Characters Brian/Roger, Jeff Macey, References to Northstar and Billy/Teddy.
Rating: PG 13
Warnings: Some homophobia, and very depressed Roger. Reference to character death
Notes: The Fic Anibester helped on. Hope other people like it. It's based on Captain America Patriot 2, where Jeff Macey, as Patriot speaks at the funeral of a friend who was "Blue ticketed" (dismissed from the military for homosexuality). I was wondering what the effects of that on Roger and Brian would be, then other Marvel characters decided they wanted to speak. This is the result
Summary: You can't control a ripple
And I wouldn’t be who I am today without him.” Roger Audrey read aloud, the Sunday papers spread out over the wooden kitchen table. “Casey is the real hero, the real Patriot.” He lowered the paper and turned his head to look at the man nibbling at his neck. “Brave words.”
“Uhn.” Brian Falsworth response made it clear that his attention and thoughts were not half way across the Atlantic, but were very firmly rooted in the English country side.
“And from the guy who replaced Cap.” Brian’s kisses were becoming more persistent, so he decided to risk it. “Makes you wonder what he’d say if....”
A finger went over his lip. “Don’t.”
“Don’t finish that thought.” Brian’s tone was serious. “We’re not having this discussion again.”
“You know why not.” Brian glared at the other man. “For the same reason it was the Patriot, not Captain America, speaking at that funeral.” He pulled the paper away and read further down. “Due to the questionable nature of Photographer 1st Mate Casey discharge and circumstances of death was quickly dis announced. Questions were asked in the House....” He stared at Roger. “I can’t put them through that. Not Jackie. Not my father.”
“There’s nothing to connect_”
“You think it would make any bloody difference?” Brian glared at Roger. “Why do you think it was the Patriot speaking at that funeral? He hasn’t been seen for years. Because for Captain America to show up, would destroy him. If the government even let him finish.” He started at Roger. “The Patriot just committed suicide, Roger. He shot himself as surely at Casey did.”He sighed. “Is it worth it, Roger? Worth risking everything we’re doing, everything we’re achieving with V Battalion, for that?”
“People remember Wilde.”
“They remember his plays. They gloss over everything else.” Brian sighed. “Roger, you’re right, morally. But morals and Public opinion are too different things and I...” he shook his head. “I’m a coward.”
There was a pause before Roger spoke. “Can we at least speak to him? Let him know we support what he did and are grateful for it, even if no one else is?”
Brian nodded. “Of course.”
“Good.” Roger said, getting to his feet. “Cause if I remember Namor correctly, he’s going to need it.”
“Captain America.” He jumped, not hearing the footsteps coming up behind him. Bucky had vanished in search of ice, and Betty had gone to do...something, he hadn’t really being listening as to what. He was just thinking of Casey.
“Union Jack.” He couldn’t remember the man’s real name. Didn’t want to any way at the moment, it all seemed rather pointless. “What are you doing here?”
The other man didn’t call him on his rudeness, just remained standing where he was.
“I read in the paper about your friend.” He said, softly. “I came to offer my condolences.”
“You read in the paper?”
The mask hid all the face, but the raised eyebrow could still be discerned. “When a superhero, even an American one, comes out, apparently in support of Homosexuality, even the British press take notice. You’re either being canonised or dammed, depending on who you ask.”
Jeff snorted, his hand still aching. He had no idea what the other man wanted, and frankly, he didn’t much care. He just wanted to be left alone. There was a pause, and then Union Jack stepped forward, laying a hand on his shoulder.
“I saw some of the pictures he took of the Patriot.” He said, softly. “They were...” He paused. “Iconic. Not even Captain America had better.” He paused again, apparently searching for the words he wanted. “People remember the beauty of Byron and Shelley’s Poetry. No one remembers a thing about their personal lives.”
“He was a good man.” Jeff muttered. He looked up and realised that Union Jack was staring at him, as though he understood all he was saying or wasn’t saying.
