David Corsini read Marilee Stephens' "Choices" in Fanzing and sent us this story inspired by it. It also draws from Louise F. Davis' "A Friend In Need ".
By David Corsini
Whenever a Titan's child turned five Joey helped them design a super hero doll for them. Lian had called her "The Red Hood". She had told Joey that she would keep a quiver full of arrows on her back and a supple of darts in her belt. The doll was made with care, love and imagination and a replica of the child who it was made for. Lian's was the first made. Now Robert, Amanda, and soon Mike and Diane would all have them.
Robert had designed "Bluejay" a costume with blue and white stars, a combination of Donna's second Wondergirl costume and Dick's Nightwing. Robert wanted to be Jason's partner when he became Batman. Amanda had made hers to resemble her mother's uniform and called it "Nightstar". Diane wanted to be "Wonderlass".
Donna gently stroked Lian's hair and smiled at the innocence that they all had. Innocence that was lost to Lian the day her father Roy died.
"Donna?" She looked up at the doorway to see her husband, Terry.
"She fell back asleep," Donna gently got off the bed and walked over to her husband. She fell into his arms as the man wrapped his arms around her. Ironic that she could bench press him with one finger, yet she felt so safe in her arms. The arms of the most understanding man that she ever met. Terry led her back to their bedroom and gently led his wife to their bed. She climbed in and he covered her with the blanket.
"That hasn't happened in a while," He said.
"No, she's making progress. You know once in a while she calls me "Mom"
"I don't think she'll ever call me anything but Uncle Terry,"
"Maybe it's easier with me, I was like a mother to her since Roy brought her home."
"You're a mother to a lot of people," Terry snuggled up to her and held her, he gently kissed her cheek. "I love you,"
"I love you to," She said.
"You can't sleep," He told her rather than asked. "I know you haven't been for the last couple of weeks, "
"You noticed huh?"
"Just because I don't say anything, doesn't mean I'm blind to certain things," he said.
"Like what?" She asked
"Like how you prowl around the house at all hours of the night, like how you fly off into the night and come home and slip into bed and think I don't know."
"I didn't think you knew,"
"Donna," He squeezed her a little tighter. "I know something's bothering you, and I know that you need to talk it out, but not with me."
"Terry," She said. "You're my husband. I can talk to you."
"Not about what's bothering you," He said. "This isn't like the time when Robbie broke his arm, or when Diane had a double ear infection and kept us up all night. Or you putting up with my ex-wife. This has something to do with the business doesn't it?"
"I guess, in a way," She answered him quietly.
"I'm not Super Scholar, I don't wear a costume or have any powers, and as much as you are the most important thing in my life, I can't pretend to understand some of the things that you feel. You need to talk to someone in the "Spandex Club".
"Maybe I'll go fly and try to clear my head."
"Want my advice?" He asked.
"See where Dick is and go have a talk," He smiled. "I'll feed the kids breakfast in the morning."
She got out of bed and leaned over and kissed him.
"Goodnight," She whispered, She left her room and went into Robert's. Her son was sleeping soundly; his curly red hair framed his face. He was growing up so fast. She gently kissed his cheek, then went into Diane's room.
The sight of her daughter made Donna smile. She was a rambunctious one. Her dark hair was in a ponytail, reminiscent of Donna's early Wondergirl days. Her nightgown was blue with white stars on it. Every stuffed animal had a Wonder Woman or Superman costume on.
Hera help the world when she is set loose, Donna thought as she kissed her daughter on the cheek and left the room. She walked down stairs into Terry's office. She pulled on a bookcase and went into the hidden room behind it. The Nike outfit was on a hanger. Her bracelets, headband, belt and sandals were on a chair beside the costume. She picked up one of the bracelets and flipped open the top of it. In the secret compartment was a small monitor with some buttons on the side, She punch one of the buttons, sending a silent message to Dick. If he were awake, he would hear it.
A few minutes later, Nightwing's face appeared in the monitor.
"Donna, you okay," He said.
"Feel like talking?"
"Sure, I just finished helping Robin on a drug case, I'm in Gotham. How about the JLA satellite in five minutes?"
"I'll see you there?" She smiled at him. She closed the bracelet and put on her Nike uniform. She then stepped into the JLA teleporter and went to the satellite.
Donna stepped out of the transporter tube to see Superman on monitor duty. He turned and smiled at her.
"Nike, anything wrong?"
"No," She said to him. "I'm meeting Nightwing. Can you tell him I am in the lounge?"
"Sure can," Superman said. Donna walked out of the monitor room and into the lounge. She curled up on one of the couches.
Roy, it's been two years and I still feel that a part of me is missing. Her mind began to rewind over the past twenty years.
"Good catch Wonder Chick," Roy called as he fired another arrow up at her. She was flying above him and she already had five arrows in her hand. She glided down into his waiting arms and wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
She was holding his hand as he lay in a hospital bed after a drug overdose. They had all been so foolish by convincing themselves that Roy wasn't using drugs. Dick was in the waiting room, her rock, her big brother. She remembered crying and praying to Hera to help her friend.
