CIVIL WAR (Comic) SPOILERS AHEAD. PROCEED AT OWN RISK
Takes place after the events of Semper Fi. Please read that before coming here. Chapter One is right here: queen-of-olympus.deviantart.co…
Brooklyn, New York. Five Years after the events of Semper Fi. Near the end of the Marvel Civil War
Lia and Kaidan are five years old. Lia is taking karate lessons and is a genius when it comes to anything math related. Kaidan wants to be a soldier like Daddy. We're holed up now at this safe house, waiting for Steve to return. Before we left the apartment, I left a note. For Brock.
It's hard for me to pen this letter, but you are the only one I trust with the task I'm asking you to complete. I know you retired five years ago, a little after Lia and Kaidan were born, but this is important. The things that are happening now worry me. I fear that Steve may loose his life and I am donning my old Caliber garb to fight at his side. The odds aren't favorable and I know that I've always been one to defy such odds, but I don't see that happening. Tony has legions of these 'cape killers', and despite all my strength, I'm only human, and so is Steve. If we die, I'm entrusting the care of Lia and Kaidan to you. I know you love them and that you would give them a good life. I am telling Lia soon who you really are... she's five, but she's so smart, Brock. And she reminds me so much of you. I handle her just the same as I did you... when she's temperamental I don't reason with her, when she's tired, I am stern... what I'm trying to say is... she's her Father's daughter.
I know things didn't go as we planned, so long ago... I sometimes look back and think what might have happened... might as well say it now... in case I can't later. I'm not asking you to fight. But I do want what is best for my kids, the loves of my life. If Steve and I die for this, I want you to take care of them. I understand if you don't want to... I can make other arrangements. But I thought of you first. Best wishes, Brock...
Steve wraps his arms around me. He wears his Captain America suit, but it is torn in several places. He wears a weary expression and his broad shoulders sag.
"Are we doing the right thing?" Steve asks me suddenly. "Fighting this registration? You could be court martialed. I could be tried as a war criminal."
"You're standing there in your tattered suit and asking me this." I tell him, "Steve, your moral compass leads you. As does mine. If I didn't believe in this one-hundred percent, I'd be out there backing the cape-killers. But I can't. And not just because I love you." I kiss him tenderly, placing a hand on his chest.
"I needed to hear that." He mumbles, smiling weakly.
"Come on." I say, "The kids are with Brock back at the apartment. Let's go end this." We join hands, grim determination set in our gazes as we step out of the safe house to meet the troops.
Steve and I stride across the city block where the fight would take place. Tony's troops are already there.
"Not too late to surrender with full pardon, Cap. Caliber." Tony says, looking and Steve and I in turn. I shake my head.
"No, it is." I tell him, "And so help me God, Tony. I hope this bites you in the ass."
"You think I like fighting my friends?" Tony demands. "You think I want to get Kaidan and Lia's parents thrown in jail?"
"Do NOT bring my kids in to this." Steve says, "You're playing the pity card, Stark. Low blow. This isn't right, Tony. I thought a wild card like yourself would understand. The masks keep people safe. Do you know how many times Diana and I have come home to bullet holes in our windows because people know who we are?" Steve asks. Tony turns his head away. He hasn't even raised his face plate. If he was truly looking in to our eyes, he'd not be so bold.
"This is a last warning, Tony." I say darkly, "I've got friends on both sides."
"Which is why you should desist." Tony replies. Steve shakes his head and turns away from Tony.
"Come on, Diana. We should go." Steve says. I nod, following him. Tony turns back to go back to his troops, and Steve and I go to ours. We're all exhausted, a little disheveled, but we're here. We're hoping we can get Project 42 open and free our allies. Tony stooped so low as to hire mercenaries, prisoners of SHIELD to aid his side. I saw among them Bullseye, who had a score to settle with me, Sin, Marie Siegfried, and a few other thugs that Steve and I had put away over the years. The Skeleton Crew was here on Steve's side, under my command. We were ready to fight to the death.
