Who: Moon Knight / Captain America
What comic? :Takes place in/around/after Moon Knight #7 - I doubt there are spoilers. Unless you have not read issue 7 yet, then there might be minor spoilers.
Disclaimer: Not Beta'ed. Sorry about that. I read the issue, and this just kind of kept going in my head. Been trying to ignore it, but Khonshu wasn't having that.
The mornings usually start out the same.
When first consciousness hits me I am comfortably surrounded by cloud like softness. The soft feathery down of my pillows and comforters spread across my oversized (and under stuffed) mattress covers. Memories comfort my brain as my bed comforts my body.
The memories of mornings with Marlene lying naked in bed besides me flow over me. Pull me back into semi-sleep. The first trembles of waking, the inevitable aches and pains, calmed by the soft feminine feel of her arm wrapping around me as if trying to sooth me. Protect me from the harsh light of day. Drive away the pain from the night before.
I can almost feel the spill of her hair along my back, and, if I try just hard enough, I can still smell her in the soft folds of the fabric. Even though the sheets we shared have long since succumbed to the ravages of mildew and disillusionment.
These days there is no Marlene. There is no one there to stave off the inevitable pain that comes with the light of day.
It usually starts out small. The first restless shift loosens an aching muscle or two, and pulls me out of the comfort of my dreams. Always enough to know what is coming, but never awake enough to fully prepare for it. The flood of pain and memories. Memories of lying in an alley, broken and bleeding in the rain shined moonlight.
Over time I forced myself to not scream as the pain floods over me. Some have said that the rehabilitation is working, and the pain is finally fading, but the truth of it is that I force myself not to scream. Force myself to deny Khonshu the siren's call of my pain.
It starts in my shoulder. Muscle torn on the jagged edge of a rusted fire escape. Slowly it spiders out along my muscles and bones and skin. The first intake of breath is sharp, but I catch it…force it to come slowly.
My breath catches in my throat as I feel the bed shift. I feel the weight beside me and there is an arm sliding around me. Not the soft, feminine flesh of my dream time memories, but rough, calloused hands and tough masculine muscle wrapped in skin.
For a minute, I am lost. Lost in a wash of confusion and pain. Then it hits me. Different memories flooded my brain. Memories not of an alleyway years ago, but memories of last night.
Standing in my foyer. Back straight, arms crossed and that look on his face.
"A word with you, Solider." He said to me, the only real words I remember.
The words were meaningless. They blur into a string of lectures about super hero registration, civil liberties and making a stand.
The tone of his voice is what I remember. It is a tone that I remember from years ago. All of his lectures had the same tone. The same righteous indignation he used whether he was lecturing me about my training regimen, or about the lack of restrain I showed in my work.
He never understood that what he did out of a sense of honor, righteousness and the sacrifice to his country. I did out of worship. Sacrifices to my God. His service did not demand the spilling of blood, but mine did.
We never agreed to disagree, or came to any sort of understanding. Over my brief time with the Avengers it became easier to let him get these things off his chest. To placate him and move on.
I must have forgotten about how to deal with him. When he asked me to, in no uncertain terms, choose a side, I told him exactly where he could stick his Civil War.
Getting another lecture I was prepared for, but not the right hook he hit me with. The pain in my jaw knocked me to the floor. The following pain that shot up my right thigh and spread through my lower spine drove me head first into unconsciousness.
I awoke later to the feeling of hands on me. Soft massaging caresses and pressure points followed by relief from pain. No amount of rehabilitation ever brought this level of relief. Then again, one does not become an 80 plus year old super hero without learning a few things about pain management.
The softness of his touch was welcoming as I lay now on my bed, feeling the pain flow from my body with each pass of his hands. Words flowed from him. Words of apology came first, then frustration and how it's not safe for us out there any more. Then he started into how I might not be cut out for this any longer. Neither my body nor my soul had been given proper time to heal.
I don't know how much he realized I was awake for, but his words stopped when my hand touched his. I assured him that as long as he was in my home, under my protection, he was safe.
His head lowered to mine and our lips touched. There was a new kind of softness in his touches, one that stirred feelings of need and longing that almost blocked out what little pain there was left. The rest is a wash of flesh and sweat that lasted until there was nothing left but peaceful sleep.
His body nuzzled against mine, and I welcomed it. It soothed away some of the pain in the same way that Marlene's did all those years ago. I felt a soft throbbing in my jaw, and this time I welcomed it as the pleasant reminder it was.
It didn't last long enough.
I could feel him standing there.
His presence in the room was a weight, a crushing reminder of the burden of my service, bearing down upon me. The soft, ethereal chuckle that stung my ears escaped his skinless, faceless lips. Lips that could have been right above my ear…breathing down on me. That is, if he had any breath at all.
"My Knight…" He whispered, "Not all sacrifices to me are made in blood. Some sacrifices are also made of the flesh."
The chuckle in my ears faded, as did his presence in the room.
He was satisfied, and, for the first time in a long time, so was I.