Continuity: Wonder Woman (2017)
Genres: Angst, Challenge, Drama, Holiday, Romance, Fix-It
Spoilers: For Wonder Woman (2017)
Summary: On one special night a year, Diana’s heart aches a little less.
Dates Of Completion: 9/28/17 + 9/29/2017
Date Of Posting: October 20, 2017
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1442
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for my 2017 DCU Fic/Art Wonder Woman Diamond Anniversary Challenge (DW) and (LJ) in the spirit of the season! :)
When the veil between worlds
Is at its thinnest,
“The Bubbling Cauldron:
Samhain Poems For Witches”
On Halloween 1919, Diana received her first visit from Steve, or more accurately, his ghost.
She had lit black and orange candles on Samhain, better known as Halloween in North America, and as she sat in her Parisian apartment, she waited with two golden plates on the black tablecloth as a scented pumpkin candle burned in the center of the table. Golden goblets studded with gems sparkled with wine, and the plates held offerings of apples, bread, and pumpkins. She was rewarded with the feeling of his presence that shadowy night, and when he emerged from those shadows, she still gasped.
“You are unscathed?” she asked, her beautiful eyes shimmering with tears. Her hand ached to touch his face.
His voice sounded strange, like an echo from a faraway place.
“I am glad.”
It was very difficult, this first visitation, because all she wanted to do was grab him and hold him close, but one cannot grasp a shade. It would be like trying to wrap one’s fingers around smoke.
“Can you stay long?”
“’Til the Witching Hour.”
For that, she was grateful.
This was their first Halloween. She hoped for many more.
On Halloween 1921, Diana took part in a séance. Spirits were summoned, but Steve faded before he fully appeared, and Diana frantically called his name. He appeared later to her that night, and in the future she never attended a séance again on All Hallow’s Eve.
On Halloween 1926, Diana surprised Steve. She wore her hair pinned up and a glittery flapper’s outfit, long pearls glistening and long, fake lashes fluttering. He laughed in delight. The black candles flickered and the Jack O’Lanterns glittered while the wine sparkled and the food smelled wonderful.
On Halloween 1929, Steve said, “Hard times are here.”
Diana nodded sadly. “How bad, my love?”
On Halloween 1932, Steve winked and said, “Happy days are here again.”
On Halloween 1939, Diana’s sadness was a weight upon her. Steve looked just as sad.
“Once more, war.”
“As bad as the last one?”
On Halloween 1940, Diana cried for her beloved Paris, and Steve watched helplessly.
On Halloween 1941, Diana could feel the sadness radiating off Steve. “What is it, Beloved?”
“My people…” He took a deep breath. “Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will be heartbreak for them.”
“Can you see the future?” She had never asked him that in all the years of their Halloweens together. Perhaps she did not want to know the answer.
Steve looked away. “I can’t say.” He looked back at her. “Please help my people, Diana.”
“Of course.” She gestured toward her costume and armor in the corner. “I shall help all upon the battlefields once again.”
On Halloween 1944, Steve and Diana shared a fine bottle of French wine. Or, Diana did, while Steve held a ghostly champagne flute while the champagne bubbled. He drank, all golden light and energy.
“One last toast,” he said.
Diana would remember his words when the Germans attacked through the Ardennes in a last-ditch effort to save the crumbling Reich, using hallowed ground from the last war.
On Halloween 1950, Diana said in dismay, “Another war? So soon after the last bloodletting?”
Steve nodded sadly. “I’m afraid it will be much like the war we experience: brutal, entrenched, and fighting dearly for every inch.”
Diana brushed away a tear. “Ares was truly correct in man’s love of war.”
Steve waved a hand. “I guess it’s in our nature, Angel. We needed that aggression way back for survival. It hasn’t been bred out of us yet.”
Diana nodded sadly. “But will mankind survive by the time it is bred out of you?”
Steve had no answer.
On Halloween 1961, Steve said, “One of my tribe is in the White House now.” He beamed with pride.
“Yes, and with a very stylish First Lady. The trip to Paris last spring was a triumph. She completely charmed DeGaulle.”
“A pity Jackie isn’t the one the old man is likely to negotiate with.”
Diana smiled serenely.
