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Of course I loved you

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“Diana, admit that you never loved me!”

“Steve, of course I loved you. But I moved on, and so should you,” she retorts and kisses Superman.

Steve Trevor jumped up in the back seat of the jeep, his body drenched with sweat. Wonder Woman's icy words haunted his nightmares, and even the top agent for the DEO, the Department of Extranormal Operations of Director Amanda Waller, was shaken.

“What's wrong, boss?” Sameer asked, adjusting his fez and steering the armored DEO jeep through the treacherous roads in some forsaken South American jungle.

“N-nothing, I just dozed off,” Steve muttered, and hoped that Chief, Charlie and him wouldn't notice. Neither his Native American, his Scottish nor his Arab colleague said anything, but he still remained cramped up.

“Stay alert, guys, we are approaching the danger zone,” Charlie said, cocking his taser rifle, while Chief readied his electric net and mumbled: “Keep your eyes peeled, Cheetah can be anywhere.”

“She isn't 'Cheetah', she is our ex-DEO colleague Dr. Barbara Minerva. She became the high priestess of the man hating Urzkartaga cult, and attacks men from nearby villages. We must catch her alive, because if we kill her, the cult will simply find a new priestess.”

“I want to hear that bitch scream when I cut off her tail. I can't believe that dirty grave robber actually worked for us,” Charlie spat out. He wanted to take a swig of his Scotch, but Steve's glare discouraged him.

“Don't stoop to her level, DEO prisons are punishment enough,” Chief replied, and Charlie reluctantly nodded. Sameer grinned: “Maybe Wonder Woman catches her first?”

Chief and Charlie cringed at the mention of her name, and Steve snapped: “That's impossible, Sameer. Diana is not even on the same continent!”

“Probably,” the Arab retorted. Against his will, Steve produced his favorite picture. It was a Polaroid of Wonder Woman, his team and him after their famous No Man's Land mission. It was blurry and worn out, but he would carry it to his grave. Charlie muttered: “Darn, boss, still hanging on to that pic? She dumped you like a piece of shit, and let the entire world know.”

“Maybe Steve likes how young we look. Diana looks so innocent, and he is cleanly shaved,” Chief growled.

More like, I didn't have enough to shave yet,” he muttered, stroking his full beard. Sameer smirked: “Boss, why are you carrying that pic? There are millions of better pictures of her on the Internet!”

“Yeah, but I took this one myself.”

His team remained silent, and Steve's mind flashed back to that fateful day, years ago. Set up by Brainiac, his Team VII fought her Justice League, pitting him against his own girlfriend. She overwhelmed and snared him, and he screamed at her: Diana, admit that you never loved me!

“Steve, of course I loved you. But I moved on, and so should you,” she retorts and kisses Superman.

She had not only beaten, but humiliated him. Even after these years, it hurt. Why did he still pine for her? Why did he torture himself? Why was he unable to move on?

Steve put away the Polaroid, took several deep breaths and forced himself to focus on the mission. They arrived at a clearing, and Sameer wiped sweat off his brow and whispered: “This is our extraction point, boss.”

“Okay, team, proceed with utmost caution, Dr. Minerva could be anywhere,” Steve muttered, and all four climbed out and readied their weapons. While Charlie and him sneaked ahead, Chief whispered: “What actually happened back then? I was not in the DEO yet, and I won't ask Steve.”

Sameer mumbled: “After Wonder Woman and us defeated Ares, that Batman guy recruited metahuman vigilantes like Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and her into his 'Justice League'. To counter these above-the-laws, Director Waller formed Team VII, led by Steve. The tension between both groups made Diana dump him for Superman. The real culprit was Brainiac, who set both groups up to kill each other. The two groups joined forces and defeated him, but poor Steve was odd man out. Guess who mocked him the most? Cheetah.”

“Once we catch that dirty traitor, I'll turn her ears into slippers,” Charlie spat out. Like his colleagues, he harbored an intense dislike for the DEO archaeologist-turned-supervillain. The four men moved through the jungle, ignoring poisonous plants, nasty creatures and the suffocating heat. Suddenly, they stumbled upon an unholy, sinisterly pulsating altar.

