I'm warm when I wake up, still foggy with sleep, still in-between being awake and going back to bed. I crack open my eyes, blinking a few times, trying to figure out where I am. Memories of last night flood in on me, the pleasure, the passion, and most of all, the admissions that both Steve and I made to each other. I loved him, and he'd loved me since the night of the Marine Corps Ball. The night we danced until the music stopped, the night I'd pulled him in and kissed him. Now I'm here, in his bed, in his arms, a soldier on the run. His arms tighten around me when he feels me stirring, and he kisses the top of my head.
"Morning." He says, smiling down at me. I look up, watching as his baby blues focus on me. I smile, snuggling close to him, inhaling the sweet scent of him. He kisses my nose now, pulling me to lay on his broad chest. "You have... no idea... how long I've wanted this. To wake up with you in my bed." My smile broadens and I run my fingers through his blond locks.
"I'm so sorry it took me this long to see... what I was missing out on. You're a fantastic guy, Steve." I say honestly, pressing my lips to his. His lips are very soft, full and beautiful. He pulls me closer, kissing me again, his hand gripping my bicep to hold my arms in place.
"Don't even start." Steve whispers, looking up at me through his lashes. God I was so close to him, I could feel every curve of his body and count his eyelashes. I could see my reflection in his eyes. "Don't start, Diana. You were afraid. That's nothing to be ashamed of."
"I should have seen, Steve. With Clay or you or Bucky... you're all capable. If something were to kill you in the field, there would have been nothing anyone could do. I should have let myself love you. Instead of... pushing you away. I'm sorry." He pulls my lips against his once more to silence me, stroking my hair.
"I'm sorry all of this... all the things that have come to light... have happened to you. SHIELD lying to you, HYDRA lying to you. What are you going to do?" Steve asks. I bite my lip gently.
"There's the million dollar question." I chuckle, looking to him, "I think I have to hide where HYDRA won't look for me."
"Back at SHIELD." Steve whispers. I nod, hating the bitter taste that the idea leaves in my mouth. "Diana there's something I have to tell you."
"What?" I ask, moving aside so we can lay on our sides. He pulls me close to his chest, making it a little hard to look into his eyes. He looks down, pulling my chin up and kissing me.
"Your Mother and Father died on the same Navy vessel." Steve says, "But... the vessel belonged to SHIELD. They escaped. And they've been looking for you. They heard you'd joined SHIELD, but Fury stonewalled them. He thought being with them again would... distract you." I bite my lip, blinking back tears. My parents were alive. Were they proud of me? Were they upset with me? Did they know what all I'd done?
"Yet another thing they didn't tell me." I mumble quietly, but I shake my head. "I'm willing to let bygones be bygones. We've all made mistakes... SHIELD, me... HYDRA. We've all done wrong by each other in some shape or form." I blink, "God, my parents are alive. Where are they now?"
"I thought you'd ask. They're living outside of DC at a private home that's off the books at SHIELD. Only reason I knew about it was because Bucky and I were searching the DC area for you and I stumbled on the place. They recognized me and trusted me with the secret. I asked if they'd seen you, but they hadn't. I should have told you this the other day when we met you and the Crew in the mountains." I touch his face.
"Take me there now. After we get rid of the HYDRA Jeep." He nods, and we get out of bed, sliding into our clothes. Steve blushes when he sees me sliding in to my shirt, but averts his eyes and I chuckle slightly at the dusting of pink on his cheeks. I walk over to him, my hand sliding down his torso, feeling his hard chest and chiseled abs. He pulls me close to him and I wrap my arms around his strong shoulders, pulling myself up onto my tip toes to kiss him. I snag his lower lip between my teeth and bite down softly, then place another tender kiss on his lips.
"You should know that I spoke to your parents when I came across them about you. And they said that they knew about everything you'd done for the Marines and for SHIELD and that they couldn't be more proud."