The battle was brutal. The tides were turning in our favor with the arrival of our reinforcements from Project 42, and with the appearance of Namor and his Atlantian legion. But then things changed when Civilians ran towards Steve. They grabbed him, forcing him down, trying to at least. They yelled slurs, cursed him, called him a hypocrite in a thousand different ways. I watched as he slowly gave up.
"We're not even fighting for them anymore." Steve says, heartbreak in his voice, tears falling down his cheeks. He gives up the fight and the civilians drop away.
"What are you doing?" Demands someone. I don't know who. "If you surrender, they'll throw us all in jail."
"We're winning out there, Cap." Says Spider-Man.
"Everything except the argument." Steve replies, tears falling freely. This War, this battle, broke his spirit. Maybe not his spirit, but his morale, his reason for fighting here. "And they're not arresting Captain America..." He removes his mask, facing me. He comes over, pressing a kiss to my lips and his mask into my hands, and slides his shield off his arm and onto mine. "They're arresting Steve Rogers. And that's a very different thing." He walks over to a regular police officer, holding out his wrists. He looks at me, blue eyes shining with tears. He shifts his gaze to encompass all of our side. "Tell the kids I love them. Stand down, troops..." He has his hands cuffed behind his back, and I follow close behind.
"Steve-," I choke.
"That's an order."
One by one, the Secret Avengers, those following Steve, announced their secret identities. It hurt. My men, except for Brian, had no secret identity, so they did not go. Brian refrained, as did, to my surprise, Daredevil, who revealed to me who he was: Steve's and my good friend Matt Murdock. My identity was known. So the old Crew, my men whom I had not fought beside in years, stood together under scrutiny. I kept us on the move, not letting the Cape-Killers get us. We were all still wanted by SHIELD. We took the families we had underground and planned our next move.
"They're going to have a huge public trial for Steve." I say, placing my forehead on the map table we all sat around.
"It's painting a huge target on him." Brian mumbles, "Idiots the lot of them. And Stark right there at the top."
"I agree." Says Clay, who holds his third son in his arms. "What do we do?"
"I can't ask you guys with families to do any more." I tell them, "Rollins, Clay..." I look to them. Jack has a son now too. "I'm ordering all of you guys to take the pardon. And I invite any of the rest of you to do the same."
"Diana-," Clay begins to protest. I shake my head.
"No buts, Clay. I am sending a private message to Stark, telling him that you and Jack are taking the pardon for the benefit of your families. You will retire and then none of this superhero shit will be a problem for you."
"If that's what you want." Jack replies, "But Diana... Io and I are both Navy. We know-,"
"But what about Jack Jr?" I ask, "What does he know about the Navy or fighting? He's two." I stress the last bit, "He's too young for this." Jack nods once and I send the message to Stark. Clay and Jack gather their families and leave. I remain standing without saying a word until they've long gone. "Big target huh, Brian?"
"They're having the trial here." He pulls up a map, "So many places for a sniper, not even a good one, to get a shot."
"And don't we know a good one with a score to settle with me and Steve." I whisper.
"Bullseye." Says everyone together.
"Bullseye." I repeat.
Matt would be at the courthouse to defend Steve. He hadn't given up his identity yet as Daredevil, and he had no plans to. He was a small town Vigilante who needed to stay a secret. If it weren't for the fact that he and Steve were close, he wouldn't have even joined us. Matt is already in the courthouse, waiting, and Steve is in a transport van. I was in the crowd, wearing a cybernetic mask, color contacts, and a wig to stay under the radar. Steve is wearing dampeners that dull his strength, I can see the strain in every muscle. To the normal onlooker, Steve wears his Captain America regalia, but I know different. The usual vibranium-weave fabric has been replaced by cheap canvas and spandex. It will do nothing to protect him. I hate to see him like this. Kaidan and Lia are with Brock, and I forbade them watch the news today, because I knew every camera here belonged to some news station. They didn't need to see their Dad going to court. My eyes scan for targeting lazers, anything to indicate Bullseye's presence. I watch Steve's every move as well, making sure he's okay as he can be. I have a gun holstered under my jacket, but I don't keep a hand on it as I would like to. Didn't need SHIELD getting suspicious. To my absolute shock, Sharon Carter is standing guard at the door to the court, gun out, her black and white SHIELD suit a badge of pride. I see a red dot on the guard on Steve's right's back and I lunge forward as Steve does. I knock Steve aside and a shot goes off. It rips through Steve's shoulder and mine. Steve falls, thinking I'm just a civilian.
