Disclaimer: I own no one.
Rating: PG-13 for the usual stuff. (coughs)
Spoilers: Through "Initiation"
Pairings: Wouldn't you like to know?
A/N: I want to thank everyone who read this fiction, including all those who left the wonderful reviews. Holy crap! I hit 150! :)
I hope you enjoy the conclusion. I'm sorry it took so long for it to come together. I've had a lot of stuff on my mind lately.
Batman sat before his small computer, trying to locate his winged companion, but nothing was working. The fact that something was bothering him, something that Lantern had said, wasn't helping.
"I didn't vote her out," he told brusquely as he quickly typed on his computer.
GL crossed his arms over the symbol on his chest, insisting that Batman explain.
"We tossed our votes in the box, and J'onn read that two members had wanted her out. You, along with everyone else, automatically assumed that I had voted against Shayera's staying."
John shook his head. "It makes sense, though. The Thanagarians caused Wayne Enterprises to lose so much…"
"He and I covered it well. Only J'onn knew the truth."
"Why hide it then?" When Batman didn't answer, John did. "Because of Diana?"
Something flashed on the screen. It was her signal.
A second later, it was gone.
"What was that?" John questioned, peering over the shoulder of the Batman, his green eyes fixated on the screen.
"It was Hawkgirl."
"I'm getting too old for this shit," Dick Grayson yawned as he unlocked his apartment door. He had stopped by the station to pick up a few files but ended up bringing home a mound of paperwork. All of it needed to be done for tomorrow.
Nightwing would have to cut his hours, for the good of Dick Grayson and his job.
The officer dropped the files on his messy desk and tossed his jacket on this sofa, not really caring about his housekeeping. Barbara wasn't supposed to visit for a while, so that didn't matter. She was the only reason he did clean, but not because he cared about her. Babsy was a neat-freak and would probably kill him otherwise…
Exhausted, Dick found a can of Campbell's potato soup in the cupboard and opened it with his can opener. He was famished and only wished that the soup could have been a homemade concoction Alfred had cooked up.
Before dumping the sodium filled liquid into his pot, Dick heard a scratching noise coming from his roof. He froze, trying to make out the sound and where it was headed. Without hesitation, he quietly placed the aluminum can on the counter and inched toward this living room, keeping a keen eye on the skylight.
The roof exit opened, and he instinctively pulled out his gun. The winged figure fell into his apartment, striking the hardwood floor with a "thump."
"What in the…? Shayera?"
"He's not telling you anything?" Superman asked the young detective, annoyance hidden in his voice.
"Luthor says he didn't see a thing, that Ivy had laid him on his back the entire time."
"So, he doesn't know who saved his life?"
"That's his story."
"Thanks." Superman proceeded into the hospital room where Lex Luthor was being held. After all, the bald man had suffered a bullet to the arm and would only receive the best care for it.
"I figured you'd come," he scoffed and sent an all too familiar sneer. "You want to know who gave Joker that nice present on the back of his pale head."
"Yes, as a matter of fact. It was Hawkgirl. Right?"
He nodded. "She specifically ordered me to not tell anyone, to play it off as an unknown vigilante."
The Man of Steel narrowed his dark eyes. "Why is that?"
"She said that Hawkgirl was no more. That after tonight, Metropolis, along with Gotham and the rest of the world, would never see her again." Lex shook his head. "The Bat attempted to revive the fallen angel and failed miserably. Tell him that he has my sympathy."
The Kryptonian turned his back to the man who despised him and started for the door, but he stopped when he spoke again.
"She's shot, you know. I don't know if the wound is fatal, but I recommend that you find her soon. She didn't look too good."
Shayera clenched her teeth and gripped the arm of her chair as Dick carefully pulled the bullet from her side.
"You are so damn lucky."
She, wearing the bottom half of her Kevlar suit and a sports bra, and Dick were sitting in the kitchen. Her helmet sat on his kitchen table, facing away from her.