“What is that? It doesn't appear on our map,” Sameer croaked, and Chief muttered: “It oozes evil. I feel it.”

“I am not an archaeologist, but I bet my boots it has something to do with Urzkartaga,” Steve mumbled, avoiding direct eye contact. The altar pulsated in an evil glint, making him feel nauseous. Suddenly, Charlie put his hand on his shoulder and whispered: “Did you hear that?”

The four men took cover, readied their weapons and stared into the dark jungle. Nothing was out of the ordinary, but Steve's hair was standing on end. Everything inside him screamed that something was going to happen.

Out of nowhere, a yellow blur whizzed past him. It struck Chief square in the face, knocking the electric net out his hands, sucker punched Sameer, and was so fast that Charlie's shot wasn't even close. Two horribly strong paws grabbed Steve by the neck and dug its claws into his flesh.

“Ahh, the cuckold and his little friends!” Cheetah slavered. The werecat smashed him so violently against the next tree that he saw stars and lost his rifle. Steve thought: Darn, since when is she so strong?!

“Let him go, traitor!” Charlie screamed and fired at her, but she dodged the bullets with superhuman reflexes. She kicked him with such force that he flew across the entire clearing, and taunted: “Stay down, drunkard!”

Steve staggered up and got his first look at Cheetah. At first glance, she looked same as always, a female cat woman with spotted fur and razor sharp talons, but suddenly, he noticed an odd girdle around her hips. In the next moment, she was buried by an electric net, which tasered her with enough force to stun a whale.

“Give up, Dr. Minerva! We are your friends!” Chief uttered. His eyes widened in disbelief as she shredded the net like wet paper, kicked him with horrible force and grinned: “Nice try, redskin, that would have taken down Barbara Minerva. But you are fighting the Cheetah!”

This is not normal, her strength is almost Superman level! Steve feared. She dodged another volley of well aimed taser bullets, jumped Sameer, sliced his rifle into two with her claws and taunted: “Ah, the lying actor!”

Cheetah punched his head, smacking the fez off his skull, and threw him so violently into Steve that it knocked him over like a bowling pin. Ignoring Sameer's limp body, she slavered at Steve: “So we meet again, you cuckold! Tell me, how bad is the burn when you see Wonder Woman with her Boyfriend of Steel?”

“Shut up, Barbara!” he swore, and fired a volley of taser bullets. They missed by a wide margin, and she taunted: “Your aim is as pathetic as your manhood!”

“Maybe, but I wasn't aiming at you,” he retorted. Before Cheetah could react, she was struck by a giant branch which Steve had expertly perforated. She violently swore, dodging the electric net he threw at her, and stared at him.

“Fight it, Barbara. You weren't always a feral beast,” Steve implored, but she screamed: “Barbara Minerva is dead, there is only Cheetah!”

She jumped several stories high, and when Steve tried to track her, he stared directly into the sun and was blinded. He averted his gaze and chewed himself out: “Darn, Trevor, she used the oldest trick in the book!”

Blinded, he didn't notice that Cheetah darted down and smacked him from behind. With terrible strength, she grabbed Steve by the collar and slavered: “Nice try, cuckold, but nice guys always finish last. I spent years laughing at you, the poor little lapdog pining for a goddess who will never see you as an equal, let alone allow you all the way in.”

“Shut up, Barbara!”

When he uttered this name, Cheetah punched him and kicked him in the skull, grabbed him by the throat and placed him on the evil altar. On cue, unholy tendrils grew out of the black stone and wrapped themselves around Steve's body. Suddenly, a picture fell out of his chest pocket. Cheetah picked it up and cackled: “You carry a Wonder Woman picture around with you?”

“I am surely not the only person with her picture!”

“But only you carry the original No Man's Land picture, with you drooling all over Wonder Woman's cleavage!”

“Scanning other people's luggage is still your strong point, isn't it? Yes, I still love Wonder Woman, and why do people like you reduce me to my relationship with her?”

