When Diana was little, her mother called her a dreamer. She dreamed of the tales told to her by Hippolyta. Of the war between Zeus and Ares, of her mother and aunt fighting side by side, and of someday defeating Ares once and for all with her mother and Antiope at her sides. She dreamed of riding her horse as proudly as Hippolyta, all regal and poised with centuries of experience. She dreamed of leading with the authority and wisdom of Antiope, always willing to fight beside her soldiers rather than behind them.
As she grew a bit older, her dreams shifted a bit. She grew more aware of things the other, older Amazons whispered about when they were sure Hippolyta was not about. Of romance, travel, having children, visiting relatives in far flung lands, adventures with friends, meeting people from lands on the other side of the world, and even of exotic foods Diana had never seen. She began to dream of seeing the dancing done in foreign lands, of making friends who spoke languages she did not know, and she dreamed something she never dared mention to Hippolyta. She dreamed of men. She dreamed of being in a romance. She knew little of the courtship of men, although she assumed it was fairly straightforward and not all that different from what she had witnessed on Themyscira with some of the Amazons. She dreamed of a man writing things to amuse her or praise her, of getting into playful competitions that turned into a different kind of entanglement, and of sitting together under the stars to trace constellations.
When Diana reached adulthood, she found some dreams did not go away. She still dreamed of fighting beside her mother and aunt, of emulating them and making them proud of her. She dreamed of the day the Amazons would return to the world of men and save it, once and for all. Sometimes, she still had nightmares about what the world of men would be like, or that she failed her mother and aunt. And every once in a while, she would dream that she had met a man who had washed ashore. She would hide him for fear what Hippolyta would do and also, to have him to herself, and she would visit him under the cover of darkness. He would tell her about his world and she would tell him of hers, they would trace constellations all through the night, they would dance, and she would kiss him when the mood struck her. Sometimes she even dreamed of what happened after she kissed him, and of waking up beside him to find Antiope standing over them with a knowing smirk on her face.
Many years later, Diana finally had her chance to leave Themyscira for the world of men, to defeat Ares. The boat trip that brought her and that she slept through the bulk of, had given her plenty of time to dream. She saw Antiope’s death, over and over. Each time she blamed herself more. If she had been more observant, if she had been faster, if she had left Steve in the water, if she hadn’t used her powers against Antiope in the practice yard. Even while laying against the very warm shoulder of Steven Trevor, her heart had broken over and over as she lost her aunt again and again. Her first real heartache, and in the decades to come, it never went away.
In the days that followed, her first days among Men, Diana continued to dream. New dreams and old ones. She did not require as much sleep as Steve and his band of misfits, though she did still sleep. She dreamed of returning to Hippolyta and home, she dreamed of making Antiope proud, and she dreamed of defeating Ares once and for all so the Amazons could be free and Men could be good once more. And she dreamed of Steve. That was new. He was not like the faceless, fuzzy outline of a man she had dreamed about in her youth. No, these dreams involved very detailed moments.
At first, she dreamed very fancifully. They fought Ares together and then celebrated in Themyscira, with dancing, fireworks, wine, and songs in their honor. After she had her first ice cream and she saw him with his band of misfits, she dreamed of riding with him and of sharing a larger ice cream cone. She dreamed of going to that Justice of the Peace- who she assumed would be an old man in some sort of ceremonial garb signifying his important position, for Men seemed to make Men have authority positions and to wear odd clothing that told others what that position was, and they would swear to love each other until death would they part.
Then they swayed. And she saw her first snowfall. And she saw Steve’s face when he hesitated at the door, his eyes pleading with her to grant him permission to stay, his feet leading him off. She did not sleep long on that night, but she dreamed the most beautiful dreams when she did finally sleep. Steve with some stubble blanketing his cheeks and lips as he cast his eyes over a newspaper, sitting at a small wooden table, before being interrupted by Diana entering the room. At that point, he would always look up at her with that same smile he had gotten when they danced and they heard Charlie’s singing in the background. And she dreamed of them having breakfast, of kissing before going to work, of dancing in the snow, of listening to Charlie singing, of visiting Chief in his travels, of seeing these performances Sameer wished to be a part of, going on adventures with Etta backing them up, and of having quiet moments together. She barely knew him and yet she knew she loved him too much to have those moments with someone else when this was over.
After Steve died, she rarely dreamed. Mostly her sleep was plagued with nightmares. She saw him die, heard him screaming in agony as the fire erupted through the plane. Sometimes Sameer, Chief, and Charlie also died. Sometimes Etta screamed at her for killing Steve. Sometimes Antiope and Hippolyta scolded her for her failure to protect him. Rarely, Steve would stand beside Ares and ask her why she sacrificed him for her mission to stop Ares. Over the years, her dreams returned to her, although they ached worse than the nightmares had. Dreams of training with Antiope, growing old with Steve, history lessons with her mother, and having family meals where Steve was a welcome member of the family and Antiope would bring Menolippe, they all hurt so badly that sometimes Diana would wake up and shoot straight for the nearest window, opening it and gasping for air as if someone had been strangling her a moment ago. Her whole chest would constrict, her heart would race, and her legs would tremble.
Now, sitting in the Batcave waiting for Bruce and Barry to return, she found herself daydreaming. She had long since learned not to fight it or else her dreams were haunted for it. So she sat back and allowed her mind to wander. If Steve had somehow been gifted with her eternal youth and immortality, to see him fighting beside to League. She smiled to herself as she pictured him dealing with Bruce. Both had suffered so much and had idolized their fathers, yet the way they each carried their pain was so different. Or seeing him with Barry, who was an odd combination of Etta and Sameer. Diana was interrupted by Bruce’s kindly butler and surrogate father, Alfred Pennyworth.
She smiled, turning in the chair to face him. He had a tray with spiced tea and warmed biscuits with honey on them. A favorite of hers. One that she would never tell anyone the origin of. Only she, Steve, and Chief had known and it felt wrong to speak of it with anyone else.
He smiled, putting the tray on the table beside her.
“Did I disturb your planning?”
She shook her head as she reached for the tea.
“No, you didn’t. I was just daydreaming. I’ve finished all the planning that needed doing.”
The gray-haired gentleman nodded in a way that suggested her understood more than any other member of this League, about daydreaming of the impossible.
“Master Bruce’s father, Thomas, was not much for daydreaming. I think he was too busy in the here and now. Martha, however, was quite the daydreamer. Especially over young Master Bruce’s future. Everything from his college courses and eventual degree, to simple things like what he would think of the book she had gotten him for Christmas or of watching Thomas telling Bruce a bedtime story. I remember many times, finding her staring off a million miles away, that same fond smile.”
He let out a long sigh, looking off towards the direction they both knew lead to a burned-out mansion in an overgrown field.
“A little daydreaming is good, Princess. Please, don’t let me stop you.”
“What do you daydream of, Alfred?”
“Brats. Lots of them. Bearing the surname Wayne.”
He winked, then walked off. Diana smiled. She was aware the older gentleman had ideas about she and Bruce, however, they were just daydreams. Diana let out her own breath and closed her eyes as she bit into the honey-covered biscuit. A memory surfaced. A cold morning near a war, the hard ground under her butt, a warm shoulder next to hers, a smile causing crinkles to form around the most brilliant blue eyes, sharing some charred, hard as stone biscuits with a little honey on them. Diana knew it would always hurt, and yet she could not deny these daydreams. They were all she had left of Steve. Memories and dreams.