Pairings/Characters: Steve/Diana, Robert/Ivan
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: In June of 1968, Steve and Diana struggle with violence in-country and back home.
Summary: Wonder Woman and Steve attend a military ball.
Date Of Completion: August 3, 2007
Date Of Posting: August 7, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1294
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: jen_in_japan requested "Steve/Diana in Vietnam, sometime in the mid-to-late ‘60s" from my DCU GSB Fic Request Meme. All chapters can be found here.
(June 4, 1968)
The General’s ball was well-attended, as would be expected of a military affair of this magnitude. The subordinate officers wouldn’t dare refuse, and the reporters were interested in getting stories or quotes or at least cultivating sources. There were no politicians present, except for Wonder Woman, who was the official Ambassador from Paradise Island, and the U.S. Ambassador.
Diana looked at Steve with pride. He was easily the most beautiful man at the ball.
She smiled to herself. She knew she was biased, but his combination of tanned complexion, large, blue eyes framed by golden lashes, and silky blond hair did it for her. He always kept himself in excellent shape, a man worthy of an Amazon.
He was in his dress uniform, buttons gleaming and the cut of the clothes sharp and precise. She was wearing a white gown with a diamond necklace and bracelet, and a diamond-sapphire-and-topaz tiara glittered in her hair.
She saw the looks of the men and the envy of the women, her heart going out to her sisters, who had been trained to view their fellow females as rivals, not allies. The General spotted her and Steve and immediately came over.
“Wonder Woman, so glad to see you! And Major Trevor! A pleasure!”
“It’s Colonel Trevor now, General,” said Steve.
General Kraven frowned slightly, obviously not liking to be exposed as not up-to-date. He quickly covered his irritation by smiling at Diana and shaking Steve’s hand.
“We have some good old-fashioned American food here tonight, a nice change of pace from Vietnamese, eh? Anyway, the buffet is over there and may I say you’re looking extremely lovely tonight, Princess.”
Diana plastered a smile on her face and replied, “Thank you, General.”
As Steve swept her away he whispered with a grimace, “Sorry ‘bout that.”
“It’s not your fault, Steve. One cannot choose one’s commanding officers.”
Steve smiled slightly, then escorted Diana to the buffet table.
While they ate, they conversed with other attendees until they found themselves in a corner by a potted palm with Robert and Ivan, both looking resplendent in dress uniforms. Both were in the reserves and were entitled to wear the uniforms. The discussion turned to racial relations in the ranks.
“A lot of friction,” Robert observed as he ate his roast beef.
“You’d think that since the days of Truman’s Order of Integration in the early ‘50s, progress would have been made,” Steve said.
“I guess it mirrors the general society,” Ivan shrugged. “When Dr. King was killed a few months ago, it set off a lot of rage and frustration.”
“I know,” Steve said softly. “I was sorry to see it happen. Though I suppose Dr. King half-expected it.”
“He did.” Ivan’s voice was almost matter-of-fact in its grimness.
Robert shook his head. “I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever make true progress.”
“I think you will,” said Diana. As the men looked at her she explained, “I’ve seen much good here in Man’s World since I’ve been here. Certainly not all good, and much of it puzzling to me, but just because we bear the name Paradise Island doesn’t mean it was always Paradise, you know.” She smiled.
“Well, that brings us hope, then,” Robert answered with a smile of his own.
& & & & & &
Steve maneuvered himself around the room, making his political savvy work for him. A military man was a politician through-and-through: the military was rife with political intrigue and jockeying. He wasn’t particularly fond of it but knew he had to keep his hand in for his career’s sake.
“Hey, Stevie! Congrats on the new insignia!”
Carl Ratcliffe, a newly-minted colonel himself, smiled and tapped Steve on the shoulder.
“Thanks, Carl.” Steve kept his smile, trying to hide his dislike of the man. “I see you’ve been promoted, too.”
“Yep.” Carl buffed his insignia. “Well-deserved, too. Anyone who has to put up with these gooks deserves a reward.”
“Mmm,” Steve said, angry at the slur but well aware that it was common slang for the Vietnamese.
“So, you came with the Wonder chick, eh?” Carl winked lewdly.
“Yeah. Oh, excuse me, will you?”
Steve seethed, trying to calm down as he circulated.
Most of the conversation in the various groups was small talk, about the people, orphans, or American soldiers, keeping away from the war itself.
But not all of the conversations avoided the topic.
“Really, LBJ was right when he said we can’t just cut-and-run,” said one colonel, pushing up his glasses.
“And how are we supposed to win here? The people hate us and the protests are growing back home,” said a female war correspondent.
“Protesters!” sneered the colonel. “Hippies who wear the flag on their fannies and smoke pot and roll around in the dirt like rutting animals. Who the hell cares what they think?”
“As long as we have a draft, there’ll be protests,” said a male correspondent. “Once the draft goes, so will the protests.”
“Aren’t you the cynic!” said the woman.
He shrugged. “Just human nature. Once they kids don’t have to wind up in a meat grinder, they’ll stop their righteous indignation.”
Steve moved away from the trio. He noticed that Wonder Woman was talking to a group of majors and colonels and decided to slip outside for a moment.
He went out to the backyard by the pool. General Kraven lived quite nicely for himself. The water shimmered under the moon, Steve leaning against a stone statue of the Goddess Athena. The irony wasn’t lost on him.
He gazed up at the stars, wondering if he could pick out the JLA Headquarters from here. It was a magical place up high in the sky. During some of the missions he had taken part in, he had been welcome at the satellite, his flying and military expertise considered valuable assets. He had been honored to help out on those occasions.
“Hey, why you hidin’ out here, good buddy?”
Steve stifled a sigh. “Hey, Carl.”
Carl looked up at the sky. “What, you lookin’ for Superman?”
“Wouldn’t be surprised to see him.”
“Does he sniff around the Amazon, too? I suppose it’d be hard to defend your territory, huh? Bangin’ that piece of…urk!”
Steve had Carl up against the statue, its stone hardness easily handling the slam of the human body against it.
“Don’t say that about her, Carl! In fact, you shouldn’t talk like that about any woman! It’s guys like you who give the male gender a bad name!”
Carl choked at Steve’s arm against his throat. When Steve took away his arm, he sputtered, “You pussy! She’s got you domesticated, all right! What can I expect from a man who sleeps with a woman who’s far stronger than he is!”
Steve released him, anger still contorting his face. “You don’t know anything, Carl.”
Carl glared at him, straightened his uniform and stalked away.
Steve tried to calm down, pacing around the pool, moonlight shining in its watery depths.
He turned at the soft voice, drawing in his breath.
His Angel stood there, looking ethereal and like she belonged in the clouds, not on Earth.
“Are you all right?”
He smiled. “Of course, my love.” He held out his hand.
Jewels glittering in the moonlight, she took his hand, allowing him to draw her to him. They stood together for several moments, arms around each other, then returned to the party.
& & & & & &
As the evening wound down, he happily offered his arm to Wonder Woman, who just as happily took it. They left the ball, the night air slightly cooler than the heat of the day.
Words were not always necessary between them.