Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Diana (Diana does not appear in this chapter), Hal Jordan
Series Notes: I’ve collected all my Steve/Diana stories that take place early in their relationship under the title The Princess And The Pilot. The entire series can be found here.
Genres: Challenge, Drama, First Time, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Claim: For the dcu_freeforall Challenge (Diana/Steve)
Prompt: T 14; P 6: Love At First Sight
Prompt Count: (15/15)
General Summary: Destiny is met as it is love at first sight for Steve and Diana.
Chapter Summary: Steve experiences unsettling feelings before his test flight.
Date Of Completion: January 22, 2012
Date Of Posting: April 9, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 903
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Also written for my 2012 DCU Fic/Art Angels Challenge. Prompts: Angel (Term Of Endearment), Fallen Angel.
Like an Angel,
Sparkling on sapphire.
His heart awaits.
"Paradise And Other Poems"
Steve drank his coffee, appreciative of the buoyancy of the brew. He resumed eating his eggs, enjoying the paprika sprinkled over them. He ate a slice of crisp bacon and gazed out the cafeteria window. It was a bright blue autumn sky, perfect for flying.
He felt the old familiar tingle of excitement coiled in his belly. He was going to test the XJ-6 this morning, a plum assignment.
Despite the anticipation, Steve sighed and looked around the cafeteria.
It was an ordinary cafeteria on a military base with bilious green-painted walls, cheap Formica tables and uncomfortable plastic chairs. The coffee could often peel paint and there was always mystery meat, but most of the food was good.
He had been in cafeterias like this all around the world. They were always the same no matter where they were located.
Probably the military’s penchant for standardization and the nature of cafeterias themselves.
He pushed around the eggs on his plate desultorily. He didn’t understand his mood. He was a fighter and test pilot at the top of his profession, well-respected by his peers and superiors, a war veteran and…he didn’t know what came after ‘and’.
“Hey, buddy, what’s up?”
Steve looked up and smiled. His best friend Hal Jordan could always cheer him up. “Not much.”
“Like hell!” Hal laughed. “I hear that you’re going to be testing the XJ-6.” Hal slid into the opposite seat.
“Wow, word travels fast,” Steve said wryly.
“You know the military grapevine. For all the stereotypes about women being gossips, men are worse.”
Steve laughed. “You’re right about that.” He poked a fork in his eggs.
“Is there something wrong, Steve?”
Steve looked up with a rueful smile. “Is it that obvious?”
“Just to those that know you.”
Steve stared down at his plate. “I don’t know.” He looked at Hal again. “I just feel…”
Steve considered that. “Maybe.” He sighed. “I just feel that a part of me is missing, if that makes sense.”
“Sort of.” Hal picked up Steve’s fork and stabbed a plump sausage, lifting it up and taking a bite. “We all have odd feelings at times.”
“I guess you’re right.” Steve smiled. “Maybe it’s just jitters before the test flight.”
“Sure, that’s it.” Hal’s brown eyes sparkled as he teased with the sausage. “Would you like me to come along for the pre-flight check?”
Steve’s smile was affectionate. “Sure, why not?”
They left the cafeteria and drove to the tarmac. Hal was impressed by the sleek silver jet.
“She’s a real beauty.’
“She certainly is.” Steve touched the warm metal. “I can’t wait to fly this baby.”
“Wish I could stick around for the test but I’ve got someplace to be.” Hal’s tone was laced with regret.
“Hey, that’s okay.” Steve clapped a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I know you’re got my back.”
Hal flashed a smile. “Always.” He climbed up the ladder to the cockpit. “Let’s check this baby out.”
Steve followed, feeling a little better.
Soon Steve was flying through the air, keeping his eye on the instrument panel and handling the jet, putting it through its paces. His instincts were excellent. General Darnell said that he had the best instincts he had ever seen. He checked in with Control, reporting no problems.
Steve always felt incredibly free while flying. He soaked up the blue skies and white clouds and felt like Icarus flying toward the sun.
He kept his mind on the task at hand, though part of his mind replayed his conversation with Hal. He was feeling empty lately. He wasn’t sure why.
Maybe it’s mild depression.
He pulled on the joystick, bringing the plane’s nose up. He performed some intricate maneuvers, noting the jet’s reactions.
He was grateful that Hal had come over to see him this morning. Hal was a good friend, his best friend. They had a casual sexual relationship, too, though Steve had once wanted more.
Maybe I still do, but it would be hard to continue a relationship in the Air Force even with DODT dead.
Steve noticed it was a little difficult to pull up this time. He eased up on the joystick.
The clear blue water of the sea sparkled below him. There wasn’t a boat in sight, just endless expanses of ocean. Few islands appeared in that jewel-like setting. Steve enjoyed the view as he banked the jet into another maneuver.
Suddenly the plane began to vibrate. Metal screamed as Steve hastily leveled the jet out but the shaking continued as lights on the control panel blinked and the alarm went off. Cursing, he wrestled with the joystick as the XJ-6 nosedived.
“Trevor to Control, Trevor to Control. Malfunction causing a nosedive. If I can’t get her under control I’ll have to bail.”
His muscles ached as he tried to pull the jet out of its deadly dive. The control panel was unresponsive and began to spark. Steve fumbled for the eject button. Nothing.
He felt a thrill of alarm but forced himself to keep calm. He’d been in situations like this before. Just keep his head and he’d survive.
The last thought he had before the jet hit the sea was how beautiful the ocean looked as the sunlight sparkled off sapphire-blue.