"Get out of here, Ma'm." He manages to get out. Three more shots go off, and I hear Sharon scream. Three wounds are bleeding, Steve is bleeding out. I clutch my shoulder. A SHIELD agent grabs my arm and tries to help me but I sling away his help.
"Save him!" I yell. "Save him! He's-,"
"Agent Calhoun." I hear a voice behind me. I turn and see Tony Stark. My wig fell off while I tackled Steve, and the tears now streaming from my eyes distorted the cybernetic mask. I peel it off and pinch out the contacts. "Turn yourself in. And we will help you and Steve." I press my fingers to Steve's neck and a choked sob breaks out of me.
"He's dead you fuck!" I yell at Tony. "He's dead and it's your fault!" Tony startles, pulling back, and I rise, slapping him across the face as hard as I can. I rear back and slap him again, and again, before falling to my knees beside Steve. "THIS IS YOUR FAULT!" I sob, holding Steve's body close to me. "No... you can't be dead. It's not possible." I whisper.
One Year after the Death of Captain America
I'm running through a crowd of people, a red dot all I can see. I run towards it, slam in to something, and feel the pain of a bullet tearing through my body. I hear three shots fire off and I hear myself scream. And once the scream dies, I am running towards the red dot again. Over and over, I run, I get shot, I'm too late, I scream. Over and over. I wake after the millionth repetition of the run, shot, too late, scream, my throat sore and my hands clammy. A nightmare. Another nightmare. The door to my room is thrown open and Brock is there, concern on his brow.
"Diana are you alright?" He asks gently. I nod, then shake my head.
"Nightmares..." I say quietly, looking down at my hands. I'm shaking all over. Brock takes a step in to my room and then one back. I look up at him. "Brock... will you stay with me tonight? I can't sleep. I haven't slept right since Steve..."
"Of course." He whispers, coming over to me. He wraps his arms around my body and slides in to the bed. I curl up against his chest.
"This is just tonight." I say, "Or until the nightmares go away."
But it wasn't the only night. I had nightmares whenever Brock didn't stay with me, so eventually, he stopped sleeping in the guest room and began to share a room permanently with me. One night, he kissed the top of my head. The next he kissed my lips. Soon, he was making love to me. I wanted it to feel wrong, like I was cheating on Steve. But I'd loved Rumlow, loved him so much. And Steve told me once that I should be happy. And that if he ever died, I should move on. I never thought moving on would be going back to Brock. But he knew me better than anyone. I trusted him entirely, and I loved him. Lia and Kaidan liked him too, which was most important. One morning, as I lay in bed with Brock, enjoying the peaceful rise and fall of his chest, Lia walks in to the room.
"Mommy?" She asks. I sit up with a start and look at her.
"Good morning Lia." I yawn.
"Why is Uncle Brock in Daddy's spot?" She asks me. I sigh quietly.
"Lia baby, Daddy is gone." I say sadly, "And Brock and I..." Brock sits up.
"C'mere, Lia." He says gently. Lia smiles and climbs in to the bed. I turn to face her and Brock faces me. Lia is between us, snuggled in tight.
"Listen, baby-girl." I tell her, "I wanted to wait until you were older, but you're a smart girl, so I think I'll tell you now. Daddy was Kaidan's Father, but Uncle Brock is yours." I say.
"I thought so..." Lia admits, playing with a strand of my hair. "I look like Uncle Brock."
