Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana (Steve does not appear in this chapter), Clark/Bruce (Bruce does not appear in this chapter)
Genres: Angst, Challenge, Drama
Rating (this chapter): R
Claim: For the dcu_freeforall Challenge (Diana/Steve)
Prompt: T 12; P 42: Scar/Scarred
Prompt Count: (13/15)
Warnings (this chapter): Memories of rape.
Spoilers: For Stained Glass I: Shattered.
General Summary: Steve struggles to come to terms with what happened to him on an alien planet.
Chapter Summary: Clark tries to comfort a distraught Diana.
Date Of Completion: December 12, 2009
Date Of Posting: April 15, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 667
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
The entire series can be found here.
NOT THE ONLY ONE
A solitary burden
When one loves
Emily Adams Cutler
"Yellow Roses And Other Poems"
Diana stared down at her herbal tea, starlight shining in the liquid. Her shoulders were uncharacteristically slumped, lines of tension around her eyes and mouth.
“Mind if I have a seat?”
Diana looked up to see Clark, a gentle smile on his face. “Certainly not.”
Clark slipped into the seat next to her.
The Watchtower cafeteria was nearly empty. Things were quiet right now, no urgent missions, which Diana regretted. She could really use less time to think…and worry.
“You seem under-the-weather.”
“One of our many American colloquialisms.”
Diana laughed softly. “You really are of this world, are you not, Clark?”
Clark’s smile was warm. “I am.”
“Does it bother you, not knowing Krypton?”
“I know of it.” Clark looked down at Earth slowly rotating beneath them. “I wasn’t born here, but I can’t remember any other place. Krypton is my heritage. Earth is my home.”
Diana smiled slightly. “You are special, Clark.”
“So is Steve.”
A shadow crossed Diana’s face. “Yes,” she whispered.
Clark grasped her hand and squeezed it. “He just needs some time alone for awhile.”
Diana sighed. “He was doing so well, after the surgery. He went to counseling…”
”Sometimes it doesn’t take right away.” Sadness flickered in Clark’s eyes.
“I know.” This time it was Diana who squeezed Clark’s hand.
He sighed. “Have you checked on him?”
“Once, from afar. He was walking the beach by himself.”
“You said he’s in northern Maine?” Diana nodded. “Pretty cold at this time of year.”
“I know. I…I just worry.”
Sympathy shimmered in Clark’s eyes. “It’s not easy.”
“It is not.” Diana adjusted her tiara. “I fear for my love.”
“I know. Have you heard from him?”
Diana shook her head, dashing away a tear. “He…he is…”
“…pushing you away?” At Diana’s nod, Clark sighed. “I’m sorry, Diana. It’s not unexpected, though. Steve was hurt badly.”
“He does not feel worthy of me.”
“I know.” Clark squeezed her hand again. “I know it’s hard, but have a little more patience. And it’s not your fault, not any of it, not any more than it’s Steve’s.”
Diana sighed. “Intellectually, I know that, but my heart says differently.”
“It’s tough, isn’t it?” She looked at him and he continued, “We’re two of the most powerful people on the planet, and sometime we can’t help the ones we love the most.”
Tears shimmered in her eyes.
Diana tried to get some sleep that night in her quarters on the Watchtower, but it was difficult as she replayed her last conversation with Steve over-and-over in her mind:
“Stop smothering me!” Steve snapped.
Diana blinked. They were standing in the kitchen of Steve’s home.
“You’re at work, at home, always hovering! I don’t need a nursemaid!”
Diana quickly clamped down on a rush of anger. She knew where Steve’s hostility was coming from.
“I am sorry, my darling. I will leave.”
She turned to go but a strong hand grasped her arm. Turning back, she clearly saw Steve’s misery.
“I’m sorry, Angel,” he whispered.
Diana drew him into an embrace, both of them clinging to each other.
When they broke apart, Steve brushed a lock of hair back from Diana’s eyes.
“I have to leave, Angel.”
Diana stared at the starlit patterns dancing across the ceiling. She remembered a lot more than that last conversation.
She remembered finding Steve battered and bloody after he had been brutally raped on G’darra, a planet ravaged by war, and when he came back to consciousness, he did not remember anything about the attack until it had burst over him like water breaking over a dam.
Her precious love had suffered so much, and continued to do so.
If only she could help.