Title: Fellow Travelers (4/4)

Author: Allaine

Email: eac2nd@yahoo.com

Disclaimers: DC Comics, Cartoon Network, Bruce Timm, the JLA animated series, etc, etc. No profit intended from my infringement.

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Up to the JL episode "Hereafter". Also occurs after the first eleven chapters of the _Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride_ fanfic.

Feedback: Please, please, please!!

Summary: Hawkgirl encounters three women, each like her perhaps forever cut off from their homes, and she begins to wonder if she might be happier with them. Takes place in the animated-JL "Always a Bridesmaid" ficverse.


Chapter 4

Diana rubbed her eyes as she opened her door. "What?" she asked.

Green Lantern looked at her disbelievingly. "What are you wearing?" he blurted out.

She looked down at the white silk nightgown she was wearing. "It was a gift from Audrey," she said simply. "My using it in the way she intended is the proper way to show my gratitude." Plus Diana believed on some irrational level that it helped her dream of the blonde waif.

And she'd wanted very much to think of Audrey, not of whether or not Hawkgirl would be leaving in the morning. When she understood that Shayera would not be consulting her for any last-minute advice, she'd sought refuge in sleep instead.

"I could suggest other forms of gratitude," Lantern replied, "but then I'm not the Flash."

Diana smiled. Glancing at the clock, she saw it was half-past eight by Watchtower time. "What do you want?" she asked.

"You spent the night?" he said.

She nodded.

"Then you had some kind of advance warning about this meeting Hawkgirl's summoned all of us to?"

Diana froze. She'd insisted that Hawkgirl give the League the courtesy of offering farewells in person if she was going to leave. "I didn't know she called a meeting," she said truthfully. "I was here for other reasons."

He frowned. "Could you make a guess as to why we're here?"

"Yes," she said hesitantly.


She looked at him. "And what?"

"What's your guess?"

"I said I could make a guess," Diana replied coolly. "I didn't say I would."

John's frown became a glower. "Great," he said flatly.

"I do know the 'aliens' are leaving orbit today," she told him.

"So this is for goodbyes?" GL asked incredulously.

"Probably," Diana answered, not offering details as to who was saying goodbye.

He mumbled something and walked away.

Diana closed the door and went to the closet where her uniform hung. She removed the bedclothes regretfully. It did feel soft, like Audrey. But then Audrey had also told her that even if some foolish people, wishing to provoke her ire in front of national television audiences, suggested that her costume was too revealing, there were others who thought it didn't reveal enough.

Her cheeks grew rosy at the recollection, and she smiled involuntarily. Yes, that was good. Think of Audrey - because after this morning, her next-closest friend might be gone.


She had the shortest distance to travel, but she overslept and so was the last to arrive. In fact, proceedings seemed to have started without her, as the Tamaranean was talking to Green Lantern.

"I'm sorry we can't stay longer," Koriand'r told John. "And that your request to your superiors concerning my home planet was for nothing."

"I'll hold onto whatever they send me," he said. "You might swing by again some day."

Maxima snorted.

"I didn't ask everyone to come just because they're leaving now," Hawkgirl interjected from her seat. "In case anyone was thinking of leaving," she added, shooting a glass at the Flash, whose body leaned imperceptibly toward one of the doors.

Diana noticed one or two others settle in their seats and suspected they had thought, like GL, that Hawkgirl had wasted their time in bringing them to the Watchtower.

"You see," Hawkgirl continued, "Maxima's ship is charting a course to Thanagar by way of Almerac, and they've asked me to come with them."

_That_ got people's attention. John's eyes widened, and he glanced at Diana. She shrugged, signifying she had no idea what was coming next - and, hopefully, that she hadn't expected this either. "Why Thanagar?" Superman asked before GL or one of the others could reply.

"Due to the nature of the enemy Princess Koriand'r is attempting to conquer," Hawkgirl said evenly, "they would need military help of a substantial nature. From conversations I've had with her regarding my home, she feels that the Thanagarians are a strong race, one that would be more likely to pick a fight, and win it."

"I wonder where she got that idea," Flash murmured.

"Neither do I. I'm sure you're glad I'm not the type to pick fights," Hawkgirl responded meaningfully.

He looked away and adjusted his costume.

"At any rate," Hawkgirl went on, "I felt you should all be here for my answer, and my reasons for deciding thusly."

Superman and the Martian Manhunter looked at each other, and J'onn turned to face her. "Shayera," he said gravely, "before you speak . . ."

"I'm not going," she interrupted.

Leaning against the wall, Maxima made a disgusted noise and turned away. Koriand'r's face fell, while Raven's reaction was hidden in the hood and folds of her attire.