"Do they know I was HYDRA?" I ask. Steve doesn't look sure. He holds out his arm to me and I take it, the memories from the Marine Corps ball wash over me. I remembered that I'd fought down the growing emotions I had for Steve as we danced that night, with each spin I tried to fling my feelings away from my heart, tried to keep them from making me love him. When we got back to base, Steve carried me down to my room. My mind had been racing, along with my heart, as I rested my head on his shoulder. I remember the kiss as if it were yesterday, pulling him by his tie, holding his lips to mine. I lost myself in that short press of lips, forgetting that I was an Agent of SHIELD, and that he... he was Captain America.
Another memory pulls me from my train of thought as I remember the night Steve and I were sparring. He'd just thrown his body into a punch and I leaped up, taking the blow to my ribs and using his forward momentum to drag him to the ground, my legs clamped around his neck, Black Widow style. I remember kneeling over him to make sure he was alright. We were so close in that instant, my legs on either side of his body and for a moment I lost myself in his eyes. I realize just how close we are and scramble to my feet, offering a hand to the dazed Captain, who takes it and hauls himself up to stand awkwardly beside me. This had happened about two or three weeks after the Ball, and I remember berating myself for wanting to kiss him.
We head out to get rid of the Jeep. He hops on his motorcycle and follows me as I drive out into the farmland surrounding DC, two hours out from the center of town. In the back is a gallon of gasoline. I take off the cap and douse the inside of the vehicle, rip off the back tag and throw it in the river. Steve offers me a lighter and I torch the Jeep, watching as the vehicle goes up in flames. I hop on the bike behind Steve and he speeds back to the city. I wrap my arms around his torso, watching the city fly by. We get back to his apartment where we both change into something casual, jeans and a flannel shirt for him, shorts and a tank top for me. He slides a helmet into my hands, as well as one of his flannel shirts.
"In case the Crew is looking for you." He says, sliding on an aviator jacket and sunglasses. "Make sure they won't recognize you." I shrug, sliding on the shirt which smells like him, and tie it up under my breasts. I could almost pull off 'farm girl'. Or maybe city girl going for farm girl. Steve takes me back down to his bike, it's a gorgeous black Harley.
"Hey do you know what happened to my Indian?" I ask. Steve blushes, holding out his motorcycle key. On the keychain is another set of keys, one with an Indian Head key fob on it and I punch him lightly on the shoulder.
"You have my bike!"
"Guilty." He admits, taking the key off the chain. "There's a parking garage around back, your bike is in there. I ride it every once and a while to keep the oil flowing." He smiles and I run to get my bike, giddy with excitement. I see my bike, in all her glory, gleaming in the low light of the parking garage, and I walk over, straddling the bike, and caress the chrome handlebars gently.
"Oh baby, it's been too long!" I say to the bike, smiling a mile wide. I slide on the helmet and clip it under my chin, starting her up and raising the kickstand. I rev her up and ride out of the garage to find Steve with his bike. I stop, check under my seat for my Motorcycle licence, and the fake one that I carried in case I was undercover, and smile, finding both there. I nod to Steve once and we take off, me following a little behind him. The combined noise of both bikes is deafening and wonderful, the purr of the motors as we tear down the highway and hit the outskirts of DC in record time. From where we are, we can see the skyline. Steve looks back at me, revving his bike and pushing for more speed. For such a heavy looking bike, it can really go, but mine is lighter, with the same engine on it, so I smirk as I pull even with him. He grins and leads off to a smaller road, slowing as the road narrows. I can feel anticipation growing in my chest. My parents were alive and well, and I was going to see them again.
We park the bikes outside of an older farm house with a big black truck parked just outside. I take a deep breath, smoothing down my hair, and look to Steve, who has his hand pressed against the small of my back. He looks to the door and smiles. "Go on." He seems to say. I steel myself, wondering how the past... nearly seven years have passed for them. I knock on the door and wait for the door to swing open.
"I'll get it, sit down!" Says the familiar voice of my Father, a steady baritone made rough from years in the Navy. He was a SEAL. He opens the door and blinks a few times, eyes wide. I can tell that it takes everything in him not to step back. His eyes travel over my face, taking in every inch of me. He looks back into the house.
