New York City, New York
Three Years Ago
𝗪𝗢𝗡𝗗𝗘𝗥 𝗪𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗡 & 𝗖𝗔𝗣𝗧𝗔𝗜𝗡 𝗔𝗠𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗖𝗔
Steve nervously tapped his foot as he sat at a small cafe table out near the street. He brushed his hand through his hair and readjusted his jacket. He hadn’t entirely adjusted to the real world, and he wasn’t entirely sure if Diana would show up. Rogers had to swallow his pride and ask some kid at the local library to look some things up on the “internet.” Part of Steve thought that he had arranged a meeting with the wrong Diana Prince. His friend certainly had to be dead by now, right?
Diana was a few blocks away from a cafe where someone wanted to meet her in person. She didn’t know if the stranger was friend or foe but their message caught her attention. Originally, she wasn’t going to read it at all until their email name appeared: lostvintage firstname.lastname@example.org. It felt unusally familiar and she decided to read their message. That was why she decided to meet them. She tried to figure out who sent the message but none of the usual suspects made sense. Expect for one person, but he died over the Arctic Ocean seventy-four years ago.
Etta Candy tried to warn her of the possible deception but Diana ensured that she was going to be fine. Now, she was floating above the cafe and the crowd of customers started to get excited while some of them pulled out their phones to take pictures. Diana scanned the area and didn’t see anything suspicious at first. She slowly made her way down to meet her adoring fans. A woman made her way towards Wonder Woman and asked her to sign their white phone case.
She always knew how to make an entrance. Steve slowly rose to his feet and began approaching the crowd, his hands shoved in his pockets. He pushed his way through the fringes of the crowd to get near Diana with his head slightly inclined towards the ground. Once near the front, Steve pulled out a small trading card. Displayed on the front of the card was a realistic drawing of three World War II heroes: Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. He extended the card out towards Diana next to a woman who had asked for a phone case to be signed.
While she was signing the phone case, Diana saw that someone had a trading card with them awaiting her signature. She handed the phone case and grabbed the card without looking at the owner. With a closer look, she realized that this particular card was extremely rare and only sold during the war. She recalled how excited the artist was on that day since he was going to be drawing the heroes. It was one of the times that she spent time with all three of her friends while the whole world was at war. Diana didn’t want to sign on the unique card and handed it back to its owner.
When Diana finally looked at its owner, she was caught off guard by the striking similarities to Captain America. She collected herself and told him, “I… I am amazed that you have this trading card. If I don’t mind asking you, where did you buy it?”
Steve gave a small smile and shrugged. ”The artist made sure we got a copy.” Without saying a word further, he made his way back towards his seat at the cafe as he shoved his hands back into his pockets.
Diana froze when she heard his answer and saw him going back to his seat. She didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t until a concerned child asking if she was alright that she had to do something. Diana turned towards the child and answered with a smile, “Yeah, I just thought that I saw a ghost. Don’t worry about me. Do you have anything for me to sign?”
The child grabbed Wonder Woman’s hand and started dragging her towards one of the outdoor table. Fortunately, her parents’ table was nearby the man with the trading card. While she was getting a closer look at him, the child pulled out a small Wonder Woman notebook and asked if she could sign it. Diana grabbed the notebook and saw cute drawings of her in the pages; however, there was a blank page. She looked at the kid and whispered, “Could I ask you something?”
After she was doing signing the notebook, the child hugged Wonder Woman and went back to her parents animated about meeting her hero. While she was walking away, the notebook paper found its way onto the man’s table. It told him to meet her in an allyway just a few blocks away from the cafe. She looked at the man for the last time and flew away as the crowd cheered in excitement.
Cap gave a small nod as he locked eyes with Diane and read the note. He slipped it into his pocket, took one last sip of his coffee, and left a few bucks on the table underneath the mug as he stood up to make his way to the alley. He checked over his shoulder as he slipped in between the two buildings and approached a familiar figure in the shadows.
“I don’t how you know about the card or where you got it, but you aren’t him. You can’t be him.” Diana looked straight at the man and placed her right hand onto the hilt of her sword. “So, I will give you a chance to explain yourself. What are you?”
Steve raised his hands defensively. ”I’m a kid from Brooklyn who’s been on ice for a… well, a few years. I wouldn’t appreciate surviving a dip in the arctic just to get run through by an old friend now.”
“You aren’t the first person to claim to be Captain America or the man under the mask… and you won’t be the last.” Diana looked away for a moment in sadness and then approached him. She still kept her hand on the hilt for protection while taking a closer look at him. He looked so much like him, but she sadly dealt with illusion of him before. Then, she thought of something that the real Captain America would have known.
