To anyone who might someday read this, yeah…I keep a diary. Big, tough Rachel keeps a diary. Or kept a diary, I guess. The only way I can figure you're reading this is if I'm long dead. You'd better hope that I am. Because if I'm still around and you're just some sneak who's going through my stuff…there are so many ways that I'm going to hurt you.

But anyway, I've kept a diary since I was a little girl. It was the one 'girly' thing this tomboy always did. Did it when I was fighting with my older brothers, kept doing it when I started running with that street gang…and through everything that happened afterwards.

But all those years of writing are up in flames now, along with everything else that was in that cheap storage unit. I should have moved all my old stuff into the mansion weeks ago…but I kept putting it off. There were so many more important things that needed doing first. How could I know there was going to be a fire?

So, all my old diaries are gone and now I'm starting over. There's a lot of ground I need to cover. It's not like I've been able to write much in the past couple of years. So…where to begin?

I guess I'll start with the end of the world.

Well, we all know that the world didn't end that day. And now, three years later, so many things seem to have returned to 'normal' – but let's be honest…we all thought that Armageddon was upon us back then. The heroes that everyone had always looked to for protection were battered and broken. The majority of them were already dead. And there was nothing anyone could do.

Of course, Steve was right in the middle of it. Steve Rogers…Captain America…a living breathing legend. The guy that this second-rate super villain fell head over heels in love with the first time I saw him. I have quite a history with Cap, maybe I'll write it all down again someday…man, I wished my old diaries hadn't burned.

Anyway, here's the short version: I had a good gig going with the Serpent Society. On one of our jobs we ended up facing off against Cap. We tangled a few times after that and, crazy as it was…he made me want to give up my glamorous life of crime.

Even crazier, when I told him that…he believed me. He helped me. And after quite a few ups and downs, I got a full pardon. It even looked like I had a shot at a relationship with him. Of course, that's when things started going really bad. Dating can be tough for normal, career-minded people…so imagine what it's like when those careers involve megalomaniacs like the Red Skull, kidnappings, secret missions overseas, etc. Eventually, Steve and I just weren't seeing each other. There was no argument, no big blow up…we were both just so busy.

And then the world was ending.

Everyone remembers how it was when Thanos attacked. Some people still don't know the truth about what he really was. An alien madman with the powers of a god, he worshipped death. He loved death. Literally. Apparently he was so powerful that he could actually…communicate with Death...the Grim Reaper…like it was an actual being. Thanos wanted to be Death's consort. Death's lover. Death's husband.

And Death rejected him.

Yeah, I know how insane that sounds, but I believe it. And whatever you believe, everyone knows what happened. Thanos arrived with an army of inhuman drones and just started slaughtering everything in his wake. He raved about how he'd win back Death's favor even if he had to kill everyone in the universe.

And none of us could stop him.

The Fantastic Four, the first family of super heroes…destroyed in minutes. The Avengers…defeated and scattered. The X-Men…decimated.

Thor, God of Thunder…the most powerful being on the planet…struck dead in the middle of Manhattan with a triumphant Thanos standing over his corpse.

It was humanity's darkest hour. All hope was lost.

And Captain America, without a trace of fear in his voice, called every hero that could still move to rally together for a counter attack.

I fought my way through the chaos in the streets. I knew I was going to my death, but hey…we were all going to die anyway, right? And I wanted to see Steve one last time…just to tell him…you know to this day I'm still not sure what I was going to say. But I knew I wanted to say something. I never got the chance. Because he saw me as I made my way to the front of the group of remaining heroes. He saw me and he stopped talking, quit right in the middle of one of his patented inspirational speeches. He saw me, he grabbed me, and he kissed me like I've never been kissed in my life. That was how the greatest man who's ever lived told me that he loved me.

For that one moment I forgot that we were all going to die.

And then, to make things even better…we lived.


To be continued…

author's notes: This is something that's been brewing in my mind for a few years now. I loved Marvel Comics as a kid, including the classic Captain America storylines that introduced Diamondback - the cool, punkish, bad girl who falls for the ultimate good guy. Unfortunately as I've grown up, the Marvel Universe has changed into a dark, cynical place with storylines that leave me cold. So this story is my version of the Marvel Universe, told through the eyes of Diamondback.

Yes, I've blown a lot of stuff up so that I could start over…but you know what they say about omelets and breaking eggs. I intend to use only existing Marvel characters, not to create any new ones. Marvel has plenty of great characters to play with already. And the history of past Marvel storylines? Well, if I didn't like them they aren't going to be mentioned. (Don't go looking for any Civil War or Dark Reign references here.) This is an AU story all the way.

One last note, this story will be worked on mostly when I need a break from my other stories so the updates may be sporadic…or they may be fast and furious. In either case, I really appreciate feedback.