"And you're just like him. Lia... mommy and Uncle Brock used to be together like mommy and daddy were. Except we weren't married. And now that Daddy is gone, mommy and Uncle Brock have gotten back together." It sounds horrible, but I am simplifying it for Lia. She nods, smiling.
"Are you happy, mommy?" She asks. I nod. "Good. So Uncle Brock isn't my Uncle... he's... my Dad." She turns and hugs Brock around the neck. "I love you, daddy." She whispers. Brock has tears in his eyes.
"I love you too, baby girl." I slide out of bed and go to the closet. I'd been sleeping in my sports bra and a pair of shorts, but I want a shirt. It's been a whole year since Steve died, and I still haven't gotten rid of his stuff. It's my mind I think, trying to tell me he's coming back. I slide open his chest of drawers and find a stack of letters, all labeled neatly. There is a note on top in Steve's familiar, neat print.
If you found these, it means I died, and it means that you're going trough my things, ready to move on, even. I don't regret a day of our marriage, Diana... in fact, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. And seeing you with Kaidan and Lia, watching our little family made me so happy. I just want you to hold on. Don't fall in to despair because of me. I want you to heal. Tell the kids I love them. I love you more than anything, Diana. These letters are for milestones in both you life, and the lives of our children. Read them when the time comes.
I read the labels. The one on top reads: To him. Under it is To Diana, when you have moved on. Others are Lia, when she gets her first boyfriend and Kaidan, when he gets his first girlfriend. Sixteenth birthdays, wedding anniversary. And then, there is a huge stack of letters, labeled six, seven, eight, nine, and so on through to fifty. They are wrapped in a blue ribbon with a tag on them that reads To Diana, on our Anniversary. Tears form at the corner of my eye. Brock opens the door to the closet and places his hand on my shoulder.
"Hey," He says quietly, "I'm making breakfast. What is that?"
"Steve he... he left letters for us... for if he died." I whisper. "Brock he... he wrote letters for every wedding anniversary through our fiftieth." Tears fall freely and I feel Brock lift a letter from my hands. The one for him, the one I'd find after Steve was gone. I clutch the letter for me from moving on.
Diana and I sit on the floor of the closet, reading the notes from Steve. She cries quietly, sitting between my legs, one hand on my knee. Mine is honest, heartfelt, and I read silently.
I'm just going to make a wild guess at who is reading this letter. I'm willing to bet everything that you're Brock Rumlow. I stare at the neat handwriting in shock, but continue reading. Brock, I know it's you. Because after I've gone, I know you will stay close to Diana, helping her with the kids, with the grief. And I wouldn't have it any other way. She cares deeply for you, and it will be good that she has someone like that in her time of mourning. She's moved on if you're reading this, and you need to understand something. I might be gone, but I love her even in death. And if you hurt her, I will know. Somehow, if there is a God, I will know. I don't think you will. I want you to marry her, Brock. I want you to marry her and make her happy again.
I fold the letter back, placing it in the envelope. Diana folds her letter. I want to ask her what it says, but I can't bring myself to. It's her business. If she wants to tell me, she will. She slides off of my lap and smiles at me.
"I'm going to make breakfast." She says joyfully, "Don't you worry about it." I smile and nod.
"I'll follow in a second." I reply. I'd felt something else in the envelope. Diana leaves and I find the little band of Tungsten Carbide I'd proposed to her with years ago. I hold it, looking at the curve and the simple elegance of the ring, and plan a way to propose again.
I place the letter in the breast pocket of my best suit. At breakfast, I'd made an excuse to Diana that I had to go somewhere, and she was in high spirits, so she let me go without question. I called her before lunch and told her I'd arranged for Lia and Kaidan to have a play date and sleepover this evening with Jack's kids, and freed her from parental responsibility. I asked if she would have dinner with me, and she agreed, still chipper. The letters from Steve lifted her spirits to levels I hadn't seen since his death. I made reservations at seven for her favorite restaurant: The Old Ebbit Grill back in DC. I picked her up in my SUV, a SHIELD issued vehicle that would make the normal four hour drive a one hour drive. We would be flying over the interstate instead of driving it. I hadn't told her where we were going, but I told her black tie. She wore a plain black dress, kitten heels, and no makeup. Her hair was long now, swaying about her shoulders. I get out, smoothing my grey suit, and open the door for her.
