Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana, Medea, Jamie O’Reilly, Selina Kyle, Ezra Stone, Alexandria Wayne, Laura McKinney
Genres: Romance, Drama, A Touch Of Mystery
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: When Queen Hippolyta sends a precious Amazon artifact to America with an Amazon guard, both cause Diana and Steve no end of trouble.
Chapter Summary: The Boston Museum Of Fine Arts Ball is a glittering success.
Date Of Completion: March 13, 2008
Date Of Posting: April 29, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2104
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Dedicated to our hardy band of Steve/Diana fans! :)
Special thanks to jen_in_japan , whose enthusiasm for this project kept me going with a smile on my face. :)
All chapters can be found here.
JEWELS OF THE MIND
Catching the light.
Dazzling and bright.
Jewels of the mind,
Are like fine wine,
Jewels of the mind,
Are things so fine.
“Jewels Of Great Price”
The Boston Museum Of Fine Arts Ball was a glittering affair. The polished halls were decorated with the Museum’s artworks, the Amazon exhibit hall the dazzling jewel in the crown.
There were would-be higher-profile glitterati in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, but Boston prided itself on Old Money, intellectuals, and arts of the fine persuasion. Politicians did mix in, but politics was as popular a sport as the Patriots and Red Sox in Boston, so they were part of the package.
Diana smiled at Medea before they made their grand entrance. Medea was truly magnificent in a long, flowing, white gown, gold bands around her upper arms and gold-and-emerald necklace glittering between her breasts. A matching tiara sparkled in her chestnut hair.
Diana’s gown was also white and chiton-fashion. Her iron bracelets sheathed in gold, she wore a sapphire-and-gold necklace and a matching filigreed tiara and dangling earrings. Gold sandals were on her feet as she readied to stride forward, glancing back down the corridor.
Medea smirked, then looked disgusted as Diana’s face lit up and Steve hurried forward, looking crisp and handsome in his dress blues. He clasped Diana’s hand and kissed her.
“Sorry I’m late, Angel. The traffic in this city can drive you crazy!”
Diana smiled, her earrings swinging back-and-forth as she looked him up-and-down, admiration in her eyes that matched his gaze. “How well I know it!” As Diana Prince, she couldn’t ride the air currents. She curled her arm around Steve’s in the classic ‘taking-his-arm’ pose.
Steve glanced at Medea, whose rigid disapproval kept him from offering to escort her in as well. Diana gently squeezed his arm and he smiled at her.
Jamie spotted them and hurried over. “I’ll announce you.” He signaled the chamber trio, who abruptly stopped playing. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Wonder Woman, Crown Princess of the Amazons, and Medea, Warrior Supreme, escorted by Major Steven Trevor, United States Air Force!”
There was celebratory applause as the glitterati were awed by the Amazons’ beauty. Diana saw some appreciative looks thrown Steve’s way, too. Proud of her beautiful escort, she smiled and felt regal, Steve’s loving presence close beside her.
They mingled, Diana smoothing the way for Medea.
As she talked with the guests, impressed by the intellectual curiosity they exhibited, she remembered the previous evening at her apartment. Diana Prince’s neighbors were accustomed to occasional appearances by the Amazon. The apartment was small but had a guest bedroom that had kept awkwardness at bay.
Diana was more than satisfied with her sex life, though she occasionally missed womanly sex. She knew that Steve sometimes missed the scent of a man on him in bed, but neither one had discussed doing anything about it. Perhaps they never would, but until they did talk about other lovers, Diana wasn’t about to sleep with her ex-lover.
Medea was surprisingly charming, enchanting the women and mostly hiding her contempt for the men. Her Amazonian proportions were giving her personality even more power than normal, and Medea was nothing if not forceful.
“Princess, how nice to see you.”
“Selina!” Genuine warmth lit Diana’s eyes.
Selina Kyle was dressed in a black sequined dress, an emerald choker at her throat. Her dark hair was upswept and held with an emerald half-moon clip.
“Steve, dear, glad to see you.”
“Hello, Selina.” Appreciation sparkled in his eyes, matching Diana’s own look of approval.
“You’re far from Gotham,” Diana said.
“Oh, it’s not that far as the Bat flies.”
