Someone nudges me in the ribs, startling me from my thoughts back to the present. Garth. Again. He's gonna bust a gill if he doesn't lighten up. Yeah, yeah, I nod, half-listening. He steps ahead of me in the receiving line. Something about he's royalty and outranks the rest of us Titans. Would be an insult to Diana if he didn't greet her in proper order.
Nightwing squeezes my shoulder. "You okay?" I nod. He doesn't buy it for a second. "We'll talk later." Again, I nod. He's almost past me before it hits me that he's hurting, too. My mind snaps out of its fog long enough to grab his arm. He turns. Sure, he's got the Bat-face down, but the shine of tears in his eyes gives him away. Some things you can't hide. "Beer's on me." He half-smiles, nods.
I watch as Garth greets Diana. My chest tightens in panic. I don't remember the friggin' greeting. Okay, okay, deep breath. Just watch the others. I mentally kick myself for not paying more attention to Gillhead. Dammit, Harper, don't screw this up. Kneel. Kiss the back of the hand. Kiss the forehead. Kiss the cheek. I watch Wingster just to make sure. Got it? Check.
He steps away and I take his place. I start to kneel. Diana stops me. Nothing like hundreds of eyes staring at your back to jumpstart another panic attack. Sweat beads on my palms. I glance at Garth. He gives me an "I don't know" shrug. Yeah, that's helpful. Not.
Several gasps followed by low whispers draw my attention back to Diana. She smiles warmly before kneeling and pressing the back of my hand to her lips. Another glance at Garth. He looks as green around the gills as I feel. Her lips brush my forehead. She's honoring me with the courtesan greeting.
I look into eyes so much like Donna's my heart aches. Maybe it's the whole Goddess of Truth thing she had going on, I don't know, but suddenly I feel I can tell her anything and it'll be okay. Her lips brush mine and I surprise myself by returning her kiss. Again, that smile. Part Mona Lisa, part Mother Teresa. She takes my arm in hers and leads me up the palace steps.