As she gets out of the bath, it occurs to June that perhaps she should feel embarrassed by being naked in front of all these soldiers, but considering the horrible things she’s seen and done through the Enchantress, embarrassment is taking a backseat to everything else.
A hand, callused and steady, cups her elbow as she gets out and she looks up into serious, wary eyes. She stands on cold tile, dripping black muddy water, bits of grass clinging to her legs and looks this tall man in the eyes.
“I think I’ve done something terrible,” she says, her voice a thin thing she doesn’t recognize.
“You have,” he says not entirely unkindly and perhaps that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and the tears finally fall from her eyes.
The rest of the day is a blur of scratchy towels and unmarked cars and non-disclosure agreements and signing her life away to a woman that scares her just as much as the Enchantress does.
June Moone is not an idiot.
She shouldn’t have picked up that damn idol, all right? She knows. God, does she know. But one little lapse in the name of scientific curiosity does not make her a complete idiot. She knows that Colonel Waller has plans and those plans include the Enchantress.
June knows this and sees it coming from a mile away.
Rick Flag, however, she does not see coming until the day she realises that she’s gotten used to the feel of his hand cupping her elbow, or hovering over her lower back as they walk, and the fact that she automatically looks for him whenever she enters a room.
She knows that she’s utterly fucked when she realises that he does the same thing when she enters.
Fine. June Moone may be something of an idiot.
She still goes to him when she wakes up from a nightmare that feels a bit too real to be anything but.
“Think you may need some, uh, help.”
June peers at Rick over her glasses and if he wasn’t such a soldier, she’s pretty sure he would have flushed because, Jesus Christ, of course she needs help. He found her the other day staring at her reflection in the mirror and told her she’d been there for an entire hour.
She hasn’t slept through the night since it happened and has become far too familiar with all the late night infomercials. Her favorite is the one for the Bright Time Buddies Night Lights. They’re cute and probably don’t have some ancient evil dwelling inside them.
“I think you may be right,” she says setting aside a book that only confirms every horrible thing she supposed about the Enchantress’ powers. “I also think that finding someone who’s capable of understanding the context of my PTSD is next to impossible.”
He winces. “Yeah. It was a stupid thing to say. Sorry.”
She shrugs and lies. “It’s getting easier.”
“No,” he says flatly. “Don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t lie about this. It’s tearing you apart.”
June freezes and stares at him. Her lips part as she watches him weigh the words on the tip of his tongue and sees the moment he decides to tip them both over a line she thinks has been drawn by someone else.
“It’s tearing me apart,” he says, his voice a ragged, rough thing that cuts into her chest.
Even as she reaches out to touch his wrist, she wonders if Amanda Waller is smiling in her sleep somewhere.
He’s not even her type.
“How many of those do you do a day?” she asks as she watches him do multiple push-ups in the living room of their hotel room.
His body is lean and long and his muscles don’t bulge under his skin as he lifts himself off the floor with ease. Instead, they stretch and ripple smoothly and something deep down undulates inside June.
“A hundred,” he says wiping the sweat from his face with a towel before moving to the pull up bar to start over again.
June’s mouth goes dry as she watches him and she feels the Enchantress’ appreciation for the dedication this man puts forward to his job and his physique.
He’s really, really, really not her type.
“Easy, easy,” Rick says as he helps her out of the exam room where she’s just done another demonstration of the Enchantress’ powers. June’s legs are wobbly and she’s on the verge of tears.
“You don’t understand,” she mutters as she lets him manhandle her into another room where she slumps onto a chair. “None of you understand.”
“What?” he says crouching in front of her and ducking his head to meet her eyes.
“She’s strong and she’s evil and you cannot keep her on a leash,” she says, tears swimming in her eyes and she hates this. God, she hates this so much. She’s a puppet on a string and it fucking hurts and it’s demeaning and she squeezes her eyes shut. “This is bullshit. All of it. I can’t… She’s going to win, Rick. You have to kill her.”
Her eyes open and she meets his gaze.
“June,” he says.
“You have to kill her,” she repeats. Her lips tremble. “You have to kill --”
She doesn’t get a chance to finish her sentence because his mouth is on hers and he tastes of coffee and his cheekbones are sharp and firm under her palms.
Later that night, as he moves over her, her hands keep seeking out the sharp angles of him; his cheekbones, his hipbones, his elbows. The feel of him keeps her grounded and she holds off coming as long as she can to remain in a state of complete awareness. But then her orgasm rips through her and she floats in an ether of pleasure and it’s only her grip on his hips that stops her from disappearing into the always waiting maw of the Enchantress.
He holds her tight afterwards.
“Tighter,” she whispers. “Don’t let me go, Rick.”
He buries his face in her hair and holds her tight to the point of pain, and she sleeps without dreaming for the first time in a month.
The first time Waller stabs the heart, it’s agony like nothing, nothing, June has ever known. Her vision swims with pain, but it’s clear enough to see Rick’s jaw set as he watches and does... nothing.
June thinks that may hurt more than the stabbing, but what did she expect? His loyalty is to Waller. She’s just the woman possessed by a witch who he kisses with equal parts desperation and tenderness.
After everything, after Metro City and after the Enchantress dies, June stands by herself at the edge of a lake on the outside of town. It’s nothing more than a holding pond, but there are birds and trees and a slight breeze.
She stares at the tiny surface ripples and crosses her arms over her chest.
Well, in theory, she’s free. She doubts she’ll ever be truly free of what happened or ever free of Waller and her plans. June knows too much. She’s useful.
And she can either be useful and work with them, or make a run for it and look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.
Well, she has a feeling that she’ll be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life as it is, so she may as well get a decent paycheck out of it.
Footsteps approach and she knows it’s Rick. He comes to stand next to her and doesn’t say anything, just stares at the water.
After a long moment, he says, “I’ve got a place. In upstate New York. My grandfather’s cabin. I’ve been told to take a few days.”
“So was I,” she says.
“There’s nothing up there but trees and snow and crap beer,” he says.
“Sounds idyllic,” she says smiling a little and her cheeks actually ache from the movement. Has it really been that long since she smiled?
“You want to come with me?” he asks and she can hear the hesitance in his voice.
So, she turns to him and he faces her. Her head has to tilt back to meet his eyes.
“Yeah,” she says nodding. “I want to come with you.”
He doesn’t exactly smile, but the tension leaves his body and she reaches up to cup his face. He leans down and presses his forehead to hers and she breathes.