The Enemy of My Enemy
[ Rated PG ]
C H A P T E R . N I N E
Luthor sat in his bi-monthly board meeting in his own thoughts. Strange. My initial intention was to pump her for information and try to instill some decension in the Justice League ranks. But could I feel less interested in that than… He dismissed the thought for the moment as the meeting continued on. After, he moved to his office and worked for a while, making his phone calls and business deals. He glanced at the clock at 7:04. He then stood, went to his mirror and changed ties, getting rid of the black simple tie for a lighter blue one he hardly wore. He then made his way to the park and sat down on the bench to wait.
Diana felt flickers of hope and excitement that she hadn’t felt in a while. Hera, I never thought I’d look forward to going on a date with Luthor. The Fates move in mysterious ways. She spent a bit more time in the park watching the children before returning to the Watchtower. Most of the League was running missions and no one disturbed her. Her wardrobe was sorely slim but she did have a couple dresses that had been gifts from Princess Audrey. The black one would probably fit the bill for wherever they ate. She finished dressing in the form-fitting black dress and black heels and made her way through the halls, getting more than one look from occupants as she breezed past.
Flash whistled and ran into the monitoring womb “You should see Wondy.” he told Batman.
“Why?” he asked, not looking up from the monitors.
“She’s goin somewhere hot tonight and…total babe mode. But in that sophisticated babe…not the beach babe or cheerleader babe or…”
He lifted his head and turned quickly. “English Flash.”
“She must have a date tonight. Go see for yourself. She’s going to the teleporter.”
He stood and made his way into the halls, moving toward the teleporters. He saw her climb on and stare at him… wearing a tight black dress and black heels that made his mouth water in spite of himself. “Diana?” he managed to ask before she disappeared.
She moved into the park carefully and saw him sitting on the bench. “Luthor.”
He stood with wide eyes. “Wonder Woman. You look…”
“Diana.” she smiled.
He shook his head briefly. “Diana. You look ravishing tonight.”
“Thank you. You look wonderful yourself. Shall we?”
He nodded and moved over to her. “Indeed. So, what kind of meal are you thinking of?”
“Do you enjoy Greek food? I was thinking, you’ve shown me some of your past. I can’t show you the real thing but at least it’s somewhat close.”
He cracked a smile. “Come. There’s a lovely Greek restaurant not too far from here.”
She smirked as they reached a restaurant called ‘ The Pantheon’ and were quickly seated.
“The touristy name belies the quality of food. It’s the best Greek food I’ve had that wasn’t in Greece.”
She nodded and placed her order while he ordered some wine. “You’ve been to Greece?”
He nodded. “Quite a few times back when I was married to my second… no, fourth wife.”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“The scenery or the marriage?”
She smiled widely “I’ll take either answer. Or both.”
He smiled back as the wine arrived. He poured her a glass but put his finger on the rim as she lifted it. “It has to breathe for a few moments to enhance the flavor. To answer your questions, I enjoyed Greece very much. The architecture, the scenery, the people. The marriage, not so much. That was the one that lasted only 5 months.”
She lowered the glass, staring at him intently “I’m trying to ‘expand my horizons’ so to speak. Experience the things this world has to offer. Marriage is still an interesting concept to me. It probably comes as no surprise that it doesn’t exist where I come from. Women do engage in relationships of varying levels with other women but marriage..never.”
“I don’t believe marriage means what it used to” he said. “In the past, marriage was a partnership… a lifetime pledge. But now, it’s almost seen as a chore.”
“Maybe you just haven’t met the right woman yet.”
“Perhaps, but it’s not the end of the world if I do or don’t.”
“I suppose not.” She sipped her wine. Did you see the Cecropia?
His brow arched Yes, I traveled through Athens. It would be a shame to see Greece and skip it’s fairest city. And I did see the Acropolis.
Pisistratus the tyrant established a precinct for Artemis there at one point. He also started the Panathenaic Festival.
I seem to have missed that one. he said.
It was believed to be the observance of Athena’s birthday. The procession would assemble before dawn at the Dipylon Gate in the north. It would be led by the Canephorae, or ‘Basket Bearer’, an unmarried virgin woman selected from the aristocratic or Eupatrid families. Her purity and youth was believed essential to the sacrifice. She would carry a basket called a kanoun, containing offerings of barley or first fruits as well as a sacrificial knife and fillets to decorate the bull. The Canephorae are interesting outside of the procession but back to the festival… they would make their way on the Panathenaic Way through Agora and toward the Acropolis. Sacrifices would be made on theAreios Pagos or ‘Hill of Ares’ to the north-west of the Acropolis. In classic times the Areios acted as the high Court of Appeals and Ares himself was supposedly tried there by the Gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Alirrothios. Sacrifices were also given in front of the Temple of Athena Nike, next to the Propylaia. Only Athenian citizens were allowed to pass through the Propylaia and enter the Cecropia.