"You clean up nicely, Mr. Rumlow..." She teases.
"As do you, Mrs. Rogers." I tell her. She kept Steve's name, but it was a coping mechanism, I knew. She slides in to the car, a smile gracing her lips.
"I love the twins dearly, but it will be nice to have an evening to myself." I say.
"I know. And it's been a while since you were able to go out at all, regardless of the kids."
"Two years underground because of the Registration Act. I never thanked you by the way... you really stepped up when I needed you to. While I was fighting, taking care of my kids."
"Our Kids, Diana. Lia's mine by blood and Kaidan is like a son to me." I say, "Even before Steve..." I don't dare finish the statement. "Let's not talk about that. You'll love where we're going for dinner."
"Where?" She asks.
"One hint: we're flying there." I hit the button on the dash that activates the flight systems, and we take off into the night sky. She looks over at me, a smile on her lips even broader than it was before. I reach over and take her hand, turning her ring gently on her finger. She closes her fist, then turns her hand to weave her fingers with mine. I hope she can't feel how my hands are shaking. I've stared down the barrel of a gun and not felt a thing, but this... this is different. Bigger than loosing my life.
She gasps when she sees where I land. We've arrived at the Old Ebbit Grill, and she could not be happier. I know why this place was special to her, it was the place she and Steve went on their first date, and where they went for their anniversary every year. I open her door for her, pulling her to me and lifting her from the car and over the puddle of mud on her side, saving her heels. I spin her once, setting her down behind me, and close her door for her.
"Such a gentleman." She says, kissing my cheek.
Brock's hands were shaking as he held mine on the way to the restaurant. Maybe because, despite the time we'd been together, we'd only ever been on a few dates, and one week long vacation. Brock opened my door for me, and I fought down a squeak when he lifted me up. I looked down and saw the mud, and I smile as he spins me around, then sets me down.
"Such a gentleman." I say in a sing-song tone, kissing his cheek. He slams the door shut and locks the SUV before walking us to the front of the restaurant. He opens the door for me, lets me pass, and then kisses my cheek.
"I have a reservation." Brock says once we reach the hostess, finding his name on the list. "Rumlow, party of two."
"Right this way." The hostess says. "We saved this table for you, Mrs. Rogers."
"Thank you." I reply, eyes widened. It was the table Steve and I always got, near the back, with a view of the entire dining room. We came here every year for our anniversary, and when we were in the DC area, which because of Steve's work, we were often. And we came here for both of our birthdays, and any dinner-out-worthy occasion. Any excuse we had, we came here.
"No ma'm. Thank you." She answers, pointing to a plaque above the table on the wall. It is an etching of Steve in his Cap gear, done in bronze, with an inscription in block letters beneath.
Steven Rogers, A.K.A. Captain America gave his life in service to his country. He was the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American dream and will live on forever by his legacy. We here at the Old Ebbit Grill would like to thank him from the bottom of our heart for his service, sacrifice, and his dedication. Steven Rogers and wife Diana Calhoun-Rogers were frequents here before his death.
~The Old Ebbit Grill Staff and Management
I smile at the inscription and take a picture of it. I would hang it in my house.
"We were hoping you would come back here." Says a deep voice behind me. I turn to see a man with graying hair and a pin that read Manager on his breast pocket. In one hand, he holds a duplicate of the plaque on the wall, and in the other, he carries a bottle of champagne. "When your date tonight called and told us who was coming with him, we sent out for this plaque. This champagne is a gift from the staff, and both of your meals are on the house tonight." He says kindly, handing me the plaque and setting the champagne in ice. "Mr. Rumlow asked for this champagne specifically. He said that you and Mr. Rogers enjoyed it together every year." I nod, looking at the brand and see that it is in fact, the brand Steve and I drank together every year. I thank the manager and take Brock's hand in the process. He runs his finger over my knuckles and smiles. The manager walks away, and we are presented with menus.
