Title: Wild Montana Skies
Characters: female!Nite Owl II/Silk Spectre II
Warnings: Rule 63
Summary: Post-Karnak, Samantha and Sandra Hollis find a moment of happiness. Written for electricenigma for wm_secretsanta.
Laurie, now Sandra, has seen Nite Owl in her element many times: flying the re-made Owlship over Detroit and Chicago, ziplining down the length of a building to rendezvous with The Dark Shade (Laurie’s other new self) on the alleyway streets, bending the arm of a man half her age behind his back and making him drop to his knees.
Yet she’s never seen Samantha, seen Danielle, in her element until now.
Sandra walks next to Samantha as they enter the woods, an owl – a great horned owl, did Samantha say? – clasped onto Samantha’s arm. He’s a tiny thing, the scientists at the reserve said, too small to live in the wild but they let him out to fly, and trust that Samantha knows what she’s doing. The owl spins its head around and stares back at Sandra for a few seconds, then looks elsewhere just as quickly. Sandra doesn’t know if she’ll ever get used to how they do that, keeps imagining her own neck turned around like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist whenever she sees it, but Samantha turns her chin down toward the owl, and laughs as it makes a hooting noise.
Sandra didn’t even know Samantha could find this sort of peace as – well, not as herself, they’re not exactly themselves anymore, although Sandra feels like she’s coming closer to the person she’s supposed to be every day – but as a civilian. Samantha is happy in this forest, suffused with a calm that’s even starting to affect Sandra, who bit her tongue the whole trip to Montana trying not to complain about how there would be bugs and loud animals and no bathrooms but is finally starting to enjoy herself. It makes Sandra wonder why Danielle didn’t just take off to the country as soon as the Keene Act was passed.
Of course, Sandra also knows the depressing seduction of spending year after year doing nothing. And while they aren’t always happy in this new life – sometimes Sandra catches Samantha staring with glazed eyes off into the distance and doesn’t need to ask why – Sandra touches the silver ring around her finger and wonders if finding one thing to love somehow helps you find the others more easily.
“This looks like a good spot,” Samantha says as they come to a clearing in the woods.
The owl’s head spins around more rapidly as they stop. Sandra sits down on a stump and looks up at Samantha. The sunlight catches in the blonde streaks of her dyed hair. It was probably a mistake, that hair. It looks nothing like Danielle’s and is a better disguise than Sandra’s, but it makes her look like a butch lesbian.
Okay, so they are lesbians, or something like lesbians. They’re not even trying to hide it, despite her mother’s suggestion that they pretend to be sisters (said with a guilty fear in her eyes). Still, while Samantha says she’s grown to enjoy the freedom of the short hair, especially considering her costume’s cowl, Sandra wishes she hadn’t been so hasty with the scissors the morning they returned to America, the morning they committed themselves to trying to move on and starting a new life.
Samantha half-sits, half-leans against a fallen tree. The owl spins its head back behind itself, then spreads its wings. Sandra catches Samantha’s eye as the owl brings its wings in again, and Samantha smiles back at her.
Sandra has spent years watching a man get lost in his work. Yet as the bird flaps its wings in a silent frenzy and takes to the air, Sandra can see the wonder in Samantha’s expression. Samantha must have seen birds in flight millions of times, yet there is such joy in her eyes – those eyes which are no longer hidden behind glasses but still have the same color and warmth of the woman she fell in love with – that Sandra knows no matter what happens, even if their losses occasionally shadow their days, Samantha will never lose touch with the world. Sandra will never be that type of widow again.
Samantha removes the glove as the bird flies above them. “I told you it would be cool.”
Sandra laughs, watches the owl glide through the air. “Next vacation, though, we’re going to the beach.” She bites her lip, unsure of her next words. “Or Vietnam.”
“Vietnam?” Samantha asks. “What’s there?”
Sandra’s not sure, has only heard vague rumors of a conversation between the man who might have been her husband and the man who might have been her father. She’s not sure if what she learns will make her happy or heartbroken, but Sandra needs her own comfort and peace these days … and it’s her turn to pick, anyway.
After awhile the bird swoops down again, perches back on Samantha’s gloved hand. Samantha has seen these creatures so many times, but looks at it like there’s so much more to discover.
“We’ll get there soon,” Samantha says. “I promise.”
A/N: Title taken from "Wild Montana Skies" by John Denver.