Pairings/Characters: Steve/Diana, Ma Hunkel, Alan Scott, Ted Grant, Dinah Drake Lance, brief mentions of Jay Garrick, Clark Kent, and Bruce Wayne plus various other unnamed JSAers
Genres: Angst (a bit), Fluff (with a touch of Drama), Holiday, Romance
Warnings: Racism, racist language
Summary: Steve and Diana help out Ma Hunkel at the Justice Society of America headquarters and enjoy the holiday season.
Date Of Completion: December 20, 2013
Date Of Posting: December 26, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2141
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: I wanted to get this posted before Christmas but Monday: LJ wonky; Tuesday: Christmas Eve; Wednesday: Christmas Day! So I’m posting it on Boxing Day. ;) The entire series can be found here.
Like silver bells
One a clear, cold night
As everyone holds
The memories dear
Steve entered the modest brownstone that housed the Justice Society of America’s headquarters. There was a wreath with red hollyberries and a big, red bow on the front door and a sparkling Christmas tree in the living room. The fireplace mantel was festooned with greenery and it twined around the balustrade of the staircase that led up to the second floor. The furniture was old but comfortable as Steve smelled something wonderful coming from the kitchen. He walked down the short hallway past the small divan with the telephone on a curved armrest. He gently pushed open the kitchen door.
The bright, yellow-painted kitchen with the modern white cabinets and shiny silver knobs was warm and efficient at the same time. The table and counters were covered with cookie sheets, mixing bowls and various ingredients.
Ma Hunkel’s stout figure was clad in a blue print housedress and full-length white apron decorated with blue-and-yellow flowers. Her short, gray hair was curly as her broad face showed approval.
Diana was rolling dough with a rolling pin. Dressed in a short-skirted red elf outfit trimmed in white fur, a matching hat was perched on her dark hair. Tiny earrings shaped like springs of holly swung from her ears.
“Good, Princess. Now sprinkle the flour and choose a cookie cutter and start cutting the dough.”
“A Christmas tree.”
“I thought I smelled something good in here.”
“Steve!” Diana smiled as she turned to greet her boyfriend. A golden bell attached to her Santa hat jingled. “We are baking Christmas cookies.”
“And a fine job you’re doing of it, too.”
Ma laughed. “Wonder Woman is a fine baker.”
Steve kissed Diana on the cheek. He rubbed his thumb over a smudge of flour. “What kind of cookies?”
“Shortbread and gingerbread,” said Ma.
“Mmm. How long for the batch in the oven?”
“Another ten minutes.”
“Hmm, I think I’ll stick around.”
Both women grinned. “Turn on the radio, will you, Steve?” asked Ma.
Steve turned on the red Bakelite radio on the counter. Little Brown Jug’s sprightly tune spilled out of the radio.
“How can I help?”
“Roll up your sleeves, soldier.” Ma pointed to a wooden board. “Start rolling.”
Steve grinned and removed his uniform jacket, hanging it up in the hall closet. He returned to the kitchen while rolling up his sleeves.
Standing at the counter next to Ma, he plopped some dough on the board and began flattening it out with a rolling pin. Diana finished her task and Ma said, “You can put these in five minutes from now.”
Diana nodded, her bells jingling. She re-tied the bow of her half-apron, which was decorated with smiling goldfish swimming as a school. She left the kitchen but returned only a minute later.
Steve sensed her behind him. Diana slid her arms around his waist as she rested her chin on his shoulder. “You have a good technique, my darling.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
She slid and apron around his waist and tied the bow.
“Puppy dogs?” Steve asked in amusement as he looked down at the design.
“Gamboling puppy dogs,” said Ma.
“Aww, sweetie.” Steve took some King Arthur flour and sprinkled it over the dough. “You always take care of me.”
“Always.” Diana nipped his ear and returned to her place at the counter.