"Don't you have to be in this business?"
Dick smiled. "I guess so. We wouldn't be who we are if we hadn't had our brushes with death." With an alcohol-soaked gauze, he started to cleanse the injury, and she sucked in a breath as he did. "Why'd you come here? I'm sixty miles south of Gotham. You could've died on the way."
"I couldn't go to your boss."
She looked away from him and answered, "It's complicated."
"Oh. I see."
"Excuse me?" she asked with a raised eyebrow of curiosity.
"Well, he has that effect on women."
Her green eyes narrowed. "I didn't sleep with him."
"I didn't say you did." He smiled at her. "And even if you had, that doesn't make you any lesser a person. A whole lot of women have spent some time in his bed; you wouldn't have been the first."
"Is that jealousy?"
"No. Just stating facts." The officer brought out a needle and said, "I need to stitch it up."
"Figures that I'd get a bullet in the only place the suit isn't armored well…"
When Dick was finished, he led her to his shower and provided her with a few articles of Barbara's clothing. She didn't refuse his kindness and turned on the water.
Dick had assured that he could quickly repair the cell disruptor while she cleaned up. Little did she know that he would accidentally trigger the homing device stationed inside, bringing an uninvited Leaguer to his doorstep.
Grayson left the device on his nightstand and returned to the kitchen, checking to see if the soup was done, but the doorbell interrupted him.
He steadily made his way to the front door, peered through the peephole, and recognized the dark-skinned man standing on the opposite side.
"John?" Dick opened the door and invited him inside. "What are you doing here?"
"Your old man said her signal stopped here last."
The young crime fighter nodded. "Yeah. Why?"
"She ran off."
"Noticed." Dick led him to the kitchen and offered the Lantern a beer, which he declined. "She's fine, by the way. I removed the bullet and stitched her up. She doesn't need a trip to the hospital."
"Good." John Stewart, in his sunglasses and trench coat, let out a nervous breath as he mumbled, "Can I see her?"
"She's still in the shower. Give her a few minutes to get washed up."
Ten minutes later, Stewart had removed his coat, and the two men sat at the kitchen table in silence. Shayera still hadn't revealed herself.
"How long has that shower been running?"
Dick stood from his seat without a word. Although not asked, John followed the younger man into Dick's bedroom.
"Shayera? Are you all right in there?" Grayson called after he knocked on the bathroom door. "Shayera?"
All chivalry aside, John used his ring to unlock the door and stepped past the man who had aided the Thanagarian. He shoved the shower curtain to one side and beheld an empty shower.
The former Boy Wonder whirled around to find the Kevlar suit and mace lying on his made bed and the cell disruptor missing.
)8(Six months later…
"How does this look, Kendra?" Sara Elizabeth Hall asked her colleague as she stepped away from the new Samurai sword exhibit that had just placed in the room. "Look good?"
"It's awesome." Kendra Sanders, the coordinator of the mummy exhibit, placed a dark hand on Sara's shoulder and smiled. "They're amazing."
"Most of them are from the 1800's."
"And they look brand new, thanks to you," Kendra stated and stepped away. "I'm outta here. It's already a quarter after."
Sara rolled her lovely green eyes and laughed. "Whoa. A whole fifteen minutes passed your scheduled time of five." The redhead followed her friend into the lobby and claimed a seat for her own. "Where are you in a hurry to? Hot date?"
Kendra giggled. "Yeah, actually. It's New Year's. I'm goin' out with my man. Got a problem?"
The woman wearing a black turtleneck and gray slacks pulled on her fuchsia coat and sighed. "What are you doing tonight?"
"At six. You'll be out before seven. Why don't you come to the party with us? There'll be alcohol, and you can drink as much as you want. We'll give you a ride."
Sara shook her head. "Thanks, but I don't want to impose."
"Hey girls," Randy Windom, one of the tour guides, greeted as he dropped his headset on the table. "Everyone doing something tonight?"