"Babe, come out here!" He calls, "You need to see this!" Footsteps come quickly, and soon my Mother is standing behind Dad. She covers her mouth with both hands and a few tears slip out of her eyes. I step away from Steve, hugging my Dad first, then my mom. I wipe tears from her eyes, letting her hold me. We were once the same height, but after my Super Soldier enhancements, I now stood several inches taller than her. My Father is only two or three inches taller than me, he's almost as tall as Steve though. I share his green eyes, but not his hair, which is blacker than oil. He used to say that he was too stubborn to let it go gray. Mother has mousy brown hair, a shade or two lighter than mine, and pretty hazel eyes that remind me a bit of Brock. I shake off the memory of those eyes, staring now only at my Mother, who still has tears in her eyes.
"Diana's come home." She manages. My Dad ushers Steve and I in the house and we all sit around the coffee table. Steve sits close beside me, not touching me, but lending me his strength through his presence.
"Mom, Dad... I've... in the last year I've been through a lot... and there's nothing I want more than to tell you everything. If you'll hear me." I say, leaning forward to rest my elbows on my knees. "Steve, this is my Father, Caius Calhoun, and my Mother, Emma Calhoun." Mom and Dad, this is Steve Rogers, but I think you've met." My Father stands in the doorway between the living room and the dining room, three beers and a glass of water balanced between two hands. He hands Steve and I beer and my mother the water, and pops the cap on his bottle before motioning me to go on.
"Baby girl, we've missed you. We got troubling news that you were with HYDRA but... we didn't want to believe..." She looks down, not touching her water.
"Mom... I want to start from the beginning... then... maybe... my story will make sense to you."
"We were in Afghanistan, terrorists had us pinned down in an old Foxhole. You remember Clayton, right?" I look to my Father, who nods.
"Nice boy." He grunts.
"He'd been shot, we thought he was dead, and I dragged him a hundred yards to get him out of range of the enemy guns. There were so many more down... injured or dead. I was second in command of the Seventeenth Marine Corps Platoon, sixty-four strong... and ten men plus me walked from that day. I was about to jump out of the foxhole and give my men cover fire to make an escape, when a SHIELD craft flew over and took out the terrorists. Agent Coulson came to me and offered me a place at SHIELD, and I took it... looking to protect and serve in ways I couldn't with the Marines." I sigh, looking to Steve. "I went out immediately on a mission with Steve, to kill the leader of the terrorists who killed my men. I killed him, but he shot me." I show the scar which sits just under my collarbone, pink and fading now. "Fury came to me a little after my injury and told me that Clay was still alive... and that he'd been kidnapped by a HYDRA double agent. I was offered the Super Soldier Serum, which I took." I gesture to my body, I am taller, with more muscle, "And Steve and I rescued Clay. While we were at that HYDRA base, we crossed paths with the Winter Soldier. Steve fought him and knocked him out, and we brought him in to SHIELD. Between working missions, I worked with Bucky to get his memories back. We got... really close. Eventually started really seeing each other, until..."
"Brock Rumlow." Steve fills in.
"Brock Rumlow." I sigh, "Waltzed in to my life and damn I thought the world was ending around me. I was supposed to work with him, and I don't date colleagues. It makes for bad luck usually. But I was out with he and Bucky on a mission, and he decrypted a file that... well that made me change what I thought about SHIELD."
"Wait," My Dad says, "Brock Rumlow. He was a SEAL." My Dad recalls, "He left Team Six right before I got asked to join. That would make him... two or three years older than me."
"Yeah." I smile nervously and my Father rolls his eyes. My Mom laughs a bit.
"My, Diana, here I thought I was with an old man." She teases, "First a fifty year old, now the ninety year old Super Soldier." For now, I don't touch her last comment, continuing the story.
