CRUSHED

By: xffan2000

Summary: A post-"Starcrossed" story. It's been nearly six months since the Thanagarian invasion. John can't let go and Shayera is on the path to destruction.

CHAPTER 1 of 7

Gotham Times Op-Ed Piece:

We have laws in this country regarding traitors. Treason is punishable by death. That penalty is certainly warranted for an alien who not only spied on us, but also caused the imposition of martial law, mass destruction around the globe, and the deaths of countless people in forced-labor camps

Government of Mongolia:

"The Thanagarians enslaved our people to do their work. They used our land against our will to build their machine. We call for Hawkgirl, as the remaining member of her race on Earth, to turn herself over to our government to answer for the crimes of her people."

Head of United States National Security:

"We are taking appropriate steps to see that the Thanagarian is brought to justice."

Daily Planet, Front Page Article:

Hawkgirl Out of Justice League.

Superman, accompanied by Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter announced yesterday the departure of Hawkgirl from the Justice League. According to Superman, Hawkgirl, a Thanagarian, left the League nearly three months ago. Superman wouldn't comment on Hawkgirl's involvement with the Thanagarian invasion force, but did say that she didn't leave Earth when the Thanagarian army pulled back.

At press time, her whereabouts are unknown.


FreedomFromThanagarians.org:

Days Since Thanagarian Ships Left Earth = 160

Days Since Justice League Announcement = 93

Latest Reported Hawkgirl Sightings - Updated Daily! = Thursday in Mexico City, Zurich and Melbourne (Come on, folks, she can't be in all these places at the same time! Send me some reliable information! IH8Hawkgirl FFT.org)

The Glorious Gordon Godfrey Show, Syndicated Afternoon Talk Show:

"What right did they have to let Hawkgirl go? She has to pay for her crimes! We demand that the Just-Us League provide us with some justice for once!"

Letter to the Editor, Central City Gazette:

Hawkgirl should be tarred and feathered.

XXXXX

In a remote forest in northeastern Canada a small brown rabbit tugged against its restraint. A large rear foot was snared in a wire. The harder the rabbit pulled, the more the wire cut into its skin.

A slight breeze ruffled the air. The sound of a snapping twig followed.

The terrified animal halted its frantic escape attempt and hunkered down against the ground. Its breathing accelerated as its ears strained to find the direction of the noise.

Leaves rustled as the predator approached. The rabbit threw itself forward in escape, only to fall against the dirt, its foot more tightly stuck in the snare.

The predator crouched low to the ground and snagged the flailing animal by the scruff. The rodent let out a guttural shriek reserved for its last moments of life.

But instead of snapping the rabbit's neck, the hunter gently freed its leg from the snare and set the animal loose.

Only taking a fraction of a second to realize it was no longer going to die, the frightened rabbit scurried into nearby shrubs where it disappeared.

"So much for dinner," Shayera Hol, the devil with angel's wings, sighed. She removed the snare from its hiding place and stuck it in the back pocket of her tattered jeans.

The release of the rabbit wasn't a first. With nothing else to do with her life, she'd gone through the motions of fishing and trapping for weeks. But while hunger gnawed constantly at her belly, the desire to actually do something about it just wasn't there. She would catch a lot, release most and eat very little.

Shayera unfolded her body-length wings and took to the air, making sure to stay below the treetops. She'd kept to herself for over five months, spending most of her time in remote forests, swamps and jungles. With nearly every government on Earth wanting to "talk" with the revealed spy, the planet's residents -- understandably -- weren't terribly excited to see her. The few times she'd dare set foot in a populated are, the receptions were less than welcoming. The malice she faced from humans made torches and pitchforks seem warm and fuzzy.

On occasion, she managed to scrounge up a discarded newspaper or two. Headlines screamed for her surrender, with heads of state promising to find her and punish her. The words "traitor" and "execution" often appeared more than once in each article.

The thing people would find most surprising, if they'd bothered to ask her, was that she agreed with what they were saying. It didn't matter what nation or planet it was, traitors deserved to die. And for the umpteenth time that day, Shayera wondered why she was still alive.

She had retribution owed to her on two fronts.

