the movie is playing before her. diana is shifting uncomfortably in her head as they watch. for once, penny shares her discomfort as the move says that she--diana is zeus' child. at the exaltation of the sword before her, the supposed god killer. that seems to anger diana the most; in their shared mind's eye, penny sees that scene different: she sees the statue of a warrior, her head held high, her hands gone--yet at her side is a shining gold lasso that no one has ever touched, but all adore.
at the same time, the image blurs around the edges; and she sees the lasso laid against precious velvet. she can her hippolyta's voice, telling her that these were meant for her, that they would be what guided her, and it was blessed by the gods.
"they can't both be true," penny says, putting her head against her hand. the movie keeps going at a speed that she can't keep up with. she keeps feeling diana pulling on the knowledge: her mother writing in pain from an arrow shot at her shoulder; her mother telling her of being born from clay; and the clay's texture never staying the same in the recollections. even hippolyta's hair shimmers and shifts from a bright, straight blonde, to a long curly inky black.
they are. they can be, diana says, the sound her thoughts make forcing penny to sit up a little straighter. i know what we are watching isn't true. i know that the television who you've shown me isn't true either. i know i did not live her life as it is onscreen. diana shifts more as the scenes roll on. i have not always loved steve trevor. i think of him as etta candy's more than my own.
"you have kissed, though," penny says, frowning. "you have been together."
diana, somehow, makes it feel as if she's shrugged. as if her fingers have curled over the feelings, the memories of steve trevor in her head.
penny allows it. she mutes the television, though, and tries to shift through the wellspring of lives diana has lived. logically, she always knew that comics held different continuities, timelines, futures, pasts. that in mythology, gods could live in cycles over and over again, endless and always learning and unlearning, making and destroying.
it's so different when it's her own life now, shared with someone who wasn't always a god, but was god touched. she has questions for diana, big ones that are pressing against her mind, out of curiosity and out of a need to understand.
"how do you know?" she asks, standing up from the couch. the movie goes on as penny pets batty, and then pris. "which memories are real, which ones aren't? how can you be sure?"
diana takes momentary control of her hand, and reaches into the pocket of penny's pajama pants. their fingers wrap around the golden prefect, glowing and firm in their shared hand. my eyes are not always perfect. gods can deceive for sport. people can lie--lies so intricate and layered that it's hard to find reality, truth.
"that isn't really concrete, princess," penny says, keeping her fingers on the lasso. "i need something more than that. to-- to understand." she pushes insistently. she can feel in that strange sensation, diana reaching out to her. penny hesitates. then reaches back.
she finds herself pulled into that nowhere place that resembles themyscira. the grass a blinding green, the sky a beautiful blue. diana stands before her, the wind picking up in her hair. she looks regal here, and when she pulls out the lasso, penny intrinsically understands that the rope is real here as it is in reality.
diana offers one end to it. "you cannot lie here. try, however, to think of a memory. your own memory."
the lasso is warm beneath her fingertips. her thumb rubs against the side, as if penny is capable of rubbing through it, or wearing it down. instantly, the memory she has is of her grandmother adelaide, with her long white hair, her wizened face, the smell of the peppermint that permeated her house.
that's not the stand out, that's not what makes it stand out the most. it's the emotions behind her memories that are surprising when filtered through the lasso. usually, in her memories, the emotions, while there, weren't immediate. the feelings were more distant, in the past. holding the lasso between her fingers, the emotions are what's most overt now, recalling her grandmother's face in the memory: the warmth she had always found in her, the happiness she felt, the surety of a woman like this in her life. the woman who liked to listen to her stories, who took her into her home in a way that her parents never did.
diana tightens her grip on it. "you can feel it, can't you? the way you felt about her. the way she felt about you."
penny nods, trying to keep her own emotions at bay, trying not to be overwhelmed by how strong they were. she nods wordlessly in response. diana tugs on the lasso, and this time one of her memories emerges: diana walking down a beach. no battle flares, no men invading the beach. the smell of unfamiliar death, the awe and confusion of bodies around her, men moaning in pain. a metal wreckage, the smell of gasoline that has never permeated her senses before.
diana's emotions, sensations are just as overwhelming, just as strong as penny's own. diana's voice is gentle as she speaks, "you can feel it, can't you? the way i felt in my heart. the way every sensation feels here. how our emotions might not always be concrete or simple," she shuts her own eyes, letting penny experience the confusion, the surprise and curiosity. what it felt like for her to kneel down and see a man with blood running down his forehead, his eyes unfocused, his mouth forming words she couldn't understand then, but penny understands now as help me, please help me--
penny reaches out. wants to reach out to help him.
"memories that have layers, that aren't real don't feel like this," diana shifts them away from the memory with steve, bringing penny into the apartment, with ares' helmet between her hands, taking her away from such an overwhelmingly large memory. instead, she lets penny feel how easy it had been to crush it between her hands. how the memories at the edge of her mind had felt soft, immaterial. penny can tell immediately: the emotions are either too bombastic, even for diana, or too muted in the moments where it should have been large, overwhelming and clear. her fingers tug harder, on her own, and one simple tug turns them to shattered glass.
"minds can be fooled. but here," diana is finally close enough to reach up and tap penny's chest, "your heart-- my heart, cannot be fooled. not truly. and those who try to deceive either of us--"
"get a punch," penny supplies, with a cock of her chin.
diana smiles, and laughs. "yes. a punch."