"Well... Brock told me a way out of SHIELD... to join HYDRA. So... I left SHIELD... went under the radar for a few months to get my head on straight and then meet up with HYDRA. With Brock." I pause again, sipping my beer. "I loved him. He told me the truth when so many lies were crashing down around me. So he and I..." The memory suffocates me now, the feeling of his body against mine, the taste of his lips and the sound of his voice, all of those things desiring me. I shiver slightly, "We were in love. We had our quarrels but mostly... we were happy. I was happy. I threw myself into the work. Schmidt... Johann Schmidt, or the Red Skull... dropped his Nazi ties as soon as he was thawed out from the ice, and realigned with HYDRA, and he was the handler of the Crew I led." I let that sink in. My Dad flinches at the mention of Schmidt, but both my parents remain silent, waiting for me to go on. "The Crew got real close real fast." I tell them, "And Schmidt... had this spy he used to use back in World War II, a woman by the name of Marie Siegfried. I wanted to see how good she was, so I sparred with her on her first day training with the Crew, and she would have been decent under different circumstances, or against normal level fighters but... I was the leader of the Crew for a reason. We fought, and I beat her easier than breathing. So I went to Pierce, our co-handler, and made a few requests. The facility we were in was attacked by SHIELD, and Brock was injured badly. He has scars that will never heal because of it." I look to Steve, who has an apology in his eyes. I nod to him, "I asked for a new facility for the Crew. I wanted Pierce to be our handler, I wanted Marie off the Crew. I demanded the right to review my missions before we took them, and I openly refused any mission to kill Steve or Bucky." I hold Steve's hand now, gripping it tightly for support. "Schmidt granted every request, except the one keeping Marie from the Crew, so we compromised. I had him send her to modern Agent training. During the time she was there, the Crew grew to be a family. We went on a few missions together before Marie tried to rejoin the Crew. She trained with us, lived at HQ, but I wasn't going to use her unless she had the right skillset and... she's from the forties and not nearly as well trained as Steve is. She couldn't beat any of the Crew members, so I didn't want her in the field. Pierce approached Rumlow then. He wanted Marie to stop reporting to the Red Skull and start reporting to him, so he had Rumlow sleep with her. To earn her loyalty." I shake my head, and My Father does too. He sees how stupid the request is.
"Pierce made a call for a man who was seeing someone, my little girl no less, to sleep with someone else?" He asks. "Why not another Crew Member?"
"The first day she came on to the Crew, she stared at Rumlow like she was taking off his fatigues. It was disgusting." I chuckle, "And I let her know what I thought about that."
"I bet you did." My mother chuckled. I nod and go on with the story, it's coming to a close.
"After he slept with her... I wouldn't have known, except Marie bragged about it to me that morning. I didn't believe her, and I set up a training. I was to spar Rumlow first and he just... let me punch him in the face. I switched out with Rollins, who shockingly won that fight. I told the two of them that winner got dinner out on me. Rollins told me that Pierce asked him to order Rumlow to sleep with Marie. I took Rumlow back after speaking with Rollins and with Benjamin. Both of them said he wouldn't have done it if it weren't important. We think Pierce threatened to have me killed." I sip my beer. "Eventually this mission came up... I decided to take Rollins and Rumlow only. Schmidt ordered a meeting, tried to get me to take Siegfried by threatening to take away my command, but I went with my gut, delivering a successful mission, but he took my title from me. He made Rumlow take my spot and moved Marie to second in command. The rest of the Crew resigned their posts." I shake my head, "Rumlow didn't. He picked a mission to kill Steve, and so... I left HYDRA. To warn Steve that his life was in danger. I couldn't get Rumlow to call off the mission, so I lied to him. Told him I was going to get close to Steve and then let him come in for the kill, but really, I'm trying to hide Steve. The one thing I can't handle is losing Steve or Bucky. And Rumlow couldn't respect that. Now I know he's more loyal to HYDRA than he is to me, so I'm leaving him." I grip Steve's hand tighter and my parents stare at our hands, interlocked.
"Diana." My Mother says, "You've been through so much. I'm so sorry. It must be hard hearing that we're alive after you thought we were dead for so long."
