Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana
Genres: Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Rating (this chapter): R
Warnings (this chapter): Sexual violence (dreams)
Spoilers: References in various chapters to events in "Until The Yellow Sun Blesses You Again...".
General Summary: Diana and Steve’s love has always been strong, and they have always had each other’s back. Now they need that strength and teamwork when they are captured during a war on an alien planet.
Summary: Diana and Steve struggle with his knowledge of the attack.
Date Of Completion: January 26, 2008
Date Of Posting: February 4, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1439
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Further Notes here.
All chapters can be found here.
I decided to use the aliens from "Until The Yellow Sun Blesses You Again...". Why waste good bad guys and their vicious winged pets? ;)
Yeah, I labelled this "One" as in first-in-a-series, because I think a sequel might be in order. If I don’t write one, I’ll just knock off the Roman numeral.
In an aside, I’m glad that we were taught Roman numerals in grade school, otherwise how could we know which Super Bowl it is? ;)
Delicate yet strong,
No mere token,
Emily Adams Cutler
“Yellow Roses And Other Poems”
Steve huddled against the rock, his arms around his midsection as he rocked back-and-forth. Diana knelt beside him, aching to touch him but keeping her hands on her knees.
“Beloved…” she said softly.
Her heart was pierced as Steve looked up, anguish in his eyes.
She was looking into the eyes of a tortured soul.
“How can you call me that?” he whispered.
“Because it’s true.” She watched the play of moonlight on his face and hair. “You always will be, Steve. From the first moment I laid eyes upon you.”
He took a shuddering breath. “You didn’t…see…”
“No.” She leaned forward slightly. “I took care of your attackers, as you took care of me when I was drugged. It is always that way between us.”
He stared at her for a moment more, then slowly nodded. Heartened, Diana said, “Lie back and rest. Dawn will be in a few hours.” She saw how bright his eyes were and knew the fever was still running. What little luck they had was in the fact that it appeared to be a low-grade fever, at least for now.
Steve moved and grimaced. “I…feel…all broken inside…like glass…all jagged…”
“I know.” She moved to sit next to him, stretching out on the blankets they used at night, pulling the other blankets over her and handing him the other.
He took it and stretched out beside her, keeping six inches between them but staying close.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“It’s not your fault.” Someday you will be able to touch me again, and allow me to touch you. “Rest, Beloved. We need our strength.”
He settled down with a sigh.
& & & & & &
The next day was subdued but Steve didn’t avoid her eyes as she feared he might, though he was clearly jittery. Diana was grateful that there had been no further nightmares, but she doubted that he had fallen asleep for the remainder of the night.
Around noon they started walking by forests closing in both sides of the road instead of the endless rocky terrain.
While Diana kept her senses tuned to their surroundings for security, she also kept her attention on her companion. Steve was pushing himself to keep up, but his eyes were haunted, his fingers white-knuckled on the saddlebag he carried.
They had spoken little all day, Diana worrying over his fever and now what the knowledge of the rape would do to him.
By early afternoon they came upon a grove of fruit trees. Delighted, they went up to a tree and plucked one of the offerings.
“It looks like an apple.” Diana sniffed it, then licked the reddish-yellow skin. She bit into it and the sweet/tart flavor was delicious. She offered the apple to Steve, whose small smile was tinged with amusement at the image but he took it and bit into it.
“Mmm. Good.” He laughed a little. “I guess it could have been Eve and Steve in the Garden of Eden, eh? Quite a twist for the fundies who always claim that’s it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
Diana joined in his laughter, glad to see that he could make a joke.
They picked several apples and divided them between the saddlebag and rucksuck.
The sun touched Steve’s hair and Diana wanted to kiss him, but carefully directed her attention to the rucksack.
& & & & & &
They rested during the hottest part of the afternoon, Steve’s legs pulled up and his head bowed on top of his arms as they rested on his knees. Diana sat close by, not looking at him but every sense tuned to him.
“I’m…I’m sorry, Angel.”