“Steve Rogers once told me that the hardest thing he ever had to do was to go back into the field, after seeing the internment camps.” Union Jack said, softly. “There is a great deal about my country, about the world, really, that I dislike. A great deal I wish was different.” The bitterness in Union Jack’s voice shocked him. He looked at the other man, things slowly joining together in his mind. Locker-room gossip that he had dismissed as just that, a gesture or a look he’d seen when they teamed up with the British, the fact the other man had travelled nearly a thousand miles when he had read about what had happened in the newspaper.
“It is easy, too easy to give up. To become down heartened.” The material flicked and he knew the other man was licking his lips. “But we must remember that we don’t fight for ourselves. We fight for the next generation.”
“You couldn’t save Casey, but you’ve no idea how many you have save by speaking out. No matter what Namor says.”
Jeff glanced at the other man and wondered if he had the uncanny ability to read minds.
The silence reigned for a few minutes, before Union Jack got his feet.
“Well, I’d best go and make sure Namor and Destroyer haven’t killed each other yet.” He said, softly. Jeff nodded.
“And Captain?” He turned his head. “Thank you. From the depths of my soul.”
Jeff managed a weak smile
“Cretan!” Namor muttered. There was no real injury to him, only to his pride, but he was still examining his jaw in the mirror.
“You were out of line.” Roger observed. He glanced at Jim expecting the other man to back him up, but Jim’s eyes were distracted. “You might disagree with Mace’s actions, but you had no right to dismiss them. Certainly not so publicly.”
Namor flung up his hands. “Has anything changed?”
“No idea. Change takes time.” With a sigh, he sat down. “Not saying you don’t have a right to think it, but you shouldn’t have said it. For the next generation’s sake. It’s hard enough having someone running around in Bucky’s costume, without having attempts to change things ridiculed, especially for Toro...” He trailed off, looking around and realise that the sidekick was nowhere to be seen.
He shot a glance back at Namor, fuming, then across at Jim, who was worrying on his lip in a very human gesture, then towards the new comers (as he would always think of them), Miss America and the Whizzer, acting like they couldn’t see anything wrong, and suddenly realised something.
When he’d been a child, he’d had a couple of birds, Pinky and Perky. One day, Perky had escaped from the cage and being eaten by his Aunt’s Cat.
Pinky had remained in his cage, but had died, for no apparent reason a couple of mouths later. One couldn’t survive without the other. He looked around, taking in the faces of the All Winners Squad and prayed he wasn’t witnessing the death of the Invaders.
“Come on Roger, Let me in.”Jeff Mace banged on the door again, shuffling his feet under the weight of the box.
This was stupid. Worse than stupid, it was rude. Just because Roger hadn’t told Fred his plans, didn’t mean the other guy didn’t have them. He’d been waiting his whole life for this and_
The door opened.
“Good evening Captain America. Or is it Patriot.”
He remembered what Fred had said about Roger getting increasingly bitter and snarky, and forced a smile on his face. “Neither. I’m retired.”
“Yes, so I heard. And I read that there’s another one running around with another Bucky. A Blond Bucky of all things.” Roger’s arms were folded as he stared at the other man.
Jeff shrugged, moving over to the table and beginning to unpack his provisions.
“Patriot.” He turned his head, to see Roger still staring at him. “Not that I don’t love having my neighbours ring me up to complain about the company I keep, but what do you want?”
Jeff sighed, managing not to blush by sheer self-will. “I...I read about this in the paper.”
“You read about this?” The sarcasm in Roger’s voice was audio able, and one eyebrow was raised.
Jeff fished worse than ever, wondering if there was something about being Captain America that made you suddenly start blushing. “You know when a country goes and legalises homosexuality, even the American press takes notice.”
Something and he wasn’t sure what flickered across Jeff’s face.
“I thought, as we both know someone who should have live to see this, that maybe we could...” He held up the bottle. “You know what? Forget it, it was a stupid idea.”
He made to leave, but found Roger blocking the way.
Jeff sighed, running his hands though his hair (another Captain America quirk, that cowl was tight!).