“Because it's so utterly pathetic that a cuckold like you roots for his ex, way after she found a better man. But you needn't stay her lapdog. If we join forces and defeat her, I will give her to you as your slave.”

“Barbara, you have some sick ideas about love,” he spat out. Cheetah clawed off his coat, licking his blood of her talons, but had surprising difficulty with his undershirt.

“DEO Teflon underwear, repels flies, bugs, and maybe even bullets. I hope you break your hand,” he snapped. She ignored him, drooled at his bulging chest muscles and his chiseled six pack, and slavered: “I got a wonderful idea, cuckold. Instead of sacrificing you and your men on Urzkartaga's altar immediately, let's fulfill our primal needs first. Trust me, at first, you will struggle, and then, you will enjoy it!”

“Barbara, you make me puke. I never liked you, even when you were just a lowly DEO hangaround. You smell like dead rats, and I really don't like hirsute women.”

“Then I will take you against your will,” she hissed and mounted him. Steve struggled in his shackles, but it was no use. He clenched his jaw, closed his eyes and prayed to somehow survive this horrifying ordeal.

“STAY AWAY FROM HIM!!” a booming voice screamed.

Out of nowhere, a red blur charged towards Cheetah, punched her with the force of a sledgehammer and sent her flying across the clearing. Blinded by the sudden daylight, Steve numbly stared at this guardian angel. It landed next to him, ripped off his shackles, yanked him off the altar, pressed a taser rifle into his hands and uttered: “It seems that I arrived just in time, Steve!”

Steve nearly fainted. He KNEW this voice, and it he would walk barefoot through hell to hear it. Steve squinted, and saw an black haired angel with steel blue eyes, wearing a star tiara, crimson body armor, a blue skirt, a golden belt, red combat boots and a magic lasso. Her stern expression, her powerful body, her jet black hair, steel blue eyes and fiery lips exuded the presence of something more than mortal, and Steve was a single goose bump.

“D-DIANA?!” he blurted out in disbelief.

“Take cover, Steve!” Wonder Woman screamed. A moment later, she was jumped by Cheetah. She kicked her sides and slavered: “Oh, how touching! The two timing slut wants to save her spineless cuckold!”

“Shut up, Barbara,” Wonder Woman retorted, clenched her jaw and threw her lasso. Cheetah dodged the snare, went into counter attack and slashed her sides open with a terrible claw swipe. Wonder Woman's blood spilled on the earth, and she spat out: “Nice hit, Barbara, enjoy it while it lasts!”

Wonder Woman flung herself at Cheetah, blocked her blow and decked her with a powerful punch. The werecat cried out, but recovered in midair, swung around on a branch and hurled herself at her nemesis.

“Die, bitch!” Cheetah swore and tried to chomp Diana's head off. She deflected her bite with her bracelets, and bloody teeth rained on Steve.

“Not today, and definitely not by you!” Wonder Woman retorted. She grabbed her nemesis by the throat and slammed her to the ground. Steve had never seen her so angry. But Cheetah ripped her lasso from her belt, snared her with superhuman speed and kicked her skull. Wonder Woman spat out blood, and the werecat slavered: “I should sacrifice you to Urzkartaga first, slut! But tell me, who is better in bed, Steve Trevor or Superman?”

Bound by her lasso, Diana blurted out: “'Superman!'”

But just as Steve cringed, she snapped: “'Steve hogs all the blankets. Superman is always warm!'”

With a warrior scream, she tried to break free, but her rope was unbreakable. Resisting the urge to run away, Steve sneaked up and grabbed the other end of the rope. The magic lasso began to glow, and Steve hissed at Cheetah: “I know this rope pretty well, Barbara! When two enemies fight over it, it will obey the person with the purer heart.”

“It will obey the person with the stronger will, and I will crush you like a bug!” she retorted. There was a big flash of light, consuming both Cheetah and Steve, and he cried out in horror. His soul was engulfed by the horrible truth of Cheetah's vile, twisted mind. It was like drinking poison, and when he was sure he couldn't take it anymore, he heard Diana shout: “Steve, you can do it! I believe in you!”