"I would direct your attention to tonight's special." Says our waiter. "We call it the Sentinel of Liberty. It is a steak dinner with red and white baby potatoes and a blueberry wine sauce." I close my menu and hand it back to him, as does Brock.
"That sounds lovely." I tell him. He nods.
"Right away. Let me, or another waiter know if you need anything else. Bread and salad will be out in just a moment."
Brock pours the champagne, topping off the thin glasses and offers a toast.
"To Steve." He says.
"To Steve." I answer, clinking my glass to his. I notice that the glasses have the Captain America shield etched in to them. I look around and see that all of them do.
"How long has it been since you were here?" Brock asks, sipping his champagne. I think back.
"More than a year. Couldn't really come during the middle of the Civil War." I tell him. Brock nods.
"It nearly brought me out of retirement. If it weren't for Lia and Kaidan, I probably would have come out." Brock says. He looks down at my hand, intertwined with his, and again twists the ring on my finger.
"Look, I... I've made mistakes in the past... regret some things. But one thing I never regretted was meeting you." He lays his heart out. I am floored slightly at his honesty, but not in an unpleasant way. "In the letter Steve left... with For him written on it... it was for me. Directly to me." He takes out an envelope and hands it to me. I unfold it and read. First I laugh, because Steve seemed to know Rumlow's heart, and mine. But very quickly I grow serious. Steve wanted me to be happy. He said as much in his letter, both the one for finding the letters, and the second, addressed to me for when I go on my first date after losing Steve. Today, I'd read it so many times that I could recite the whole thing from memory.
I love you. I wanted to write that, and I'll write it more times just to make sure you know. Diana, this war might take me from you. And if it does, I'm sorry for all the grief I'll have caused you. You know that all I want is your happiness, and to know that my death would make you feel pain... it hurts me, more than you could ever know. But if I die, I want you to do something for me. I want you to move on. I want you to find someone else and make them feel for you as I did. Fall in love again. For me. For my sake. It would ease my mind knowing you had someone to hold you in times of trouble, and to help you raise the two beautiful kids I called mine. Move on. I love you. I've loved you since that night after the Marine Corps Ball and have not stopped loving you since. And I never will, not even in death. Tell the kids I love them too, there are letters for them, but later... when they can understand the meaning. Live well in the time you have left, and don't regret a thing.
I read on in Brock's letter, getting to the end. Tears prickle in the corners of my eyes as I lower the paper to see Brock down on one knee, presenting a ring to me that I recognize. It was the ring I wore years ago in our false engagement. And now it sparkled in the dim lights of the restaurant.
"Diana, I don't want you to feel obligated because Steve asked me to do this. I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to marry you. But you've been my world since we had coffee on the hellicarrier. And when you left me, it shattered me, but I understood. I want to have a life again, Diana... raise our kids. Finish what we started. I love you, Diana Calhoun." Brock has taken my hands. "Your old motto was Semper Fidelis, always faithful. And I've stayed that way, even when you were married and happy. I never moved on from you. Will you marry me, Diana Rogers?" I fall to my knees in front of him, wrapping both arms around his neck.
"Yes!" I nearly shout, "Yes, I will!" The whole restaurant erupts in cheers and Brock looks to my hand. I move to take it off but he shakes his head.
"Leave it." Brock whispers. "Here." He takes off my dog tags and strings his ring on them. I feel tears flowing freely from my eyes and down my cheeks and Brock kisses me deeply. I pull back to stare in to his hazel eyes and I just grin to think about them, looking back at me every morning when I wake, just like old times.
"I love you." I say.
"I love you too." Brock replies, helping me to my feet and lifting me up. He spins me around once and kisses my lips. "Always."