“Either one could work.” Selina smirked. “They are inseparable, after all.”
The observation was said with no malice. In fact, affection laced her voice.
“How do you find the exhibit, Selina?”
“Quite grand.” Selina looked over the room with an expert eye. “While I am most fond of the jewelry, I find myself rather taken by the other objects as well, and the story they tell.” Green eyes sparkled. “I find women’s history to be most enlightening.” Selina moved closer to Diana. “The Canary sends her regards.”
Selina glided away, sensuousness in her every move.
“Whew,” Steve breathed.
Diana laughed. “I agree.” Her eyes twinkled as she smiled at Steve. “If Bruce wasn’t so…distracted…by another brunette, there might be a Selina/Bruce hook-up.”
“Hmm, you’re picking up the lingo more every day, Angel.”
Diana smiled, slipping an arm around his waist. A little sigh of happiness escaped Steve.
Eventually they drifted apart, but were very much aware of each other’s presence elsewhere in the room.
“Your people’s exhibit is quite enlightening, Wonder Woman.”
The speaker was a middle-aged man dressed in a dark suit, not tuxedo, his graying hair pulled back into a ponytail. He stroked his mustache and beard, brown eyes sharp behind his spectacles. He held out his other hand.
“Professor Ezra Stone.” Diana shook his hand. “Northeastern University.”
“Hello, Professor. Thank you.”
“I see it’s a mix of ancient and contemporary objects.”
“Yes, we thought it might tell the story better.”
“So you don’t find it unsettling here?”
“Here at the Museum?”
“No, I meant America.”
“Oh. Well, it certainly is different.”
“Sorry you have to put up with a patriarchal society such as ours.”
“It could be improved upon greatly, but every society has its flaws.”
Stone picked up a champagne flute from a passing waiter. “It doesn’t bother you that women are so terribly oppressed?”
“Of course it does.”
“Yet you date a member of the oppressor sex?”
Irritation flared in Diana. What did this man mean, being so presumptuous?
“I thought your people were disdainful of men.”
“I would say with good reason, Professor.”
Stone sighed. “Sadly, yes.” His gaze traveled to Steve, talking to Selina at the buffet table. Her body almost seemed to wind around him, and for a moment, Diana felt jealous, then she nearly laughed. Selina was one of the most sexual beings that Diana knew. She was that way with nearly everyone.
“Does it bother you that your boyfriend is part of the military caste?”
“Hardly, Professor.” Diana accepted a flute from a waiter. “I am, after all, a Warrior myself.”
Stone frowned. “I thought you were a bringer of peace.”
“I am, Professor. I am also a bringer of war. Peace can only be advocated from a position of strength. If the Amazons were not strong, we would be overrun, and then where would peace be?”
Stone blinked owlishly. “I suppose. But, truly, Princess, you can’t approve of the U.S. military and its abominable culture.” The brown eyes narrowed. “You are aware of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, aren’t you? Blatant discrimination against gays, a civil rights violation that the military champions with virulent bigotry. They wouldn’t allow you Amazons to serve.”
Diana thought of Steve’s past with Hal and knew that both had courted disaster, and how unfair it was.
“I find that particular regulation to be obscene,” she said. “Unfortunately, much of the American public supports it. Hate is no stranger to this country or any other.”
“What about yours?”
Diana thought about the hate her sisters held for the gender who had enslaved them.
“We are not free of such an emotion.”
A smug look crossed Stone’s face.
Diana had had enough of this conversation. “Excuse me, Professor.” She walked away, sipping her champagne.
“Wonder Woman!” Diana turned. “I wanted to ask you about Alexander the Great.”
The speaker was a handsome woman of about forty, her lemon-blond hair curled stylishly around her face, her shimmering green gown belted by gold. Gold bracelets jangled on her arms as she sipped her champagne.
“Yes.” She held out her hand. “Professor Alexandria Wayne, Harvard.”
“Pleased to meet you, Professor.” Diana shook her hand, then cocked her head. “Wayne?”
“Yes.” Teeth gleamed. “And, yes, I’m related to the Prince.”
Diana laughed. “Excellent. Now, what about Alexander?”
“Was your mother acquainted with him?”