She looked at him immediately. “For what, Beloved?”
He didn’t look at her. “For not being strong enough.”
She felt the shame radiate off him in waves and instinctively reached out to grasp his arm but pulled back.
“Steve, please look at me.”
He obeyed, the shame shadowing his eyes.
“Steve, it wasn’t your fault.” She leaned forward, earnestness in every ounce of her body. “You were attacked by several G’darrans, far bigger and stronger than you.”
His voice shook slightly. “I should have tried harder to…to fight them off.”
Diana’s heart ached for him. Only extreme willpower kept her from touching him, knowing that it would hurt him.
“Steve, you and I are warriors.” She curled her hand into a fist and held it close to her heart. “We fight, and sometimes the odds are against us. You fought to keep me safe when I was drugged and vulnerable. You won that fight for me but lost your own fight, and that deeply grieves me, Beloved, but it doesn’t make me love you less.”
Tears misted her vision and she saw the suffering in his face as he asked softly, “Angel, will you always…love me?”
He looked at her, then shuddered and closed his eyes, bowing his head again as he whispered, “Better it was me than you.”
The tears spilled down her face as her hand touched his hair. He tensed for a moment, then allowed her touch to remain as he wept quietly.
& & & & & &
When they settled for the night, Diana curled up on her blankets, tossing one over herself. The sound of the river was soothing and one she and Steve were accustomed to by now.
Diana began to fall asleep, then came fully awake as she felt a strong arm slide around her ribs, a hand resting on her stomach. The arm was trembling slightly, followed by the length of Steve’s body as he just barely touched her in a spooning motion. She smiled in the dark, relaxing against him and falling asleep.
& & & & & &
Wonder Woman nodded to her partner, Steve covering her with his Toronian rifle. She leaped forward, shouting, “Hola!” as she slammed into a knot of G’darran soldiers, scattering them as she punched and kicked, her golden lasso spiraling out and capturing the leader. She dragged him to stand inches from her, his sneer contorting his face.
“Woman, release me!” he thundered.
Diana smiled. “I don’t think so, G’darran. I don’t take orders from invaders. You should leave these peaceful people alone.”
The leader of the squad spat on the ground close to her boots. “Female swine! What do you know of the manly art of war?”
Wonder Woman’s smile grew. “My people invented it.”
She reached back and then let loose with a punch, the G’darran crumpling to the ground. As she removed the lasso, Steve came up to her.
“Invented it, eh?”
“Well, it sounded good.”
He laughed and Diana winked, and then they were back in the thick of battle, smoke rising and the acrid smell of energy discharge lingering over the battlefield.
A screech alerted Diana to the diving presence of a m’kattra and she and Steve aimed as one, energy bolts blasting the winged creature out of the air and to the ground.
They ran forward, fighting their way through dozens of the enemy, and then the tide turned, the G’darrans pushing forward and numbers starting to overwhelm. Wonder Woman kept up a continual fight as Steve fought beside her, then she gasped as her bracelets were tied together and her strength left her, Steve falling under a mass of soldiers.
The world tilted crazily and the sun disappeared behind the smoke and clouds, Steve yelling, “Get off me!” and the victory shouts turning to laughter as the soldiers tore Steve’s clothes and hands pinned his arms over his head, running their hands over his body as he kicked out, a fist punching/dazing him and then they turned him over…
“Angel!” he cried, panic in his voice.
& & & & & &
Diana woke gasping, trying to take in lungfuls of air as Steve’s arms banded around her.
“It’s okay, Angel, you’re fine, everything’s all right…”
Diana slowly came back from the nightmare, holding Steve’s arm that held her, looking up into his worried eyes.
“Bad nightmare, eh?”
“That’s okay. Had a few myself lately.”
Diana looked at his shadowed eyes and slightly-wry smile and hugged him. He didn’t stiffen or pull away and she clung to him like a lifeline. He gently stroked her hair.
Wordlessly they curled up on the blankets, Steve holding her tightly and she holding on just as hard.