“I haven’t asked this question in a long time, but I will only ask once. Where did we meet and what were your first words to me?”
Steve shook his head, staring down at the ground for a moment before giving a curt nod. [color=00aeef]”Occupied France, helping with the resistance movement there. If I remember correctly, Trevor had us meet at a printing press there. I’m pretty sure I accidentaly said, ‘Hi Steve, I’m Diana.’ After we talked business, I asked you to sign a lunchbox.” Rogers lowered his hands and slipped them into his jeans. ”Do you believe me now, Diana?”
“And you made me laugh…” Diana mumbled to herself after he was done and then took a few steps back. It can’t really be him. In an instant, Diana pulled out her lasso of truth and threw it towards the man. The lasso wrapped around his upper chest.
“Identify yourself.” Diana ordered him and the lasso started glowing. “The Lasso of Hestia compels you.”
Steve grunted at the slightly uncomfortable bind he found himself in. ”Your friend, Steve Rogers… but most knew me as Captain America.”
Her hands were trembling while she freed her friend of the lasso. Diana didn’t know how to react to the return of Steven Rogers. Instead of words, she ran towards him and hugged him as tight as possible (without hurting him). She lived for seventy-four years to witness the world changed while everybody she knew either died or disappeared. But for the first time in decades, she didn’t feel alone any more.
𝗧𝗛𝗥𝗘𝗘 𝗬𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗦 𝗟𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗥
”Hey, Diana. Mind if we have a little chat?” Steve’s arms were folded, and his lips were stretched into a frown as his brow was slightly furrowed. He had seen the footage from Trasnia, in between talking heads on the television going over how Wonder Woman was a disgrace to everything heroes stand for. But here he was, watching the same woman he had punched Nazis with tending to a garden and enjoying the countryside in rural Ohio. Steve just gave a small nod after taking a deep breath. ”It’s about the Committee. And Trasnia.”
“I know.” Diana looked away from the roses and stared at Rogers. “Why else are you here.”
Of all people she didn’t want to see, Steven Rogers was one of them. Diana knew that he was disappointed in her for Trasnia. She knew that he wasn’t the only one disappointed by Wonder Woman. Even though it was a sunny day, Diana invited her friend inside the house and offered to make drinks. She made her way to the house and realized how the living room was a mess. Diana made her way inside and tried to clear up the table for her guest.
“I am sorry about the mess. These past few days have been... chaotic.” Diana said to her friend while grabbing the blanket and shoving it into a closet. Then, she rushed towards the kitchen to make tea. It was when she tired to figure out why her friend was here. All she knew was that Trasnia was in his mind; however, she didn’t know why he wanted to talk about the committee unless its connected to her harsh actions. Diana took a quick glance at Rogers and headed back to finish the tea.
Cap gave a nod as he looked around the living room. ”It’s a nice little place you have here. I always considered the countryside, but I get called in to the office too often.” He gave a hesitant smile as he slowly sat down on the couch to wait for Diana and the drinks. ”Yeah, I know what you mean by chaotic. I just got beaten up by a werewolf in London.”
Sounds better than having the whole world slowly turning against you Diana thought at Roger’s answers and then went silence for a moment. She wished that she was dealing with villians like The Fiddler instead of political bullshit. She dreamed of living a simple life once more. But Diana knew that dream was impossible after Trasnia. Thankfully, the tea was done and she poured it into cups. She grabbed the cups and headed to the living room.
“I hope you like tea.” Diana gave a soft smile at Rogers before setting his cup down in front of him. She took a seat on the chair next to Rogers and set her cup down on the table. There was another moment of awkward silence where Diana waited until Rogers said something.
Cap gave a nod, picking up the cup and taking a sip. ”I’m a fan. Hadn’t tried any until I was off ice.” He tapped the rim of his cup nervously before taking a deep breath. ”I saw the footage, and what they’re saying. I think they’re taking things a bit too far… but I will admit it looks bad, Diana.” Steve set the cup down on the table. ”You cut off someone’s arm and decapitated people. It’s just… our powers are meant to protect and defend. I’ve seen you fight. You don’t need that. You could have taken some of them down with a single punch. Trust me, it’s much less of a mess. How do you think I keep my uniform so damn clean?” Steve flashed a reassuring smile.
Diana laughed and then looked down at her cup. “I wish that things could be resolved with one punch again. But the world changed while you were... frozen. And I lived to see it changed several times. It was both amazing and frightening at the same thing. Now, the world’s changing once more. And it will still change until the end.”