"No," Kendra answered. "Miss Scrooge over there doesn't have plans."
Randy ran a hand through his dark hair and sent Sara a sympathetic smile. "Go out with me, Sara. No one should be alone on New Year's."
Sara wasn't caught off guard by Randy's invitation; he had already asked her out several times since she had been hired as the weapon's coordinator at the Midway City Museum four months ago.
"No. I actually have some things to take care of before the clock strikes midnight, but thanks anyway."
"Okay. Happy New Year, ladies." Randy left the museum with Kendra slowly following.
"Are you sure, Sara?"
"Go. You're becoming bothersome."
An hour and twenty minutes after most of the staff had left the giant museum, Sara Hall had pulled on her coat and was heading home. With a pink scarf wrapped around her neck, she wore a flared gray skirt, black boots, and gloves. It was snowing out, so she wanted to get back to her warm apartment as soon as possible.
"Have a good night, Ms. Hall," Chuck, the security guard, said as she passed. She knew that he was a divorcee whose kids were spending the holidays with their mother and grandparents in Florida. He had taken the shift for his best friend, Michel, who was proposing to his girlfriend tonight.
"You too, Chuck. Happy New Year."
Sara stepped into the cold evening air and buttoned her coat. The heels of her boots sunk into the snow as she started for her apartment. Someone caught her attention.
"I thought the museum was open until eight," a heavy voice asked from behind her. She thought that it sounded familiar but wouldn't allow herself to lose focus.
"No. It's New Year's Eve. We closed," she turned to face the confused man, "at six."
In his black duster and jeans, the African-American stood just a few feet from Sara. Except for the facial hair he had acquired about fourteen months ago, he looked the same.
It had been eighteen months since she had laid eyes on him or spoken to him.
She swallowed hard.
"That's too bad. I was looking forward to seeing the Civil War exhibit. I heard you possess the pistol General Grant carried with him."
She nodded. "We do." Although every hollow bone in her body wanted to fall into his arms and give into his warmth, Sara stood her ground. "What are you doing here, John?"
Stewart stuffed his bare hands into his pockets and admitted, "I worked Christmas and decided I wanted to have a good New Year's. You see, the last time I had a pleasant holiday… I was with you."
"You shouldn't be here."
"Shayera!" he said harshly but quickly lowered his voice; both hoped no one had heard him. "I just wanted to see you."
"Are you done 'seeing' me yet? 'Cause I've got things to do."
"Like what? Drink a few bottles of beer? Eat some eel heads?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact. What does it matter to you?"
They had only been in the street for a few minutes and were already bickering. The connotation of the act could have been a toss up; either way, it meant something.
"At least let me walk you to your car," he pleaded calmly. Even though she couldn't see passed the damned dark lenses he hid his glowing emerald eyes behind, she knew there were tears forming.
After all, there were tears forming behind her eyes.
"I only live a couple of blocks away; I walk."
He slightly nodded and dared a step toward her. "Can I walk you home then?"
"It's a free sidewalk." When a smile appeared on his lovely lips, she returned a copy of his and strolled for the next block with him quickly catching up to her side.
"So, you're a weapons coordinator now?"
"Yeah," Shayera answered as she placed two beer bottles on the coffee table and took a seat on her sofa, right next to him. John tried not to show his excitement but figured that he had already given that secret away when he showed up at her work.
Shayera had traded her very sexy skirt and boots for a pair of gray sweatpants and a nearly backless, black top. She looked incredible.
"How are your wings disguised?"
"Bruce developed the cell disruptor for me." The beautiful redhead reached the center of her back, flipped an invisible switch, and allowed her gorgeous wings to appear.
'Amazing,' he thought and slid a little closer to her.
"Why are you here, John? Why tonight?"
