Sacrifice (Paula)

by 'rith

Archive: Ask first, please.
Timing: Set during "The Golden Age" Elseworlds by James Robinson. Disclaimer: Characters and situation by DC, words by 'rith.

From the diary of Paula Brooks:

She's going back to him.

God, I can't even-- she's going *back.* To HIM. Even knowing who he really is!

He'll touch her and she won't flinch, because she's that strong. He'll watch her and sleep in her bed and *force* her--

I couldn't do it, Joan. I don't know how you can.

No, I do. Because you're a hero. And I'm just-- a reformed thief. I'm not like you or Lance. When they offered me the deal I took it, because I'd have been caught eventually and it was a convenient way to avoid prison. And I've tried, I really have. But sometimes those old impulses come back, like when you handed me the locked diary. The *thrill* of breaking into someone's secrets, that nasty little itch to get into places where I'm not supposed to be. Do things I'm not supposed to do.

But you're not like that. You're a good girl, America's sweetheart, a fairy-tale princess married to a fairy-tale prince. Except that it's rotten underneath, it's all rotten and no one knows what kind of hell you're trapped in. No one but you and me. You said you'd go back, and the men praised you for being a good soldier, and they just don't have any *idea.* They're sending you back to be hurt and raped and you can't tell, you can't even scream--

They can't *understand.* But I do.

You're just too innocent for this. I'd rescue you if I could. Protect you from things you never should have seen, never should have suffered. Get you the hell out of there and far, far away, somewhere that we could forget about costumes and villains and monsters who wear stolen human faces.

But you'd never go. You never even *considered* doing anything but going back and playing your role as the dutiful wife. And now you're spy, bait, distraction, and sacrifice, all in one. Hero to the--

Not that. God, not that. Be careful, Joan, be quiet. Do what I do and hide yourself in plain sight. Don't take *risks.* And maybe, maybe we'll both survive this.

Because if you don't, there really is nothing left to believe in.

{end entry}

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