Instead of lying down and die, his mind stood up to Cheetah's bullying, and he screamed: “I may be a cuckold, but I am not a cowardly killer like you, Barbara!”

“My name is not Barbara! My name is Chee--”

She could not finish the sentence, as the lasso burnt through her lies. Cheetah screamed as if her immortal soul was torn out of her, as the lasso obeyed Steve. Wonder Woman freed herself, grabbed her throat and used Cheetah's head as a punchingball.

“This is what you get for hurting my friend!” she screamed, pummeling the living shit out of the werecat. Steve had never seen her so angry.

“Stop, Diana, you are killing her!” he cried out, and when she didn't listen, he grabbed her arm and pleaded: “Diana, I am fine. Please don't stoop to her level!”

Steve knew that the next blow would be deadly. Wonder Woman's fist hung in the air, but to his endless relief, she lowered it, spat out blood and muttered: “Very well, Steve. Barbara, thank your lucky stars that you survived today!”

She safely bound the unconscious Cheetah with her lasso, and Steve asked: “What brings you here, Diana? You don't visit South American jungles for fun.”

“I tracked down Cheetah, because she stole something,” she explained, and angrily ripped off the werecat's girdle. “This is an ancient Amazon artifact, which triples one's strength. I had to take it back.”

“That explains a lot,” Steve muttered, recalling Cheetah's inhuman power. He looked at Wonder Woman, and his chest pounded as he recalled that fateful scene.

“Diana, admit that you never loved me!”

“Steve, of course I loved you. But I moved on, and so should you,” she retorts and kisses Superman.

Steve folded his arms, stiffened up and uttered with a forced smile: “Thanks for saving my life, Diana, and it's nice to see you. It has been quite a while.”

“Indeed, Steve,” Wonder Woman replied. Her smile was warm, but also hesitant. She looked at his ripped clothes and grinned: “Funky underwear, Steve!”

“DEO special undies, Diana, extra strong edition.”

“Whatever,” she retorted and greeted his team: “Hello, you three, I also missed you.”

“Hello, Diana,” Sameer mumbled.

“Greetings, princess,” Chief whispered.

Charlie hardly managed a nod.

Years ago, seeing Diana would have made Charlie jolly, Sameer lovable and Chief friendly, but after the nasty breakup, they kept their distance and stood behind their leader. There was an awkward silence, and finally, Steve continued: “Diana, we'll take it from here. We have a DEO stasis tank to bring Dr. Minerva into a nice prison cell, where she will stand on trail.”

Diana remained silent. She floated in the air like a celestial being, but looked as if she was waiting for something. When it didn't come, the edges of her mouth twitched, and finally, she muttered: “Very well, I know that I can count on you.”

“Likewise… I hope,” Sameer whispered, and Charle muttered: “That's a quality we value in everybody.”

“Quiet, you two,” Steve interrupted them, and concluded: “Thanks for your trust, Diana. Send the Justice League my regards, especially your boyfriend Superman.”

Steve's voice was totally devoid of malice, but so polite that it made Sameer, Charlie and Captain cringe. Suddenly, she uttered: “Superman and me are no longer a couple. Please respect that I won't go into details.”

Steve's jaw dropped to the floor. There was a very awkward silence, and finally, she rose into the air and muttered: “Goodbye, Steve, and your beard looks utterly horrible!”

“Witch,” Steve retorted, defiantly stroking it when Wonder Woman flew away. When she was out of sight, all men took a deep sigh of relief. Sameer muttered: “Boss, I know she stabbed us in the heart and twisted the knife. But when she talked to us, I was this close to kneeing at her feet and begging her for forgiveness.”

“Me, too. She's Wonder Woman, that's what she does,” Charlie mumbled, and Chief added: “This is the chance to patch things up, boss. Maybe you should talk it out with her, get it out of your system, and move on.”