Diana couldn't help exhaling, and this time John's look told her that he knew she had kept this from him.

"As I was about to say," the Manhunter continued firmly, "I would not want you to feel obligated to remain here. If I had the opportunity to return to my lost family and home on Mars, I would take it. I suspect Superman feels the same way."

"I've always fought for what few remnants I could collect from the wreckage of Kryptonian life and civilization," Superman agreed. "I'm sure home is equally important to all of us. That being said," he added, "I suspect none of us is sorry to hear you say that you won't be going."

"Perhaps we should let Hawkgirl explain why she's doing this," Batman said quietly.

Hawkgirl nodded at the Dark Knight gratefully. "I empathize with you both," she said to Superman and J'onn. "I truly do. But - and I say this with all proper reverence - your civilizations, your cultures, they are dead. They are gone forever. Of course you would go, because you can never have them back. In my heart I know that Thanagar lives on, as do my people, and I will have other opportunities to see my home again."

"What if you don't have other opportunities?" Green Lantern asked softly. "Or ones not as good as this one?"

She sighed. "Then that's a chance I'm willing to take." She turned to face Koriand'r and the others. "I decline your offer, albeit with reluctance and with gratitude for the opportunity."

"You're sure about this?" Koriand'r asked.

Hawkgirl nodded. "I'm sure. You see, even if I never return to Thanagar, I realize that Earth is a home for me, and I can continue to live the new life I've crafted here. For everyone and everything I miss on my birth planet . . ." She looked at the League. "There is a someone and a something I will miss from here if I leave. And perhaps," she added quietly, "if I left, it would be for the wrong reasons."

Diana closed her eyes and thanked Hera. When she opened them, she saw that John's expression was more unreadable than even Batman's was, and as to what he was thinking, once again she could only guess.

"Here," Shayera said, rising and offering Koriand'r a folded paper. "This is a list of the people you should contact, and where they could be found when I was taken from Thanagar. There's also something there that will prove to them that I sent you to them."

"Thank you," Koriand'r replied, taking the proffered gift. "This will help. It would help more if you were coming but . . . you're not."

"I'm staying," Hawkgirl agreed.

Raven's head rose so that the shadows no longer hid her mouth and chin. "I'm staying too," she whispered.

Koriand'r spun and looked down at her friend, still seated. "What?!"

"I do not think I will find greater hospitality than I have found here," Raven said, not daring to look up. "And - this place has a claim on my soul."

"I don't understand," Koriand'r said, but Raven turned her head so that she caught Diana's eye.

"She means she's from Earth," Diana told her, sensing that Raven was too afraid to admit it herself.

Koriand'r turned to Diana, stunned.

Superman walked over to Raven and got down on one knee so he could see her face. "Is this true?" he asked gently.

"My mother is from Earth," she murmured. "She was born in that place we visited, New York City. I heard of it from her many times, but I never imagined I would see it myself."

"And if her mother was born in New York," Diana said, "then she's an American citizen."

"Which, under the U.S. Constitution," Batman realized, "makes Raven a citizen as well."

"I've come home," Raven admitted, "and I didn't even know it until the first time I heard one of you call this place 'Earth'. I was afraid to ask to stay, but Diana spoke so kindly that I was no longer afraid."

"But why are you saying this now?" Koriand'r said, falling into her chair next to Raven's. "Why couldn't you have told me last night?"

"I wasn't sure," Raven admitted. "I think if Hawkgirl had accepted your offer, I would have gone with you. But now that I know this is probably my last time on this planet, I feel compelled to stay."

Koriand'r took a deep breath. "Then I can only congratulate you," she said, smiling weakly.

Raven finally looked at her, surprised. "Why?"

"Because, Raven, you found what we've both been looking for," Koriand'r replied. "Home. How can I deny you that?"

Hawkgirl folded her arms. "Well," she said appreciatively. "She managed to steal my thunder with just three words."

"Raven, could I speak to you for a moment?" Diana asked, going over to her.

Raven rose slowly and nodded. "All right," she said.

"Do you know if your mother has family here?" Batman asked before she left with Diana.

She shook her head. "All I know is my mother's first name, Arella."

Batman and Superman looked at each other. "That's not a common name," Batman said.

"We could check New York birth records for the relevant years," Superman suggested, "for Arella's last name and parents. It's possible she has grandparents here who've never met their granddaughter."

Diana was leading Raven by the wrist, and she felt the young woman tense. "I think we should save that for later," she told the heroes.

Only when the two were outside in the hallway did Diana speak. "You sensed my feelings for Audrey," she said. "What do you sense about Hawkgirl?"