“Yes. She was quite taken with him, though it was more of one sovereign respecting another. He was as charming as the texts describe.”
“Fascinating.” She signaled a waiter. “Was it true that not only was he a great warrior, but statesman as well?”
“Yes. He was astonishingly enlightened for his time in the treatment of conquered peoples, though of course there was barbarism committed by his army, as is the case with all armies.”
Alexandria tilted her head as she took a fresh flute from the waiter. “I suppose rape of captive women was allowed?”
“In the heat of battle, I’m sure it was, but female prisoners were treated with respect once the fighting was over. The mother of the defeated Persian King, Darius, was treated with utmost respect by Alexander.”
“And was it true about him and Hephaestion?”
Diana smiled. “Quite true.”
A gleam lit Alexandria’s eyes. “What a work of art was ancient man, hmm?”
Diana smiled, her eyes drifting to where Steve stood.
He and Jamie were admiring the Chalice, speaking in low, easy tones. Jamie was an old and treasured friend, and it showed in their comfort with each other.
Diana thought of Stone’s words. She did hate the homophobic regulation, but it was little different from other discriminatory anti-gay laws of the land in certain states. She had spoken out against homophobia, hoping that the Amazon example of same-sex love would change some people’s minds.
She noticed Jamie’s hand hovering close to Steve’s hip, her eyebrow lifting. Well, Steve never claimed to have had only just one lover before her. She and Alexandria parted and she drifted over to her lover.
“It’s a beautiful object,” Steve said.
“One of the finest we’ve had on exhibit.” Jamie hesitated. “It’s a little difficult for me to wrap my mind around these being actual Goddesses.”
Steve laughed. “It’s that childhood religious training. Even as a lapsed Catholic, you still have Catholic guilt.”
Jamie grinned. “I guess you’re right. I do feel guilty about believing in Pagan Goddesses.”
“I don’t worry too much about it. I figure with a world full of Amazons and Supermen, Goddesses aren’t that far a stretch.”
Diana came up to Steve and slipped her hand in his. He looked down with a delighted smile.
“We were just admiring Hera’s Chalice.”
Steve’s profile was awe-tinged as he gazed upon the Chalice. Diana squeezed his hand and he smiled again.
Diana gazed upon the Chalice with her fingers entwined with her lover’s. The evening was sparkling with jewels and beauty, not the least of which was intellectual discourse. She had been irritated by Ezra Stone, but liked parrying of the verbal variety, and Alexandria Wayne had been interesting.
She looked at Steve, a mischievous smile curving her lips.
“I don’t just love you for your body, you know.”
He looked at her with a quizzical smile. “Oh?”
She smiled into sapphire eyes. “Good conversation is stimulating, too.”
He chuckled. “I count myself lucky that I can provide food for both body and soul, then.”
“Oh, yes.” She winked.
& & & & & &
Diana noticed Laura mingling with the crowd, dressed in a dark-blue gown and diamond necklace and bracelet. She guessed that the jewelry was fake, because Laura could not afford the real thing on a security guard’s salary.
Laura saw her and smiled, Diana answering with one of her own.
They met up be a statue of an Amazon in full battle dress.
“Everything all right?” Diana murmured.
“So far.” Laura watched a laughing group by one of the jewelry cases. “Everyone is very impressed by Hera’s Chalice.”
Laura grinned. “Have no worries, Princess. We’ve got a good crew here.” Wistfully she watched a young woman her age glide by with real diamonds glittering at her throat. “Must be nice to have money.” Jamie beckoned to her. “Excuse me.”
Medea strode toward Diana. “Hola, Princess!”
“Have you had enough of these Man’s World citizens for one evening?”
Diana noticed Ezra Stone haranguing a middle-aged woman. “Verily, Sister. Let me find Steve and bid him goodnight.”
Diana ignored Medea’s impatient look and swept the room with her gaze. Spotting blond hair in a sea of dark heads, she hurried over and gently extricated him from the crowd.
“What is it, Angel?”
“Time to bid you goodnight, Beloved.”
Eyes sparkling, Steve kissed her. “Goodnight, my love,” he whispered.
Diana smiled, then slipped away to join Medea out into the cool night.