Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana, Clark/Bruce
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): Discussion 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: Steve receives a visitor to the cottage.
Date Of Completion: December 18, 2009
Date Of Posting: April 23, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1159
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
The entire series can be found here.
Soothes the restless soul,
Soothes the wounded soul.
Sir Henry Blacknell
"A Life Lived By-The-Sea"
Steve walked around the kitchen while he waited for the tea to boil. He picked up a plate, considered cutting a slice of lemon cake, put the plate back, nearly dropped the teacup as he pulled it out of the cabinet, walked over to the window and looked out at the sea which was as restless as he felt. He crossed his arms, listening to the sound of the old-fashioned sun-shaped wall clock ticking loudly in the silence.
He was grateful for the bulkiness of his dark-blue sweater. Despite adequate heating in the cottage, he was always cold, and that had been before his plunge into the sea.
Of course, it was a miracle that he hadn’t died of pneumonia after his impromptu dip in the ocean.
He rubbed his fingers along his arm as he watched the white-capped waves. He remembered the mind-numbing cold, the urge to just slip away and let the waves close in over his head and sweep him away.
Did he really want to come out of the frigid Atlantic? He must have, or else why had he struggled back onto the beach, gasping for breath?
He missed his Angel.
The teakettle began to whistle and he went to the stove, removing the kettle and placing it on another burner, pouring a cup. He sat down at the wooden table, admiring the old-fashioned décor of the room, the cabinets and stove designed in Art Deco style, the blondwood cabinets sporting shiny silver knobs. The curtains were blue-checked gingham, the teakettle shiny copper, and he wished he could stop feeling like he was fragmenting into a million pieces of shattered glass, the shards jagged and bleeding.
He almost dropped the cup as a knock sounded on the door. Warily he stood. “Who is it?”
Steve’s eyes widened as he recognized the voice and opened the door.
The Batman slipped into the kitchen, cape swirling in the restless wind. Steve quickly closed the door against the cold. “Ummm…glad to see you.” Suddenly fear grabbed his heart. “Is Diana all right?”
Batman turned and nodded.
Puzzled, Steve asked, “Would you like some tea?”
Batman removed his cowl. “Thanks. It is pretty cold out there.”
Steve poured his guest a cup of tea, bringing it over to the table and setting cup and saucer in front of Bruce, who sat down in one of the chairs while removing his gauntlets.
Steve sat down, curiosity in his blue eyes. “So everything’s fine?”
Bruce sipped his hot tea gratefully. “Diana’s fine, Steve. So are your family and Hal.”
Relieved, Steve sipped his own bracing tea. “So, what are you doing, checking up on me?” he asked with a hard-edged tone.
“Not exactly.” Bruce set his cup back in its saucer, the slight clatter jangling Steve’s nerves.
“Well, I don’t need a babysitter, Bat or otherwise,” Steve snapped. He hated the irrational anger building up in him, and resented Bruce for bringing it out.
“I know how you feel.”
Steve snorted. “I doubt that.”
“Don’t doubt it.”
Steve stopped in mid-sneer, something in midnight-blue eyes making his own widen.
“You…?” he choked.
Bruce nodded slowly.
“I…I’m…” Steve didn’t know what to say.
“About three years ago. I was out of sight for awhile if you remember.”
Steve nodded numbly. Bruce’s face was set, his mouth in a grim line, but Steve saw the pain in his eyes.
It was like looking into a mirror.
“It happened on an alien planet, too. There was no elemental fear of the Bat in those people as with ours.
“I was captured and without my weapons. My captors…my rapists…had nothing but contempt for prisoners. Their culture demanded suicide rather than surrender. They had no compunctions about acting out their contempt for me.”
Bruce’s fingers curled around his teacup’s handle, the yellow rose pattern sunny against the bone china. His voice was calm, but Steve could hear the tremor underneath.
“Clark found me.”
Steve stifled a wince. He knew that Diana had found him…after.
“He was devastated, of course. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember anything, but it all came crashing down on me soon enough. Before the memories came back, I knew something was wrong in the way Clark kept looking at me, his tension that I could feel…and when I remembered, I pushed him away. Situation normal.”
Steve sipped his tea, his throat terribly dry. He tried to ignore the shaking of his hand.
“I nearly destroyed myself and Clark.” Bruce put down his teacup. “He kept blaming himself, of course. The most powerful man on Earth, and he wasn’t there to save me.” He sighed softly. “People like Clark and Diana sometimes suffer despite all their powers.”
Silence fell over the room, broken only by the tick of the clock on the wall and the muffled sound of the sea.
Steve felt his stomach knot. "I…I can’t stop thinking about it.”
Steve looked into those midnight-blue eyes.
Diana was bone-tired. She did not wear helplessness well.
Worry filled her nights and days. Steve would have to survive with his own strength, but she feared that without help, the journey would be too taxing.
She still felt bereft. She missed Steve. She missed his smile, his easy charm, his gentle teasing. She loved his generous heart, his strength of will, his Apollonian beauty.
She missed the man who understood her in ways that no one else could.
She looked up from her spot on the cliff overlooking Boston Harbor, a favorite place of hers to come to for quiet time.
“Hola, Princess!” Blue eyes sparkled as Superman lowered himself to float a few feet away from her. Diana stood up from the boulder she’d been sitting on. “Wait here. I have a surprise for you.” He flew off.
Intrigued, Diana waited, feeling a little better. Clark always had that effect on people.
A twig snapped behind her and she turned, her eyes widening as her heart leapt.
Steve stood there, Batman several feet behind him, staying in the shadows of the trees. Her lover looked a little nervous, and she tried to hide her shock at how gaunt Steve looked, his clothes a little loose on him, but he smiled.
“Beloved,” Diana breathed.
She ran to him, and he put his arms around her.
“I want to tell you, Angel, that…I need you. I…can’t do this alone.”
Diana nearly sobbed but said, “I am here, my love. Together, no matter how painful the journey, we will prevail.”
Diana smoothed Steve’s hair while holding him tightly as he trembled slightly.
Clark floated down next to Bruce, sliding an arm around his lover’s shoulders, Bruce smiling slightly as he twined his hand with Clark's.