The three of them worked quietly as the radio played Winter Wonderland: “Sleigh bells ring/Are you listening/In the lane/Snow is glistening…”
Ma took out the cookies and laid the sheet on a cooling rack. She set the next tray in the oven and shut the door.
“Are you planning another party, Ma?” Steve asked.
“No, the JSA meeting is tonight.”
“After the meeting we’ll be going to the Common and watching the lighting of the tree.”
“That reminds me, Ma, I’ve been meaning to ask you. How can you put a tree up so early? Won’t it dry out?” asked Steve.
“I thought it would, too, but the Lances know a woman in Gotham who Dinah met through her flower business. She claims to have an elixir that keeps cut trees and plants healthy. Her name’s Esmeralda Isley.”
“That’s great. I like to see a tree up as long as possible.”
“Jingle bells/Jingle bells/Jingle all the way…”
Diana moved her head and her cap jingled and she did a quick two-step. The bells attached to her short, red boots added to the melody.
Christmas songs continued playing and the last batch of cookies were finally placed in the oven. They all sampled warm cookies.
“Mmm, these are fantastic!” Steve enthusiastically sampled a gingerbread reindeer.
“I have to agree, some good batches here,” Ma said as she ate a shortbread snowman.
“Food for the Gods,” Diana proclaimed firmly as she bit into a gingerbread Christmas tree.
Ma poured out two mugs of hot chocolate and added tiny marshmallows and a candy cane in each one. “Go in the living room and sit by the fire. Here, have a few more cookies.”
Steve and Diana happily complied, sitting on the couch by the warmth of the fire. Diana curled up beside Steve and they watched the play of firelight on the glass ornaments and glittering garlands on the tree.
“I love you,” Diana said softly as she nuzzled Steve’s cheek.
Steve’s arm was around her and he tightened his hold as he smiled. “I love you, too, Angel.”
They sat in companionable silence, drinking their hot chocolate and listening to music from the kitchen. Both of them knew how precious these moments were. Both were Warriors and understood how precarious their time together could be. It was unspoken between them.
They remained that way until JSA members began to arrive. The monthly meetings could not be attended by everyone due to cases or missions in progress, but a good-sized complement was there.
Steve was allowed to attend the meeting due to his status as an auxiliary member. The secretary duties were rotated each month and it was Diana’s turn. She recorded the minutes and would send them on to those unable to attend.
The chairmanship also rotated, and it was Green Lantern’s turn to be in charge. The missions carried out here in America were reported on, and Wildcat asked about military matters.
“Captain Trevor, would you care to fill us in?” asked Green Lantern.
Steve nodded. As a member of Military Intelligence, he could impart invaluable information. He stood in front of the blackboard and began detailing a mission that the JSA was cleared to know about.
During a break in the meeting, Steve volunteered to get everyone hot chocolate. Ma had left the radio on low volume in the kitchen.
“President Roosevelt will deliver his annual Christmas message this Sunday at 7 o’clock Eastern Standard Time. The lighting of the White House Christmas tree takes place the night before. A year ago, Prime Minister Winston Churchill joined the President and Mrs. Roosevelt for the ceremony. He had journeyed across the perilous Atlantic in order to consult with President Roosevelt about the war soon after Pearl Harbor.”
Steve put the mugs of hot chocolate on a large serving tray. He had used the miniature marshmallows and peppermint candy canes to spice things up. Music started playing again after the news ended.
The superheroes were pleased with the hot chocolate. Diana went to the kitchen and returned with plates of cookies and everyone happily noshed on the treats.
“Great cookies, Ma,” said Wildcat.
“I can’t take all the credit. Steve and Wonder Woman made some.”
“Sure, why not?” Steve grinned. He puffed out his chest. “I’m secure in my manhood.”
“You tell ‘im, Steve,” said Black Canary as she ate her cookie.
Wildcat snorted but took another cookie.
The meeting resumed and was productive. When Green Lantern said he had an announcement, everyone perked up.