"The Lantern," Raven whispered unwillingly. "But you already knew that."

"Yes, I knew that," Diana agreed. "And last night I told Hawkgirl not to leave Earth just because she wanted to get away from John Stewart. She's decided not to be frank with him concerning her feelings, you know."

Raven shook her head. "I felt her sadness," she admitted, "but I did not know the cause. Perhaps if I had delved deeper, but it was not my place to violate the privacy of her heart. What I 'sense', as you say, is those outermost, and most deeply felt, feelings which are no more hidden than the color of one's eyes."

"Well then," Diana said, "are you staying because you think you need to save Koriand'r from yourself?"

The empath flinched. "She, she does not need me any more," she stammered. "She has an open heart, and she will make many friends."

"And you expect your father to win some day, and you think she'll get hurt, AND you haven't told her the whole truth," Diana replied ruthlessly. "Are you afraid she'll run from you?"

"If I tell her the truth," Raven said coldly, "then she will remain by my side that much more firmly. And then Trigon will hurt her. _That_ is what I'm afraid of."

Diana sighed. "By the heavens," she said, exasperated. "Athena and Aphrodite, both confounded and at the same time! And by two!"

"I do not understand," Raven answered.

"Goddesses of wisdom and love," Diana explained. "Hawkgirl refuses to be completely honest with a man I suspect she's in love with because she's focused on all the reasons she thinks it won't work. Before she was afraid, and now she thinks the truth would be selfish! And now you push your best friend away from you because you can't be completely honest with her either." She rested her hands on her hips and bent her head so that she was looking down at the shorter woman. "I think you're both out of your minds, and if it was my place to tell, I would tell John and Koriand'r everything."

"You're right, it is _not_ your place," Raven said hotly before taking a deep breath and folding her arms.

Diana muttered to herself. "Well, maybe not now, but it was my place. I was in the same predicament with Audrey, and at last I chose to tell her. There have been problems, and undoubtedly there will be more, but I have yet to regret my decision."

"That is all well and good," Raven replied, "and it is good that this has happened for you. But I am staying, and Koriand'r is not. So whether or not she knows about my father is irrelevant."

Then she turned, her purple cloak spinning in the air, and vanished in one of those tiny black puffs of smoke.

Diana shook her head. Was this Olympus' punishment for being the coward for so long in her relationship with Audrey? Would she evermore find herself playing Cassandra to another woman's Agamemnon, her words of experience and wisdom falling on the deaf ears of a Shayera, Raven, or Harley Quinn?

She symbolically wiped her hands. She had washed herself of the affairs of those demented Gotham femme fatales, and she would do so again with the alien women, more sisters than friends.

When she re-entered the room, Hawkgirl was waiting for her by the door. "Do you think anybody here even remembers that I was contemplating leaving Earth?" she asked thoughtfully. "That little bird's announcement has created quite a stir."

Diana had been about to warn her that Raven had disappeared to parts unknown, but she saw her now with Koriand'r. Evidently Raven had been so intent on finishing their conversation that it wasn't enough to walk back to the others. "We'll have to help acclimatize her to Earth. At least with her powers, she could probably find work in health care."

"Cold, clinical, detached - she'll make an excellent doctor," Hawkgirl mused.

She could not be so detached on the inside, Diana knew, and she worried at this. Raven had said that Trigon would try to take advantage of her when she became emotional.

Flash materialized beside them. "All I know is, if Maxima announces she's staying, I'm leaving. With Koriand'r," he added naughtily.

Hawkgirl shuddered. Whether it was the thought of Flash alone with the well-proportioned Tamaranean, or the unlikely thought of Maxima staying on Earth, Diana couldn't tell.

"Soap operas," Batman muttered as he joined their little group.

"She's dark and broody, Bats," Flash suggested. "You should ask her out."

"Hardly," Batman replied as Hawkgirl practically shoved her fist in her mouth to avoid laughing. His lip twitched oddly.

"Although," he added thoughtfully, if quite oddly, "I can't fault her taste in colors."

Batman then left to join Superman and J'onn at the computers. Probably they were looking for records of Raven's mother.

"Taste in colors? What did that mean?" Diana asked, perplexed.

"I don't know, but did you see that thing he did with his lip?" Flash replied. "I think that was a smile."

Diana and Shayera blinked.

"Is there anything else you're not telling me?" Koriand'r asked Raven cautiously. "Besides your mother being from this planet."

Raven hesitated and looked to one side. "No," she mumbled.

"You are a terrible, terrible liar," Koriand'r sighed. "I guess I'll have to stay too."

There was a quiet moment where Diana could hear Flash's murmured reply.