The time a year before Raven had assembled the six new Titans. She met Roy for lunch. The dating was on again.
"Where are we going?" She had asked him. "We always come back to this point, but we never last more than a few months."
"Maybe we're better friends," He said.
"The best of friends," She had said.
They were all in the tower, the six of them with Terra and Roy. She announced her engagement to Terry. How he had made the wisecrack of him losing out. She talked to him privately by the pool.
"You'll always be in my heart Wonder Chick," He smiled that devil may care grin at her.
"You too, Tiger," She hugged him, rippling with the excitement of her future and feeling safe with her past.
She went to court with him when he got full custody of Lian. Then when she was pregnant with Robert, they had lunch together. The same café where they decided that they would be friends. Lian sleeping in her stroller. He asking her to be there for Lian if anything ever happened to him.
She remembered the weddings: Dick and Kory's, Gar's, Wally's, even Duela's. He was always alone, or with Lian. She worried about him.
Two years ago. The drug smuggling case in San Francisco. She and Wally were at the docks. Roy was in the warehouse where the drugs were being packaged into packets of laundry soap. Someone had tipped off the drug runners that they were there. She was out on the dock blocking bullets and Wally was chasing after one of the boats that took off. She heard the machine gun fire in the warehouse. She lassoed the seven drug runners when Wally came with four in his arms. They went into the warehouse to find Roy. The pool of blood around his body. He was propped up on one elbow.
"Roy," She called as she flew to him. "Great Gods of Lost Olympus, Roy!" Wally scooped him up and was out of sight in an instant. A moment later her communicator buzzed. Wally told her he was at San Francisco Memorial. She flew as fast as she could.
He was lying in a bed. His "Red Arrow" costume cut off him. Tubes in and out his body. He reached his hand out and took hers.
"Lian," He whispered. She could barely hear him. "Watch over her."
"Wally get Raven" She said to him. The monitor stopped beeping and went into a straight line.
"Now Wally," She screamed at the speedster. "Go get her."
"Donna," She heard a voice. Turning, she saw the white robes of Raven. "I'm so sorry Donna, I could not do anything."
Wally fell to his knees and put his face in his hands and started to cry. She didn't. She didn't cry when she called Dick. Wally eventually got a hold of himself and carried her to Coast City to Hal Jordan. They flew to Seattle to find and tell Ollie.
Then he carried her cross-country to Dick and Kory's. She drove with them to Roy's place. The warehouse that he fixed up into a two-bedroom apartment and downstairs, the gym.
Kory waited in the living room while she and Dick went to tell Lian. Lian screamed at her and pounded Dick's chest with all her might.
The small scared little girl held her hand at the funeral. Ollie and Dinah so consumed with their grief that they stood at the casket for two hours after everybody left.
Ollie hugged Donna then. "He always thought you a little extra
Six months later that same little girl came to live with her and her family. She wasn't scared anymore; she was hardened somehow, distant.
"Donna?" She was back in the present. She looked up to see Dick,
"Hi", she said. He sat next to her. The first person besides her mother and sister that she could count on. Her leader, the person that she could not be closer to than if they were the same blood.
"I'm here now", he said. "Donna, what is it?"
"What did you feel when Gar told you about Betty?"
"Betty?" Dick questioned her. "Donna, that was three years ago,"
"What did you feel?" she asked him again.
"Guilt," he answered. "She was going up against the League of Assassins. I should have helped her. Would have if I had known."
"Besides the guilt,"
"Loss, Betty was very special to me, its not like we dated or anything," he shrugged. "We worked together, but not like I worked with the Titans. I guess it's the fact we were kids, it was innocent. I remember one time when we both thought we were going to die and I kissed her. You know that first time kiss. I didn't love her like I love Kory, and it wasn't like the crush I had on Barbara, but I don't know Donna, I liked her, in that special way that you like someone, not like a friend, but not like a lover. It's hard to explain,"
"I loved him, Dick", she said
She nodded. "I love Terry with my whole heart, I love him so much that I ache, but I loved Roy too. He was the first boy I ever kissed. He took me on a picnic the Fourth of July. Remember when we found out about the drugs and I convinced all of you not to say anything?"
"Donna, that was a long time ago."
"I did it because I loved him," She said. "I outgrew that and we were friends a lot longer than we were ever anything else. All these powers, I can lift a ton, deflect bullets with my eyes closed, but I couldn't help him. I can comfort his daughter when she has a nightmare, but I can't bring back her Daddy. I couldn't help him Dick. I was there, and I couldn't save him." She stood up and walking to the window, she stared at the earth.
"It's so peaceful from up here", she said to him. "It makes you almost believe that there's no need for people like us."
He was behind her, his hands on her shoulders.
"Hey what are you kids doing here?" They turned to see Green Arrow in the lounge. "I was coming to relieve Supes of monitor duty and he told me you were here."
Donna slowly turned to him. She walked over to him.
"I'm so sorry Ollie", she whispered. She went into his arms and the dam that was built two years ago broke. Donna Troy, Wondergirl, Nike, finally cried.
All characters are DC Comics
This story is © 1999 by David Corsini.