Mamma Mia

This is just a short little ficlet based on an idea that came to me while listening to my old CDs. Enjoy!

………………………………...

"Can I get you anything?"

John hated the sound of his own voice when it was in caring mode, but these days he just couldn't help using it. His wife shook her head sullenly. He sighed.

"Sure you don't want something to drink?"

Shayera shook her head again.

"If I swallow anything I'll just puke," she moaned miserably.

John sighed again. Pregnancy just didn't suit her very well. Aside from the usual complications with the massive stomach, mood swings, chubby ankles and morning sickness there were a few problems that were uniquely Thanagarian thrown into the mix. Namely chubby wings (?), cold sweats, shoulder spasms and depression. The first few months weren't too bad, but the last few had been utter hell. Shayera barely left the house anymore, claiming she was simply too fat to venture out into the real world.

Of course, she wasn't fat. Not really. But he had to admit that she looked peculiar. Not like Diana (aka 'that skinny bitch') who had worn her pregnancy like a badge of honour. Probably because she was tall enough to do so, and some women just looked good pregnant. Shayera's relatively short height as well as the size of the baby meant she just looked…weird. Kind of like a twelve year old girl who had shoved one of those Pilates inflatable exercise balls down her dress. She started off skinny, then ballooned around the waist, then went back to skinny again.

It didn't help that the baby was three weeks overdue.

So this was their life now, John thought. Shayera slouched miserably on the couch while he buzzed around trying to cheer her up. She reminded him of a beached whale sometimes. Well, maybe not a whale. A shark or a dolphin, or an oversized beached tuna fish. He buzzed back over to her, just to see if she'd decided she needed something in the five seconds since he'd last asked her.

"Look, is their anything I can do for you?"

She glared at him. "You could promise never to get me pregnant ever again. I'd feel real happy then."

He sighed again. "I already promised seventeen times. How many more times do you want me to say it?"

"Why's it taking so freakin' long?" she wailed, tapping the bump none too lightly.

"It'll be over soon," John soothed in that comforting tone that just sounded wrong with his rich baritone. "How about you do those exercises the doctor showed you?"

"I did them all morning," she groaned. "I'm still pregnant and my wings hurt."

"I could run you a hot bath…"

"I had a bath two hours ago. I had trouble getting out of the tub."

"Okay…do you want to have sex?"

"No. I'm sick of sex. It's tiring and I'm still pregnant."

"Okay…how about…."

She put up a hand to silence him. "John, I really appreciate what you're trying to do, but all I want is to sit here and wallow in my misery until the baby's born. Okay?"

He nodded and moved away, but felt bad about him. What kind of man couldn't even cheer up his own pregnant wife? Then something occurred to him.

"Do you want me to put on the Abba record?" he asked, half hoping she'd say no.

She was quiet for a moment, thinking. And then,

"I don't think even Fernando could make me feel better right now."

He turned around to go to the bedroom when she spoke up again.

"I didn't say no," she called after him. He smiled.

………………………………...

The story of Shayera's fondness for the kitschy Swedish disco band is an unusual one. And it just happens to be tied to one of the mighty Green Lantern's deepest, darkest secrets.

About a year after the two superheroes were married, John came home late after a long day of beating the living daylights out of intergalactic criminals. Shayera, having been left on her own all day, had apparently done some spring cleaning and was in the process of preparing dinner. John sat at the table drinking a glass of milk and watching his wife whistle as she chopped vegetables.

John seemed to find the tune she was whistling familiar. When he realised what it was, he swallowed hard and asked gingerly.

"What are you whistling?" he asked, trying to keep his tone light and panic-free.

"Some song," she answered casually, shrugging her shoulders.

He gulped down another mouthful of milk. "Where did you hear it?"

"I found it in your record collection."

John mentally cursed. "Really? Didn't think you would like earth music…"

"I don't like that rap stuff you listen to. I mean, it's just talking, right? The stuff you have upstairs isn't bad."