“I don't think that I should talk to her. She just ended a long relationship.”

“Come on, Steve, you have been carrying that stupid picture for years,” Charlie snapped, and Sameer exclaimed: “You two are way closer than anyone of us. She beat Cheetah to pulp when she attacked you, and in return, you did a superb Diana lasso impression!”

“I know that darn thing pretty well,” Steve smiled grimly. Charlie uttered: “Boss, I'm calling it. If you don't make your move now, I'll preemptively drink myself silly. Don't make me, I am dying to ditch that darn bottle.”

“That's blackmail!”

“That's a helping hand,” Chief retorted, and Sameer concluded: “Boss, we will never understand why you want her so much, but we will support you. You are the only guy who can patch everything up.”

Steve groaned, but not entirely in pain. He stroked his beard, and a faint smile appeared on his lips.

“I'll see what I can do,” he finally whispered.


When Colonel Steve Trevor returned to his office at DEO headquarters in Boston, he was greeted by his trusty secretary, Corporal Etta Candy. The stout, motherly redhead smiled: “Welcome back, Steve, I heard that your jungle fisticuffs paid off.”

“Dr. Minerva was a tough cookie, but we managed to overwhelm her. Apart from a few bruises, Sameer, Chief, Charlie and me are okay.”

“Starting with Director Waller, there are several people dying to get their hands on our dear ex colleague. I hope her treason was worth it, because it will be a long time until she sees daylight again.”

“Or gets an explosive chip in her brain and can make amends as a member of Task Force X.”

“The 'Suicide Squad'? You think they would take her?”

“Etta, they took in raging psychos like Killer Croc, Cheetah almost seems normal,” he sighed. Etta shrugged and continued: “Anyway, Director Waller wants to know more about her client. Dr. Minerva seems to have acted according to higher orders, but she has stayed put. Does the name 'Bospho Mosdei' ring a bell with you?”

“No.”

“Neither with anyone else. He seems some kind of African shaman, and his names always pops up. Now, let's go to the more interesting news! I heard that you got a hand from a certain lasso wielding Amazon princess.”

“I thought mission details were top secret, but I guess that nothing beats the office grapevine. Yes, Etta, Wonder Woman helped us,” he sighed. Etta remained silent, knowing how touchy that subject was. Finally, she mustered the spunk to utter: “For your information, thanks to Cat Grant, Diana's private life is all over the news.”

She pointed to the muted TV screen, and in huge capital letters, Steve read: “SUPERWONDY NO MORE – WONDER WOMAN AND SUPERMAN BREAK UP – JUSTICE LEAGUE SPOKESMAN BRUCE WAYNE: 'PLEASE RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY'.”

“I already heard of it. That's too bad, but I guess it happens to the best of them,” Steve replied. When he felt Etta's gaze on him, he snapped: “What?”

“Steve, you have been carrying Wonder Woman's No Man's Land picture for the last couple of years. I can't imagine that this news doesn't move you.”

“Etta, I just saw Diana in person, and she was so mercilessly friendly, as if our break up never happened. But it festers inside me. Call me weak, but I cannot move on until we actually talk it over.”

“Steve, you aren't weak. You are very strong for admitting that! Just call her and ask if she wants to meet you for a cup of coffee.”

“Etta, that's ridiculous! She is the most powerful superheroine of the world, fights supervillains, gives speeches in front of the United Nations and appears in a million charities. If I ask her for a sip of coffee, she'll laugh me off the phone!”

Etta gazed at the TV screen and replied: “Trust me, I think she would be very happy to talk to you.”

“This is not going to happen! I will not make myself a fool, not today, not tomorrow, not in this century!”

When he hit the table, the old, battered No Man's Land picture fell out of his chest pocket, with Steve beaming at Diana. With Herculean effort, Etta kept a straight face, and he muttered: “Okay, you win. I'll do it!”

Etta hugged him and whispered: “That's better, Steve. Do you want to me to provide moral support?”

“No, thanks, there are some things one must do alone.”

“I'm crossing all my fingers and toes, Steve!”