"It hurts, but I'm glad you're here." I tell her. My Father has his eyes closed and his jaw set.
"It's good to have my little girl back." He comes over, kissing me on the forehead. "I think that you've been through enough for you to have a pretty good moral compass. If leaving SHIELD was the right thing to do, then it was the right thing to do. I'm sorry things ended the way they did with Rumlow, but... honestly, I approve of your new boyfriend more. Not that I like him anyways. I'm a Father, I'm supposed to hate your boyfriend." He teases, kissing my forehead again. He moves back, looking at Steve.
"I'm going to help Steve take down the Crew. Some of them are still loyal to me. The others, I'll deal with when we get there." I look down, going through the list. The Braddocks would follow me. Lester would, he'd proven this much through the scope. Rollins was a good friend, but he'd known Rumlow a hell of a lot longer, so he'd probably stay HYDRA. Marie and Rumlow would stay HYDRA, Rumlow'd already picked HYDRA over me, and Marie was the Red Skull's bitch. Batroc I think would be neutral, siding with neither. "You wanna get on the mission?" I ask my Dad. He chuckles, arms akimbo.
"Hell yeah." He says, "I might have retired a few years ago, but if you're taking on that old man Rumlow, I'm in." I grin, narrowing my eyes.
"You'll need a suit."
"I've got a suit." He replies. I nod, crossing my arms.
"It'll be dangerous." I warn, placing my hands on his shoulders. He chuckles again.
"Diana, I was putting myself in danger before you were born."
"He did, I remember." Mom teases, wrapping her arms around him, "I think he hurt himself so he'd have an excuse to come see the cute nurse on deck three." She joked, pointing theatrically to herself.
"She's not wrong." Dad replies, "When do we start?"
"We have two more full days before whoever has stayed with the Crew comes after Steve." I tell them, "Maybe less, if they find the Jeep."
"The Jeep?" Dad asks.
"Yeah. I stole one from the Crew HQ and Steve and I torched it this morning before coming here."
"So maybe you should consider... taking the fight to them?" Steve suggested. I nod slowly.
"It's not a terrible idea. The only thing is, I have no idea of knowing who we'd be facing. And we'd be facing them on home turf. I'd know where to go and what to do, but even if I drew you a map, that place... HQ... it's built where it's at for a reason." I look to Steve and my Father. If I couldn't trust this team, I was lost for the world. "It's something to consider. I might go back and scope out who's there and see who would defect. I would only talk to the ones that I know would leave with me. And they could be allied with us. I don't like it though... what if they double cross me?"
"I don't see that happening, Diana." Steve says, "You're a natural born leader. You have a presence that suffocates any other command around you. You demand absolute obedience." Steve places a hand on the small of my back. "Go get your Crew."
"He's right." Dad says then, looking to me, "Go get your men."
"What do I tell Rumlow?" I ask. Steve's eyes harden a bit, but when he looks down at me, his eyes soften again.
"You tell him you slept with me." He says in a low voice, "Put a rift between the two of you. Make him see exactly what he did to you." My Father nods in agreement.
"Hurt him bad, baby girl." He kisses me on top of my head. "Steve and I will wait to hear from you." I nod, looking to Steve.
"Feels like Afghanistan all over again." I sigh, "Lets hope this time the bullet misses."
"Here's praying." Steve says. He pulls me in to his arms, wrapping them around me, and pulls my lips up to his. We kiss briefly, but passionately, seconds feel like hours as we say, not goodbye, but until we meet again. I pull away from him, stepping back, and smile slightly. "Come hell or high water..." I Begin. My Father places a hand on my shoulder.
"I'll see you on the other side." He says with a small smile, "You still say that?"
"It was in your memory. You said it to me the night I deployed, and I said it with my platoon before every mission. And then with the Crew I said it." I hug my parents one last time, then turn to Steve. "Is my bike bugged?" I ask. He shakes his head no, and I kiss him, one last time, before walking out the front door, revving my bike, and tearing off for the mountains.