Then pandemonium arrived.

"That's it, that's it, I am leaving," Maxima said, throwing up her hands. "You obviously have strange chemicals in your atmosphere that compels people to remain in this backwater. If I stay here any longer, I'll want to stay too. Earth is worse than a black hole."

"You most certainly cannot!" Raven finally said after overcoming her shock.

"At this rate," Green Lantern observed sourly to Superman, "the Watchtower is going to become the interstellar version of Ellis Island. Not that there's anything wrong with alien immigrants," he hastened to add.

"Maybe you've got something there," Superman mused.

GL smacked his forehead.

"Why?" Koriand'r asked.

"Because . . ." Raven spluttered. "Because this is my home. _Your_ home is somewhere very far away!"

"So I'm not welcome here? I should think that's a question for them, not you. Even if you are one of them," she added slyly, grinning.

Raven looked positively outraged. "You can't give up your quest for me!" she said plaintively.

"I'm not giving up," Koriand'r replied. "I'm just going to help you settle in, and I'll wait for the response to come from the Lantern Corps."

"Maxima will not wait that long," Raven warned her.

"Got that right," Maxima growled.

"It is as Shayera says," Koriand'r replied. "There will be other opportunities. Unless there's some other reason why you don't want me to remain with you?"

Diana smiled triumphantly as Raven was pinned down like a butterfly, rather than a bird, by Koriand'r's ruthless question. If she told the truth, then Raven's fears of Koriand'r cleaving to her that much more strongly could come true. If she said nothing, then there was a chance Koriand'r might leave if another opportunity presented itself.

But that opportunity could be a long while in presenting itself.

Hawkgirl, on the other hand, looked dismayed. "She's giving up so much," she whispered.

"Sometimes," Diana replied, "the personal connections are even stronger than the bonds of home."

Flash failed to notice Diana's momentary glance in GL's direction, but Hawkgirl reddened and said nothing.

And Raven, too, said nothing. "I would . . . I would appreciate any help you might offer me," she said, defeated.

Koriand'r turned to Superman, delighted. "I promise not to be an encumbrance on your planet during my stay," she told him while Raven looked on helplessly. "We will be productive members of your society."

"You know," Flash began.

Diana already had a bad feeling.

"If you want a job," he said, "I know a guy who could make you the newest Victoria's Secret model."

"FLASH!!" Diana exploded. "She is not going to degrade herself in the flimsiest pieces of cloth for your erectile fantasies!"

"I do not understand," Raven said to Superman quietly. "Who is Victoria, and why would Koriand'r want to be her secret model?"

Superman forestalled Flash's response by laughing heartily. "I think you two are going to be just fine. Welcome to Earth."


Hawkgirl dozed as she sat in the monitor's chair a couple days later.

"Justice League, contacting Justice League."

The voice snapped Hawkgirl out of her reverie. How could it not? The imperious, demanding tone was all too familiar. "Maxima?" she said, for a moment thinking she was behind her.

"I assume one of you is getting this," Maxima continued to proclaim from the speakers.

Hawkgirl was seized with a powerful sense of déjà vu. Hadn't Maxima's voice started it all earlier this week?

"This transmission is just a message. Hopefully I will be free of this miserable, unsettled solar system by the time you get this."

Shayera sighed with relief.

"At any rate," Maxima went on, "I just wanted to let Koriand'r and Raven know that everything probably worked out for the best."

"Probably," Hawkgirl agreed, even if she did wonder if she _or_ Koriand'r had lost their last, best chance to return to their respective origins. It seemed Maxima might not have been completely off the wall. Earth did have a bewitching effect on "visitors".

And thankfully, that effect had been lost on Maxima, who never paid Flash for his van either.

"Because I have assuaged my loneliness," Maxima said with all the pathos of a mediocre actress, "in the arms of a new passenger who I picked up near this great reddish planet you people call a giant."

Jupiter, Hawkgirl guessed.

"And he would have been a difficult addition to our little party," Maxima explained. "So while I shall miss you both, know that I will survive."

"I'm sure they'll feel so much better," Hawkgirl muttered.

Then a new voice, itself familiar, startled her.

"Just so you Justice dweebs know, Maxie and I are going to raise hell on planets that are a lot more fun than yours," Lobo growled, "and man, am I glad you turned me down that one time. I don't know what I was thinking!"

"Lobo, yeow!" Maxima squealed.

Squealed? Maxie??

Hawkgirl made a sickened face and lowered the volume. Let the computers record the remainder. "That's one window of opportunity best left unlamented," she said to herself.

The End.

(To be continued in Chapter 12 of _Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride_)