On Halloween 1962, Diana said, “There was nothing more frightening than the world on the brink of nuclear war last week.”
“It was close, Angel.” Steve shuddered. “Too close.”
On Halloween 1963, Diana was in high spirits. She failed to notice the shadows in Steve’s eyes until he said, “Everything is going to change for my country. Trust and innocence will be gone.”
“Why? How? Another war?”
Steve’s eyes grew sadder still. “You’ll know soon.”
On Halloween 1968, Steve raised a spectral glass. “Truly a crazy year.”
Diana touched her glass to Steve’s ‘glass’. “Truly so.”
On Halloween 1976, Steve beamed. “Wish me a Happy Birthday, Angel.”
Diana’s eyes sparkled as she played along. “Happy Birthday, my love.”
“Never thought I’d see the Bicentennial.”
Diana waved her hand. “Two hundred years. Mere infancy.”
“Spoken like a true Amazon.”
On Halloween 1988, Steve looked weary. “Seventy years is a long time, Angel.”
“I know.” Diana’s sadness matched Steve’s. “But your visitations on this one night a year…they help, Steve.”
“I know.” His unearthly blue eyes were sad. “I wish I could touch you.”
Diana bit her lip. She wished the same thing. She ached to feel solid flesh under her fingertips.
“You are so beautiful,” she murmured. Without conscious thought, she reached out to touch Steve’s face, encountering empty air and a slight chill, though a tingle did skitter along her fingers. She felt her heart break again.
On Halloween 1999, Steve said, “It will be a new century soon.”
Diana nodded. “New centuries are always a reason to celebrate.”</i>
Steve’s blue eyes sparkled. “This will be my first new one.”
“Ah, yes. Well, once you’ve seen a few pass, you will be quite blasé.”
“Oh, really?” He sounded amused.
“Oh, yes.” Diana did her best to sound convincing and Steve burst out laughing.
“Don’t ever try and play poker, Angel.”
She merely smiled.
On Halloween 2001, the mood was somber. Diana listlessly moved her food around her plate while Steve ‘drank’ his champagne without relish.
“It is…a horror.”
“Yes, and we’ve seen many of those.”
Diana stared down at her plate. The white bone china stood out against the orange tablecloth. “This time the war began with the murder of civilians.”
“Hundreds,” Steve grimaced. “My people are hurting.”
“I know.” Diana sighed. “One century passes with its political divide, and now religion.”
“Religion’s worse than politics.”
Diana’s mouth set in a disapproving line. “The Ancient World had its share of strife, though religion was not often the cause. Pagan religions with their pantheons of deities seem to have less need to be the One True Path than monotheistic religions do.” Candlelight reflected in her troubled eyes.
“I’m afraid so.” Steve shrugged. “The Catholicism I grew up with makes no bones about wanting to be the only religion.”
“Where will it end?” Diana’s distress was thick in her voice.
“I don’t know, Angel. I don’t know.”
On Halloween 2017, Diana toasted Steve with, “Nearly a century has passed. The Great War’s anniversaries are being observed.”
“A very special one close to my heart.”
Steve smiled gently.
On Halloween 2018, Diana waited for Steve to appear. As the evening wore on and he failed to show, her sorrow grew. Did the 100th anniversary of his death mean the loss of her visitations to her?
If so, she could not bear it. Bad enough that her heart ached 364 days of the year, but now she was to be denied this one night of the year, too?
Tears running down her cheeks, she pleaded, “Please don’t take Steve away from me again!”
“Don’t worry, Diana, I’m here.”
She turned, her brain processing that something was not quite right. “Your voice….”
“…is different, I know.” Steve smiled at her with all the love she knew he held in his heart.
He was dressed in the uniform in which she last saw him, but that suddenly shimmered and the American uniform he had worn in the photograph she had seen during the victory celebration in Paris appeared instead.
“No German uniforms,” he said. “No more.”
Diana approached slowly, her eyes searching his face. She reached out and touched his cheek.
“You are real. Solid,” she said in a wondering voice.
“No longer a ghost.”
The black candles flickered and the Jack O’Lanterns grinned. The lovers embraced in all the hunger of a hundred years.
This Halloween, they would both drink the champagne.
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