CROSSING THE STYX by Terry Winder
Copyright 2004

Disclaimer: I don't own many things including the characters in this story. Wake the Dead written by Dwayne McDuffie and Bruce Timm. Thanks to Merlin Missy for her beta on this story.

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CROSSING THE STYX
Rating: (PG-13)
Synopsis: SPOILER: Shayera Hol's thoughts in the sewer during Wake the Dead.
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Icthultu: "You will not do this thing Shayera Hol of Thanagar. Icthultu still has faith in you."
Hawkgirl: "So do I." – (The Terror Beyond)
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The water was cold. It was dirty. It contained the trash the people above threw away. It was the refuse of the human existence and this was where Shayera Hol now felt she belonged.

She was below the rats and vermin in the world and she was hunting. She was hunting a former friend. She had to end his existence so that the innocent didn't suffer. She was a hunter. A destroyer. An intelligence operative on a killing mission. She was a soldier. She did not question whether or not she should do this. She knew she should. She knew she had to because the taking of one life would save many.

Her instrument of death, her mace, was her light in this sewer. Her weapon showed her the way. With it she was whole. And with it she was cursed.

You were a soldier. Killing is not new to you. In your life, you've killed to accomplish your mission. This is no different. How many Thanagarians did you kill by thwarting plans for the bypass? Thousands? Millions? You're easily the largest mass murderer in Thanagarian history. What's one more? Indeed, what is one more?

Except you know this one.

She moved the lighted mace in front of her like a lantern. She knew the light would show her the way in the darkness but it would also show a mindless Grundy where she was. It was a tactical risk she had to take.

Stay sharp, Hol. You can't reason with him. He doesn't know you now and will kill you if he gets the chance.

Funny how Grundy saved you from Icthultu only to have you now be his executioner.

You can't give him a chance.

It would be so easy to let him kill you, to let him put you out of your own misery, the way they want you to put him out of his.

You can't let him kill you. You are all that stands between him and the loss of innocent lives.

Human lives.

Sometimes, Hol, you disgust me. You let your people die to save the humans.

Damn you John. If I hadn't met you. If I hadn't loved you.

They told her in Basic training that her weapon was the best friend a soldier could have. It could protect and destroy. Become one with the weapon, they told her. Perhaps now she finally had.

And damn you, Hol.

First time you see him in more than a year and the only thing you can think to say -- the first words out of your mouth -- is that you hate the beard.

Way to go, Shayera. Sound like a total jerk.

Stay sharp.

Now you don't get a chance to tell how much you missed him.

What was that?? What was that? A noise. I heard a noise. It's hard in this sewer to be sure where it's coming from. Stay sharp. Another noise.

She came across an intersection of the sewer and saw the monster she once called friend slumped against the wall. There he is. Oh, Grundy, I'm so sorry. He tried to get up but the blow from her mace that sent him crashing down into the hellish sewer had hurt him too much. Stay down. Please stay down. Don't make me fight you down here. Don't make me kill you out of anger. Please. Please let me help you out of love. She approached cautiously, knowing the end of the journey was near for both of them.

Oh, he looks so tired, so lost. Just like me.

Speaking in her softest voice, as a mother would to a hurt child; the child of Thanagar spoke to the shell of the man who'd once saved her life, "Shhhh. It's okay. I know what you want. What you need.

"Close your eyes." Goodbye my friend. Gentle journey and forgive me.

END