“The city is lighting their Christmas tree on the Common. Today is also the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I’d like to have a contingent there if we could. I can go. Anybody else?”
Several hands went up. No one questioned those who did not volunteer. They all had good reasons.
Out of the larger group who had attended the meeting, those who could go to the tree lighting were Green Lantern, Red Tornado, Wildcat, Black Canary, Flash, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Steve. They left the brownstone and headed for the Common.
People milled around the snowy Common, bundled up in heavy coats, caps, gloves and scarves. A huge tree was set in the center of the green, decorated with ornaments and garlands. A creche was set up at the base of the tree and vendors were selling hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts.
Diana was wearing a warm winter coat and Steve had put on a greatcoat over his uniform jacket. It was cold but the stars twinkled brightly in the clear night sky. Steve put his arm around her shoulders, watching as the mayor arrived and gave a little speech.
“A year ago today, our soldiers and sailors at Pearl Harbor were viciously attacked by the Japanese. As President Roosevelt said, it was a day that will live in infamy.” The middle-aged man’s cheeks were red from the cold. He stretched out his arm toward the heroes. “We are honored to have the Justice Society of America join us.” Applause rippled around the crowd, muffled by thick gloves. “By lighting this tree, we continue our celebration of Christmas. The Japs and Germans can’t keep us down!” More applause. “Keep ‘em flying!”
The mayor signaled a city worker and he flipped a switch. The giant evergreen tree lit up with an angel sparkling on top. A group of carolers began to sing.
“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la!”
Diana smiled at Steve. “This reminds me of Yule celebrations back home.”
“The singing and good fellowship. Also the tree.”
“Decorated with pomegranates and figs, I suppose?”
She laughed. “Something like that.” She grasped his hand. “Your people are strong. They will persevere.” She squeezed his hand.
He kissed her cheek, “We will, Angel.” He laughed. “There’s one on top of the tree, you know.”
She looked up and laughed delightedly. “So there is.”
There was much merriment as several carols were sung and the crowd joined in. A half hour later, the last carol began.
“Silent night/Holy night/All is calm/All is bright…”
Diana and Steve joined in as the gentle carol was sung. He felt a sense of peace settle in his heart. He would treasure this moment in the days to come.
The crowd was filled with soldiers and sailors among the civilians. They were either stationed Stateside or lucky enough to get a furlough. His current assignment here in the States made this night possible.
He and Diana returned to the brownstone and helped Ma with clean-up. As Steve returned a tray of mugs to the kitchen, he set it down on the counter. The radio was softly playing and Bing Crosby was crooning what was fast becoming his signature song.
“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas/Just like the ones I used to know/Where the treetops glisten/And children listen/To hear sleigh bells in the snow…”
He could hear Ma and Diana’s cheerful chatter in the meeting room down the hall. He took a set of papers out of his shirt pocket. They crackled as he opened them to read:
To: Captain Steven J. Trevor, USAAF
From: General Darnell’s Office, U.S. Military Intelligence
Date: December 6, 1942
You are hereby ordered to report to the Air Force Base in High Wycombe, England on December 26, 1942 to join the Eighth Bomber Command, United States Army Air Force.
So that was that. He would have to tell Diana before Christmas. It wouldn’t be fair to spring it on her the day after as he was running to catch a plane for England.
He had served for a time with the R.A.F. before Pearl Harbor as a fighter pilot, seeing extensive action during the Battle of Britain. He had trained in bombers, too, and apparently the Air Force needed his expertise in that area rather than in Military Intelligence, at least for now.
He replaced the orders in his pocket and started filling the sink with water as Diana and Ma entered with more mugs and plates. Steve found dishwashing liquid under the sink and poured some into the water. He rolled up his sleeves and Diana kissed him on the cheek.
“I love a man who can wash a dish.”
He laughed. “Thanks, Angel.”
For tonight, Steve was with his Angel, and all was well.