“When Casey died, when I spoke at his funeral.” He said, keeping his voice calm. “Union Jack was the only to tell me I’d done the right thing. The only one who seemed to think what I said would make a difference.” He paused, biting on his lip. “I know he loved you, and that he’d have wanted to celebrate with you, but as he can’t be here, I thought I’d...for a drink only!” He added, suddenly going scarlet.
Roger laughed an angry bitter one. “You can relax, Mace, You’re not my type.”
“Really what is your type?”
It was simple and genuine curiosity that made him ask that. Roger held up the glass. “A man who doesn’t bring me American Beer!”
“You know it doesn’t really change anything.” Roger said softly. They had both drunk enough to relax slightly at least in the other’s company. “The Military, the Schools, the Church, they are all still against us.”
“But it’s a start right?” Jeff asked. Roger snorted, running his finger around the glass.
“Will it save men like Casey from disgrace? Will it stop men like Brian from being afraid? Will it stop kids like Toro making stupid choices because they are afraid? Will it stop the medics telling us we are sick? Will it stop the preachers promising us hellfire if we don’t repent? Would it have save those we promised freedom to from prison? Will it save us from hate and fists?” He spat every word out, shaking, almost spilling the beer.
“Probably not.” Jeff admitted, pausing to look at the other man. Roger didn’t really look angry, just very, very tired and unhappy. He felt slightly guilty, but tried to figure out, in spite of the beer, what the right thing to say was. “But it gives them a choice.”
“You know, Union Jack once told me that we don’t fight for ourselves, that we fight for the next generation.” He said, slowly. “It’s not much, and I know it doesn’t really solve...anything, but it’s more than we could have imagined twenty years ago. And...It’s not too far from D Day to VE Day.”
Roger laughed, though the joke was truly appalling.
“So Mr. Patriot,” Roger said his head on one side. “Want to help us plan our next campaign?”
Jeff looked over, deliberately selecting the fattest and pinkest pen from the pot. “Mr. Destroyer, I Thought you’d never ask.”
Extract from “Born Normal” By Jean Paul Beauier
“Casey is the real hero, the real Patriot,” It is strange that these words, spoken by a Superhero almost no one has heard of, still have such power on me.
I found the article rooting through a dumpster, just looking for something to keep out the cold. I don’t know why I kept it, much less why I read it; it was yellowing and almost falling to pieces in my hands.
Maybe it was the first time I’d heard someone have something positive to say about people like me. And coming from a superhero...I don’t know, it meant something more.
I still have that article, though now it is preserved behind plastic to try and make sure it lasts, and much more stained and creased.
Nearly five years later, when a man from the government stepped though Raymond’s doors and laid his offer on the table, it was those words, and the prospect of meeting my sister, that decided my mind.
I thought you said your first crush was on Captain America.” Billy lifted his head from where he was kissing his boyfriend’s neck to stare down at Teddy.
“So why do you have a picture of the Patriot taped above your bed?”
“Aah” Billy skin turned scarlet. “It’s stupid.”
Billy sighed. “Look, I went through a really bad time, I already told you that.”
“Yeah and that your “mom”” he made quotations marks around the word as the Scarlet Witch was something neither of them wanted to deal with at that moment. “Helped you through it.”
“Partly.” Billy was still scarlet. “Mostly, I...” He sighed. “A teacher gave us a project on Superheroes and the Second World war. All the articles I could find on the Patriot referred to his sudden and controversial retirement. So I went looking, and found...” He paused. “And found that it was generally suspected he’d been stripped of his rank for speaking at the funeral of a friend who committed suicide after being dismissed from the Navy as a homosexual.” He looked up at his boyfriend. “One of the articles actually commented that there was no way the man couldn’t have been aware of the consequences of his actions, but he did it anyway. Brave, principled and a couple of the articles thought he might have been speaking about his lover, he seemed like a good role model.”
“Yeah.” Teddy agreed. He paused as though a thought had just struck him “You think he’s still around?”
“Maybe.” Billy admitted. “Why?”
Teddy shrugged. “Need to thank him for saving my boyfriend, don’t I?”