He let out a breath as he nervously cracked his knuckles. "I've wanted to come see you and figured the holiday would be a valid excuse… That and J'onn advised me to keep my distance until you settled in here." The former Marine glanced around the spacious apartment and chuckled. "You did quite a bit of settling."
"It helps when you have someone create a birth certificate, a savings account, and a checking account for you." She ran a hand through her wavy strands, which she had layered to just above her shoulders.
"You got your hair different. It looks nice."
"You've got a beard. It makes you look angry."
"Good or bad thing?" When she shrugged, he teased, "You like your men clean shaven?"
She bit her lower lip. "Maybe."
Bruce Wayne, CEO of Wayne Enterprises, sipped his champagne and surveyed the ballroom. Women and men of great stature flooded the dance floor, tables, and bar. There were almost too many of them… It just made him realize how much he hated charitable functions.
"Well, don't you look solemn," Diana said as she joined him by the bar. She, wearing a long black dress, looked as beautiful as ever, but he managed to ignore his emotions.
Bruce was good at that.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was invited," she snapped casually and sipped her red wine.
"Last time I checked, you needed to provide an exceptional amount to be on the guest list."
"I'm here with a date. The senator of New York asked me to accompany him. You know, Ronald –"
"You've heard of him."
"Yes. He was at Luthor's banquet last summer; he helped Lex win office."
Her slender eyebrow perked up, and she disregarded the election remark. "Really? The banquet you attended with 'Sara Hall?'"
He didn't answer.
It was only a few minutes to midnight, and Diana was searching for Bruce once again. He, as usual, was nowhere to be found.
But sure enough, her date caught up with her.
She spun around and sent him a brilliant smile. "Ronny, I'm sorry. I was looking for you."
"Good thing I came hunting for you. Huh?" The redheaded man took hold of her elbow and led her to a crowd huddled on the dance floor.
Together, the group of people she felt uncomfortable with rung in the New Year.
"I kind of figured you'd be at home sleeping."
Batman stepped out of the shadows and quietly approached the cat burglar. "I was informed of your actions."
He narrowed the eyes of his cowl and replied, "Let's just say a little bird told me."
Catwoman turned to face him and supplied her trademark smirk. Both were standing coolly on the roof of The Gotham Hotel, where the New Year's Eve party was being held.
A little too calmly…
Her claws ran over the bat on his chest as her green eyes insisted on gazing into his. "Make any good resolutions this year?" she whispered, sending an undetectable quiver down his spine.
"Maybe." The Cat's claws left his chest and started on a tingling path to his behind. He didn't complain. "Look up," she murmured as her lips inched toward his.
He took a glance and noted that they were standing under mistletoe.
"Rules say when you're standing beneath mistletoe, you have to kiss whoever you're with."
Batman slightly shook his head. "But you and I tend to break the rules."
"Who am I to end an age-old tradition?" Catwoman's mouth then covered his, and he pulled her body to his, wrapping the criminal in his cape.
She didn't complain either.
"Three… two… one! Happy New Year!" Dick Clark said and Shayera Hol turned off the television. She was the only one watching it anyway.
Carefully, so she wouldn't disturb him, Shy planted a light kiss on John's cheek and whispered, "Happy New Year." Next, she laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.
Another year. Another beginning. Another life.
This time, the lie was the mild-mannered Sara Hall of Midway City and not Hawkgirl. That hero no longer existed. She had died when Joker had shot her.
Shayera sighed and took in his familiar and relaxing scent. She knew he would try to talk her into joining the League and that he cared for her a great deal. This time, she'd willingly accept his love, whether or not others objected.
Although the unknowing world wouldn't know the truth, John would. He would be her rock, the one who kept her balanced.
And she'd be forever grateful.
"Happy New Year to you too," he mumbled and tightened the embrace around her.
It wasn't every day, or night, that she watched the giant ball drop in Times Square with the only man she had ever truly loved.
It wasn't every day that she honestly felt comfortable being Shayera Hol.
) The End (