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By angharad governal
Io had always believed that there was something magic in the way Diana looked at her. The Princess's eyes would lock on hers and she would feel a warmth grow within her and a shiver run down her spine. All too quickly she found a need to look away, to look anywhere but in Diana's eyes -- those eyes made of magic, those eyes that, given a chance, would see so plainly what Io had always desperately tried to hide from them.
Once, as she finished repairs on Diana's armor in the Embassy's White Room, Diana had impulsively hugged her and gave Io a lingering kiss against her cheek. Their eyes had met then, too, and Io felt as if she were facing the warmth and light of a thousand forges, the brightness there exposing her long-kept secret. Diana had asked Io to stay, to attend a diplomatic function with her. How she managed to make excuses and refuse and walk through the gate back to Themyscira she would never know, but she remembered the sound of Diana's voice -- the sadness, the disappointment -- as they said their goodbyes to one another; it was then that Io vowed never to refuse Wonder Woman anything again. She would bury her feelings for the Princess so that when Diana asked something of her, she would accept as a proper Amazon should and not run off and act like a young girl who had just discovered love for the first time and was afraid of what might come of it.
When word had come again that Diana had called for her, Io had almost run to the gate that linked Themyscira to the Embassy in Patriarch's World, so anxious was she to right herself in the Princess's eyes and make their friendship perfect as it was before. She had entered the White Room only minutes earlier and had been looking over a few of the weapons and armor pieces hanging on the wall. She shook her head at the state that some of them were in -- nicked and battered -- alignment off by more than she'd like them to ever be. It was a testament that Diana's mission was a hard fought one. Io was summoned to the Themysciran Embassy more frequently now than when Diana first began her mission to the patriarchy's world. Diana's frequent assignments with the Justice League assured that her weapons were of use as much as her words. And that, of course, meant that edges were inevitably dulled, armor dented, axes and blades gone out of true.
She turned to face the doors as she heard her name being called.
"Io. Sister. Have I kept you waiting long?"
Diana walked swiftly toward Io and embraced her before she had a chance to make the customary bow.
"It's Diana, Io. It's always just been 'Diana'."
Io nodded and swept a gloved hand toward the array of weapons hanging on the White Room walls. "Which of these would you like repaired first?"
"The sagaris, I think."
Io lifted the double-headed axe from its' place on the wall. "You've nicked this!"
Diana shrugged as she leaned against one of the marble columns that encircled the room. "Some monsters have very thick hides. Is it salvageable?"
Io nodded and walked toward the small forge at the back of the room. "I think so, but you shouldn't let them get this blunt before you call on me." A worried look crossed Io's features as she reached for the bellows and began to stoke the flames of the forge. She spoke softly to herself as she worked the coals. "I don't know what I would do if you were ever lost to us, Diana." She turned her head toward the taller woman who was still leaning against a nearby pillar and spoke over the din. "This will take time. If you've other work that--"
"My time is yours, Io. I've nothing else scheduled and barring any League emergencies, I'm free for the day." Diana walked toward Io and watched as the shorter woman thrust the axe into the red coals. Io pulled the white-hot blade from the fire and began to hammer at it. Diana watched for several minutes as Io's muscular arm rhythmically rose and fell with each strike. Her eyes drifted to the weapon-smith's face which was a mask of concentration, the light of the forge throwing fierce, angular shadows against features normally gentle and full of kindness.
A smile blossomed on her lips as Diana's eyes lingered on Io's face -- the fire highlighting her short reddish-brown hair to an almost amber hue and her brown eyes reflecting the bright orange of the blade before her. Her smile grew even wider as the weapon-smith's eyes finally met hers. "Tell me of home, Io. How is everyone?"
"Home? Well, it is as it has always been. Phillipus and Artemis govern justly. Your sisters live as they always have..."
They were laughing and at ease with each other when Io had completed the repairs to Diana's weapons; whatever awkwardness had arisen at their last parting had easily dissolved during the hours they had spent together. As Io hung a shield next to a cache of spears, she felt the Princess's hand press gently against her arm. She turned automatically and the hand which had lain on Io's shoulder drifted to her face and gently cupped her chin. Her eyes met Diana's. A shiver ran down Io's spine. Instead of turning away, she welcomed the light reflected in Wonder Woman's eyes and what she saw in them.
"Will you stay?"
The answer was easier than Io would have guessed. She nodded her head and let the warmth of those eyes envelop her.
When Diana's mouth met hers in a sweet, breath-stealing kiss, Io saw plainly what she had tried to hide from herself.
And it was magic.
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