Cap gave a nod. ”One thing hasn’t changed: those people out there still believe in us. They believe in you. They believed in us when we were shooting and stabbing Nazis because they couldn’t see what was happening.” Steve grabbed his cup to take another sip of tea as he quickly organized his thoughts. ”I think the problem now is that everyone is scared. They want to blame a single thing… or person… rather than blame the times. The Nazis and HYDRA weren’t just one person. Nothing is ever one person. They wouldn’t need us if it was.”
“They have been waiting for this, you know?” Diana turned to Rogers and said in a serious tone, “They always wanted to control heroes like me for decades and do you know why? It’s because I will never submit to anyone but the people. I have been doing that for years and the governments hated it especially in America. They always wanted me on their side since the Second World War. Become their puppet against ‘communism’ and fight in the name of ‘freedom’ just like Captain Atom.”
”Or become their weapon against Nazis like Captain America?” Steve slowly rose to his feet and took a sip to begin pacing.
“But you truly never were their weapon.” Diana answered and also took a sip. “You followed your heart even if it went against orders from command. Atom, on the other hand, never challenged them and it turned him into a yes-man. Even now, you are listening to your heart.”
Rogers nodded. ”I know. And you’re not wrong that they want to control you. And it’s why I want to help you take a stand.” Steve nodded after stating his intention and finished his cup so he could set it down on the table.
Diana was taken aback by Roger’s response and offer of help. She was at a lost of words and looked at him confused. ”You want to help me? I... I thought that you wanted to remain hidden from the world?”
Steve gave a small chuckle. ”Doing my job is easier if I stay in the shadows… but it’s about time I’ve been honest to the world. I’ve seen those people using my name daily to talk about how I would condemn what you’re doing, or that I would support certain politician, or that I support drone strikes in the Middle East. It’s time I reclaim my identity.” Steve’s expression was stern, his usual optimism.
“Well... thank you for your support.” Diana said to her friend and stood up while grabbing the cup. “But, I know that this is bigger than me. Whatever the Committee announces will have a ripple effect on the world. We have to fight for this new generation of heroes for their freedom to decide. To create their own destinies. To not be used for fame, fortune, and power. To claim their identities and standby them without fear of outside intervention.”
Diana took another sip of her cup and continued. “Even known I doubt that our words would matter in the end, it’s better to stand your ground and resist than go against everything I stand for. You taught me that once, Rogers. Now, you have to share your wisdom with the entire world. I just hope that they are willing to listen.”
Steve gave a small smile and nodded. ”I don’t know if they need just my wisdom, or even if they need our words. What they need are our actions. We need to keep saving the world and doing the right thing. And the next generation will follow our lead... like I followed yours.”
Diana smiled back and walked towards her sword, which was on the ground next to her gear. She grabbed it and said coldly towards it, “I always carried this sword around with me for the purpose of showing strength. But, it has brought nothing but pain and sorrow.”
That was when she dropped it to the ground and proudly declared, “No more. I am already strong without it.”
”Yeah. You might want to lose the shield too, it’s kind of my thing.” Steve gave a small chuckle.
Diana laughed and was going to say something back until her phone rang again. She was too afraid to pick it up, but not anymore. The phone had a dozen missed calls and unseen text messages from various people including Candy. Diana unlocked her and tapped on the latest text message by Candy. It only said, “Check the news. Now.”
With the concered text, Diana grabbed the remote from the table and changed the channel. CNN was airing a short speech by Senator Swanwick and Senator Finch. According to the news anchor, they were expected to request Wonder Woman’s presence in the Capitol. It was quicker than expected but their decision was influenced by Trasnia. Now, it cut to a room with the two sentaors. Senator Swanwick was the first one to start off the speech.
“A few weeks ago, my fellow senators and I came together to announce the special committee’s formation. In that speech, we warned Wonder Woman that she will have to answer for actions. Now with her recent bruality in the town of Trasnia, we have to confront her and demand answers. Wonder Woman, it is time.”
Then, Senator Finch continued the speech. “We urgent her to come to the hill of the people to see and hear those that suffered. To know what she stands for. How far will she take her power? Or does she act by our will or by her own?"
Steve sighed, folding his arms and glaring at the screen before turning his sights to Diana. ”Looks like it's time for you to stand for all of us heroes trying to do what’s right.” He took a second to reach into his pocket and pull out his phone, to receive a few notifications himself. ”Shit, Fury needs me back at the Triskellion. If you need to get to DC quickly, I can give you a ride.”
“Give me a few to get ready and I will join you.” Diana turned to Rogers and turned off the television. She grabbed her gear and headed towards the bathroom. Three minutes later, she came out wearing her ironic armor along with a red cloth draped across her form, secured at her left shoulder by a golden clasp. And a blue cloth wrapped around her hips with it hanging on the left leg.
She approached Rogers and said with determination, “I am ready.”