Luthor listened in rapt interest, impressed with her knowledge of the ancient city and also amused when she would often use the proper Greek or lesser used terms for the locations. She spoke intelligently and passionately, a dangerous mixture that grabbed his attention and held it. I wasn’t aware of much of that. I prefer to tour alone and find out what I can on my own. he smiled. Please continue.
She smiled a little, having found she wasn’t boring him to death and felt a bit touched that he would want to hear what she had to say about her home state. The Temple of Athena Nike was protected on the north, west and south by a parapet that came to be reknown as the ‘Nike Parapet’, so named for a frieze of Nikai.
The Goddess of victory. Luthor stated.
Diana nodded Yes, or triumph. Going back to the Canephorae, Aristophane’s Lysistrata gives the belief that being a Canephorae was the last in a list of religious duties that an unmarried Athenian girl might undertake. The first would be as an Arrephoroi, a maiden acolyte in the cult of Athena Polias. According to Pausanias, a second century Greek traveller and geographer, two Arrephoroi lived for twelve months on the Cecropia which concluded with the rite of Arrhephoria. The Arrhephoria was mostly known a feast where girls, or some say boys, between seven and twelve years old were the ministers. Though according to Pausanias the rite of Arrhephoria involved the girls traveling to an underground cavern and exchanging some sort of unknown object for another equally unknown object. The lexicon of Harpocration disagrees, stating that there were four Arrephoroi, not two, but that two surpervised the weaving of the Panathenaic peplos.
Peplos? Luthor questioned.
It’s a Greek garment worn by women before 500 BC. It’s a piece of tubular cloth that is folded inside-out from the top until halfway so that what was once the top now lays at the waist. It is about ankle length. It’s pinned at the shoulder and the inside-out tube top creates the appearance of a second-piece of clothing.
He nodded What happens after being an Arrephoroi?
A girl would become an Aletris, a slave who grinds the meal for the Goddess Athena. And then an Arktos, or ‘bear’. Lysias references a number of different activities an Arktos would perform at Brauron and other Attic sanctuaries of Artemis where they were connected with foundation myths about the killing of a bear in the Goddess’ sanctuary. They would sing, dance, parade and race. All in the nude.
His brow arched further. You Greeks do love to do that. I can’t imagine many other heroines pulling off your costume.
Diana just shrugged. We believe there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about the human form, as you do. It’s a divine gift and so there is no need to hide it. We strive for perfection of it in honor of our Gods. I have no qualms about my body and my armor reflects this.
I suppose with a body like yours, one wouldn’t have shame. Not everyone is perfectly sculpted by the Gods. he mused.
She remained oblivious to the eye he was giving her or the insinuation of his words. No but that doesn’t make them any less divine or able to make the best of their own bodies. There’s beauty in everyone.
They sampled various desserts as he said warmly “Your insights have been most enlightening this evening Diana.”
“Most definitely. I’ve enjoyed our conversation immensely. I’m glad you found Greece as wonderful as I do.”
“It’s hard not to. It’s quite a lovely country with a rich history.” The waiter came and he paid for the bill, finishing off his wine. “I had a wonderful evening tonight, and now I must ask if you’ve given any thoughts to our possible hobbies.”
“I’ve been doing some research. I couldn’t come up with any that looked automatically enticing so I simply made a list of ones and I thought we could work our way through. We won’t know we don’t like something until we try it.” she pulled out a handwritten piece of paper.
He nodded at her. “What did you come up with?”
“You mentioned models. I figured that would be as good a place as any to start. I also have fishing, hiking, bird watching, gardening and a few others.” she handed him the list.
He took the list and looked it over. “I think models would be a good place to start, but we need them. Meet me in the park at noon tomorrow and we’ll go model shopping.”
She nodded and smiled. “Thank you for the dinner and companionship. It was lovely.”
He took her hand and kissed it gallantly. “It was my pleasure, and the sentiment is quite mutual.”
Diana was sure she flushed various shades of red as she smiled and then turned and made her way down the street. When she found an appropriate place where no one would see she hit her communicator “Wonder Woman to Watchtower, one to teleport.”
Batman stood waiting for her at the teleporters. “Good date?”
She swallowed hard and held her head high “Yes, actually. It was lovely.”
He glared at her. “Who received the pleasure of your company?”
“That’s a bit personal, don’t you think?” she asked, but without anger.
“In a way. But maybe it’s because I’m just looking out for you.”
She wished she’d opted for the less revealing red dress now because she couldn’t see where he was looking with the lenses and felt rather exposed standing on the teleporter platform in only the sheer dress while he interrogated her about her date. “He was ever the gentleman.”
“I would hope so” he said darkly, standing and moving away from her.
Diana exhaled and then steadied herself for her march to her quarters.
Author’s Note: Thank you for the comments! Once again, we know this is a very dialogue heavy story but we feel it’s important to let Wondy speak more than ‘Great Hera’ or ‘Hera give me strength’ and show her intelligence and the side of her that isn’t just ‘Wonder Woman’ who hits things. :-D