She'd betrayed her own people. By derailing their plans to cut a route through Earth she sentenced millions of Thanagarians to die. The years it would take for them to come up with an alternate plan would be stained with the blood of her winged counterparts.

Had she been taken back to Thanagar, she would have been put on trial for a day -- at most -- then put to death at sundown. Oddly, though, she was spared that fate. Whether Hro Talak, her once intended husband, knew she'd suffer worse on Earth or whether he thought he was doing her a favor by letting her go, she'd never know.

She'd also betrayed the people of Earth. For years she studied them and reported back to Thanagar. True, she thought her mission was humanitarian in nature. But still, she allowed numerous atrocities to happen unchallenged. The people she most cared about, the Justice League, were imprisoned thanks to her providing information on their weaknesses. Humans were enslaved and died at the hands of her people. In essence, she paved the way to the annihilation of the entire planet.

Ultimately, she became a turncoat. But in her eyes, and the eyes of most of the world, it was too little, too late. Betrayal is betrayal, and she knew a debt more serious than exile was owed.

Admittedly, there was a bit of selfishness in her desire for a quick death that kept her from turning herself into a government agency; particularly an American agency. The twenty-year appeals process didn't sit well with her. Locked away in a cage for a couple decades while lawyers hashed over ipso-factos wasn't the way she wanted to go out.

Landing in a clearing she currently called home, Shayera hiked up her loose pants and sat down on a large rock. With a sigh she unloaded her pockets of the items she'd gathered during the day. As usual, there was very little. Only the useless snare, a handful of nuts and a copy of the Daily Planet from a week earlier that she'd plucked from a campground trashcan were laid out before her.

Thankfully, the front page no longer featured her, but rather the Justice League. She followed the addition of new members to the team. Green Arrow, Captain Atom, Supergirl, Metamorpho and all the others looked to be doing a fine job of aiding her old friends.

Hawkgirl was definitely no longer needed.

Shayera read the headlines and glanced at the articles. Apparently the League stopped a major robbery at Fort Knox. She flipped to the continuation on page three. Her heart clinched at the photo. It was the first time she'd seen him since Wayne Manor. In the photo, Green Lantern scowled at the camera as he handed over one of the crooks. He'd changed his look, she noticed, as he now sported a goatee and bald head.

Running her fingers gently over the photo, Shayera's shoulders sank. Of all the reprehensible things she'd done, she most regretted having hurt John. He was an honorable man and he deserved so much better than her traitorous self.

She truly did love him. But she hoped, for his sake, that he hated her, because she couldn't stand the thought of him spending even one minute pining for her.

Unable to look at John's accusing gaze any longer, Shayera stood and shoved her hands deeply into her front pockets. Her head tilted back until her green eyes stared straight up through the canopy of leaves to the stars above.

Her uselessness and isolation hit her hardest at night. In the cold darkness of the woods, her wings provided little warmth against her frozen heart.

She missed the camaraderie of watching weekend football games with the guys on the Watch Tower, always staring in amazement at how much food Flash could put away in mere seconds. She yearned for Batman's brooding, J'onn's Oreos, Superman's "do anything for you" attitude and even the barbed girl- talk she and Diana batted back and forth. She longed for the thrill of the Justice League taking on a gang of rogue villains in an "us versus them" match.

But most of all she ached for John. The short time they were together sparked and crackled with the kind of electricity she'd only seen in Thanagarian weapons. As she stood, clad in thin, ill-fitting jeans and a T- shirt, she shivered, wanting nothing more than to feel John's warmth wrapped around her as they huddled together in his bed once again.

Regrettably, none of it was possible any longer, she knew.

Trust had been smashed, friendships were shattered and honor was crushed. She couldn't have done a better job if she'd used her mace, which, incidentally, she no longer had. Just one more thing she'd lost in the Thanagarian invasion.

Frustrated, Shayera kicked at the newspaper, also sending the broken snare and small pile of nuts scattering. It didn't matter that her meager dinner was lost to the darkness. A squirrel, far more deserving to live than her, would be happy to find them in the morning.

It was time for her to move on anyway; Canada was getting too cold.

Unmasked, unarmed and unworthy, Shayera took to the night sky.

To Be Continued...