredations never seem to make it here. Arrowette smiles to herself and pats the stool she has modified for Wonder Girl's visits. It's a work in progress -- everything is -- but Wonder Girl sighs with satisfaction whenever she sits down. Today, her spin around to face Arrowette's bar is fast and sharp, belying the skim of distraction over her wide, blue eyes.

Arrowette pulls a bottle of Patron Anejo from under the bar, and smacks at Wonder Girl's hand when she reaches for it. Lightly -- those hands only look like normal, human flesh.

"You and your glasses." Wonder Girl's glare isn't remotely serious this time.

"My mother taught me to observe the social niceties," she says, as primly as she can.

"Your mother ate a bullet when you shot that asshole she was shacked up with," Wonder Girl says, and slams the empty shot glass down on the bar. "Another."

"Maybe I'm grieving."

"Maybe I'm moody. Another."

"Wonder Girl smash?" Arrowette pours, and forces herself to sit up straight, not to lean in, breathe in... no. She slips one of the normal arrows from her quiver and tests the edge on her thigh.

Test, shift the arrow, wipe the blood away with her thumb, pour another shot, test, shift, wipe, pour, test -- there. She's herself again, and she looks Wonder Girl in the face.

Wonder Girl is smiling. It's both rueful and cruel, and she doesn't look sixteen at all. "Back with us, Cissie?"

"Don't call me that."


Arrowette knows she means it, and knows she isn't apologizing for using the name. It's on her birth certificate. Could there be more proof of a woman's unfitness to raise a child than her willfully naming that child with a diminutive?

She probably needs to get over that sometime soon. She needs to -- stop stroking the flowers. Arrowette growls and knocks back a shot of the tequila herself. "You'd think you'd gotten your powers from Aphrodite," she says, and wipes her mouth with the flowered-hand.

The tequila kills the lingering scent. Mostly.

She drinks more, straight from the bottle, and hands Wonder Girl her own from the stash under the bar.

"You wouldn't want to fight it if I had, Arrowette. Love is... different."

"'Love is the state in which man sees things most decidedly as they are not.' And what do you know, anyway?"

Wonder Girl smiles again. "I know what it isn't," she says, and crushes the teasing point of another vine.

Perhaps too close. "What did you want to talk about?"

Wonder Girl raises an eyebrow, and blinks at the bottle in her hand. "I'd forgotten again. That you understand."

It's an impatient-making sort of feeling. The urge to touch her hair -- not the flowers. Or maybe her face. "The drunker you get on the wrong booze, the more likely you are to be... distant. From him." Arrowette does not say Dionysus' name aloud any more than she has to. "It's all right," she says, because... because.

"I wanted... there's something..."

Arrowette reaches over her shoulder and feels for the black. The arrow she always, always keeps sharpest. She can't cut the vine tickling Wonder Girl's ear, but she can brush it aside, hold it aside by main force until Wonder Girl blinks and crushes it herself.

"It's getting harder," she says, and laughs. "Can you believe it? That's what I wanted to say. It seemed so damned important when I woke up this morning. As if it isn't fucking obvious." She finishes the bottle and reaches for another.

Arrowette will have to phone for another delivery. Neither Dionysus' favorite nor her friends ever get carded. "I've been thinking about it."

Wonder Girl hums, under her breath, and takes a deep swallow. "I'm open to suggestions."

"We know he can be distracted." She nods toward the petal curling and dipping down over Wonder Girl's forehead.

"Mm," she says, and curls it right back up again. "The distractions are... hard."

On her, she means. Every Bacchanal demands a focus. Every expenditure of power rebounds back on the wielder, giving and taking. "You'll fight harder," Arrowette says.

"Will I, now?" Wonder Girl smiles around the lip of the bottle. "Sometimes I wonder why --"

"Because you're a hero, not a slave. Because he gave you the powers, and now they're yours." Because I want you to. Because you have to.

"Drink more."

The bottle's in Arrowette's mouth before she can stop it, and Wonder Girl waves off her efforts to gag with one lazy motion of her hand. When she can, she slams the bottle down on the bar and glares. "Why."

"To prove a point."

"That you can make me get drunk no matter what? I'm human. We knew that. Even you couldn't forget."

"No," Wonder Girl says, and leans in close. "Listen closely, Cis. You've appointed yourself my backup. My protector. My nursemaid. But look at what happened to the others when my powers were too strong to control. How many of them are still hospitalized? How many of their names do you remember?"

"They were weak."

"They were stronger -- physically -- than you will ever be."

"I won't quit, Cassandra. And neither will you."

The steel fades out of Wonder Girl's eyes, leaving sadness and a terrifying exhaustion in its wake. The flowers -- one on either side of her head -- are growing again, reaching for Arrowette with their vines, with their scents and the pound of Arrowette's own blood.

She wants to dance. She wants to... there is blood beneath everything, living and red and wild, so wild, and why is she fighting? Why --

Arrowette reaches for her quiver and stops. No. She has her own point to prove. Wonder Girl has to notice the flowers, has to stop them without Arrowette's intervention.

If she doesn't, then...

A lot of things will happen if she doesn't.

Arrowette focuses on holding her breath, and on staying as still as she can. Cassie, she doesn't say. Please.

Wonder Girl blinks and focuses, breathing damp, tequila-scented fumes at her. Arrowette's eyes want to water, and she lets them.

"Cis. Arrowette... what -- no," she growls, and stumbles back and off the stool, tearing at her hair. Her muscles are bulging and her eyes are squeezed shut against the pain. "No. Not her."

Arrowette gasps and leans back, away, reflexively pulling an arrow she'll have no use for. She waits, and hurts, and breathes.

After a while, Wonder Girl falls to her knees.

She looks perfect, of course. The curve of her belly, the unstained tunic, the powerful muscle under creamy skin. But.

There is a faint sheen of sweat, and a few wisps of red hair have escaped from the usual curls.

"Wonder Girl," she says, and then just steps up and over the bar and closes the distance between them. She sets her bow and arrows back and crouches in front of her. "Cassie."

"I won't... I won't ever hurt you, Cis."

"I know," she says, and touches Wonder Girl's forehead, first with her gloved fingertips, then with the bare ones. She tugs one of the wisps further out of place, and thinks about holding it there with her mouth.

And then she does it, softly and carefully. The taste of Wonder Girl's sweat is intoxicating in a way she chooses to believe is... innocent.

Something has to be.

She leans back and Wonder Girl looks at her, into her and through her. Arrowette raises an eyebrow. "Drinking? Or crime-fighting?"

Wonder Girl snorts, and stands, yanking Arrowette to her feet with absent strength. "What do you think?"

Arrowette smiles. "Both."

Wonder Girl claps her on the arm -- lightly. "Good girl."

Secret half-materializes on their way out the door.

Wonder Girl curses the glare of the sun.

Arrowette gives her a pair of sunglasses, and another bottle.


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Fandom:  Other (Young Justice)
Title:  Even if unwilling
Author:  Te   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG-13  |  14k  |  03/10/04
Characters:  Arrowette, Wonder Girl
Pairings:  Arrowette/Wonder Girl
Summary:  Wonder Girl drinks. Arrowette copes.

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