So I wrote this quickie a couple of months ago, forgot about it, and just recently found it in my documents folder again. And I thought, what the hell, may as well publish it. Even if it's crap. Ahaha... *crawls back to her cave* I'm sorry in advance for whatever this is.
There's going to be mentions of Steve/Peggy as well as developing Capsicoul, just so everyone's aware, but they won't be the focus.
Liberty is only a small Growlithe when Steve Rogers becomes her trainer.
She is still only a small Growlithe when he becomes Captain America.
She is still a small Growlithe when he disappears, but she's become so much more than "only."
Liberty has a duty to her country and to Steve's memory, and so she remains with Peggy Carter when they lose their Captain. All of Steve's Pokémon do. For five years following, she is happy to guard the woman Steve loves and to keep Howard Stark warm on his long expeditions into the Arctic to recover their friend.
By the time ten years have passed, this isn't good enough anymore. Liberty wants to go, to do more. Because Steve would have wanted it that way. Because it's what she's meant to do.
So she goes.
For the next twenty years, she wanders. She sees America and does her best to do good when she can, to right wrongs that are within her ability to do so. And she tries even when they're not. She's a scrapper, always has been and always will be. But something still feels off. Something still feels wrong. There is something she's still looking for.
Phil Coulson is eight years-old when she finds him, backed into a corner with a wounded Caterpie in his arms. The small, pale boy glares at his pursuers from beneath a mop of brown hair. Even from where she is concealed, Liberty can see the defiance in his stormy, blue-grey eyes. But he's also beaten. She sees the bruises, the bloody nose, the cuts and scrapes, and above all the unwillingness to back down despite the promise of more—the promise of worse—standing right in front of him.
He reminds her so much of Steve.
So Liberty takes charge.
While she intends to simply fend off the bullies, she gets much more than she bargains for. How is she to know that the boy wears a Fire Stone around his neck? She feels herself glow and change, until she is no longer a small, scrappy Growlithe, but is instead a great, towering Arcanine. The bullies scatter as she snarls at them, screaming and tripping over each other in their effort to get away.
The boy is looking up at her in silent wonder, his eyes wide and round and full of recognition.
"You're her, you're his, aren't you?" he asks. "You're Liberty."
Liberty isn't sure how this boy knows her, but as they walk it becomes apparent that Phil knows everything about her. About Steve.
She's found what she was looking for.
Liberty is the wild card in Phil's team as the years pass. The boy seems to work best with Normal types, preferring to quietly stun his opponents with an unexpected—and usually eerily polite—show of force. She remains by his side constantly, through his youth and into adulthood, through the military and everything that came with it. She sits by his bedside with Rushmore, Phil's loyal Eevee, when he is critically wounded. Every moment of her life becomes devoted to Phil and the more time she spends with him, the more she sees she's made the right choice. She wishes Steve could have met him. He would have approved.
She loves when Phil reads to her, from vintage comic books and biographies, and when he talks to her about Steve. She learns to be less lonely with Phil pressed against her side as Rushmore sits in his lap. She is always as excited as Phil and Rushmore when they find another vintage trading card and feels strangely proud when they have the full set. She finds a new home in this way, without having even realized it.
Nick Fury is the first person who does not question Liberty's spot in Phil's team. It's how she knows she can trust him with Her Phil. S.H.I.E.L.D. is something different, but different in a way that suits Phil uncannily. The world needs good men and, in her mind, there is no man as good as Phil Coulson.
The life of an Arcanine is a lengthy one and when 2012 comes around, she celebrates her 85th birthday. Phil has been busy, going away somewhere and leaving them behind. None of his Pokémon are happy, Liberty and Rushmore least of all. But he tells them he has something in the works, something grand and wonderful, and they can't stay too angry what with the way his eyes light up.
The 'something in the works' is Steve Rogers.
She cries and yips when Phil brings her to him. She's changed, but he still recognizes her, still loves her as much as he did when she was just a little Growlithe at his feet. Steve is crying as he buries his face in her soft fur; she's all he has left. It doesn't strike her until later, when Steve has fallen asleep tucked against her side, that Phil had left almost as soon as he'd dropped her off.
Liberty doesn't see Phil again until they put him in the ground. Even then, she doesn't really see him at all. Just a slab of marble with his name on it. When other mourners have gone, she remains with Steve and Rushmore. He died a hero's death, the only kind she thought fitting of him.
"He was special to you, wasn't he?" Steve asks, his eyes telling her that he is now figuring this out.
She noses his hand sadly.
"Is that where you were all these years? With him?"
There is a sudden understanding in his face and she sees something in him crumble. Steve knows that, while he was gone, she was still loved. And she was. Phil had been strange in that regard, always recognizing her as Steve's but loving her as if she were his own. She's Steve's, sure as anything, but she thinks of herself as Phil's, too. She wishes she could have let him know that.
She curls around the headstone as Steve sits beside it, cradling a distraught Rushmore in his arms. Liberty knows the Eevee will be cared for. Just as she was. Steve will return the favor.
Two months go by before she finds that he doesn't have to. Phil is alive. Comatose, but alive. She snarls at Fury when he tells them and bares her teeth menacingly, but nudges him with her nose as they leave. She knows he loves Phil, too, in his own way. So she's willing to let the lie slide. For now.
For another three weeks they wait by his bedside every day, watching and waiting for any sign that he'll wake. Liberty watches Steve watch Phil. He doesn't know yet, how he looks when he watches Her Phil, but he will someday, she thinks. She remembers the way he used to look at Peggy. It's not quite there yet… but it has the potential to be. She wishes her paws could work like Steve hands when he draws, because the look on his face when Phil wakes is something she wishes he could see. His eyes are happier than she can remember in the recent past, losing some of the loneliness and pain that had become his constant. His smile lights up his whole face and remains even as Phil quickly falls asleep once again.
It's another day before Phil can summon enough energy to manage a conversation.
"You took care of Liberty for me," Steve says, his tone low and full of wonder.
"I think it may have been the reverse," Phil says quietly. "She saved my life. I was eight."
"And she's been with you for… forty years," Steve says, doing the math quickly in his head. "Forty years. Jesus."
"She never stopped hoping you'd come back, though," Phil is quick to say.
Steve is quiet for a time before he leans forward, and Liberty watches him take Phil's left hand in both of his own.
"I'm glad it was you. Of everyone who she could have been found by… I'm so glad it was you," he says earnestly.
"I was… honored to have her," Phil answers.
Steve shakes his head. "We're honored to have you. I wanted to thank you for taking care of her, but more than that I think… I'm glad she brought me to you. You're a good man. One I don't plan on wasting the second chance to get to know better."
Liberty watches them, Her Boys, and thinks as they talk. It's a miraculous thing, that she should come to have them both. She knows this. How strange it is, that she should be what connects them. She feels that strange bond the three of them all share and knows that none of them will ever be lonely again.