John felt a dark metaphor of a cloud swoop low and hover right over his head.

"I didn't like 'Voulez Vous' much, but 'Dancing Queen' was really catchy…" she continued, oblivious to her horror-stricken husband. John broached a very serious question with her, now struggling to keep his tone calm and jovial.

"Shayera, did you tell anyone about my records?"

He nearly had a heart attack when she nodded.

"Wally dropped by while I was listening to them. For some reason he thought it was funny."

Amazingly, having his best friend and worst enemy Wally West know about his embarrassing secret wasn't as terrible as he'd thought. Wally confessed that he'd had an intense love affair with the catchy rhythms of the Europop quartet for many years. Unfortunately, it gave Wally another excuse to hang out with John's wife.

After that, it wasn't unusual for John to come home and find his wife and best friend huddled around the record player singing along to 'Waterloo.' It was almost as bad as coming home to find them in bed together. Shayera wanted to know everything about the band, whom she regarded as the ultimate in earth insanity. She listened with rapt attention as Wally filled her in on the marriages, divorces, lives and loves of Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn.

"How long did she date him for?" John remembered her incredulous tone when Wally was telling her about how Agnetha once dated her stalker. He felt a stab of jealousy at the way the Flash could command her full concentration.

He sighed, deeply. This was going to follow him for years to come.

………………………………...

John placed the needle on the record and waited for the song to come on. In no time at all, the soft strains of the flutes filtered through the room. He shot a glance back at his beached wife. She still looked miserable, and that made him miserable. He could do many thing to her; he could make her cry out in ecstasy, scream at him angrily, make snide comments in irritation, he could make her stop snoring just by pressing down on her chest, but he could not make her laugh. Wally could make her laugh, but Wally made everyone laugh, both at him and with him.

Can you hear the drums Fernando?
I remember long ago another starry night like this
In the firelight Fernando
You were humming to yourself and softly strumming your guitar
I could hear the distant drums
And sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar

He dug around in the freezer looking for a pizza or something to dump in the oven for sustenance. Another side effect of the pregnancy was that even cooking food made Shayera sick. He came across an almost-empty tub of chocolate ice-cream… and an idea struck him.

They were closer now Fernando
Every hour every minute seemed to last eternally
I was so afraid Fernando
We were young and full of life and none of us prepared to die
And I'm not ashamed to say
The roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry

He almost abandoned his plan. It would mean a loss of dignity for him and a loss of respect from his wife. On the other hand, he hated to see her unhappy. She wouldn't expect him to do something so wildly out of character, would she? He'd be in her good books for years… that was all the prompting he needed. He dumped his fingers in the ice cream and then swiped them across his upper lip.

Shayera thought she was hallucinating when John appeared with his ice cream moustache and a deadly serious expression on his face. She was even more confused when he began to dance.

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando

He wasn't a bad dancer, but the sight of the brave superhero doing the hustle to an Abba song was so surreal it was scary.

"John, what are you doing?" she asked, a little gingerly.

As the energetic chorus faded and was replaced by the contemplative verse, he kneeled before her, took her hand and mouthed the words. He emoted the sentences with clenched fists and exaggerated facial expressions.

Now we're old and grey Fernando
And since many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hand
Can you hear the drums Fernando?
Do you still recall the frightful night we crossed the Rio Grande?
I can see it in your eyes
How proud you were to fight for freedom in this land

And then he was dancing again. You see, John's guilty little secret wasn't that he had bought the Abba record in a moment of weakness. It was that he'd learned to disco dance specifically to dance along to it. His face was so serious and his moves were so polished that Shayera couldn't help herself. She started to giggle.

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando

The giggling dissolved into an all-out laughing fit as the Green Lantern sashayed around the room busting his moves. Even he was having a hard time keeping a straight face, but for the sake of his act he managed it. It was good to hear her laugh again. He even felt a little vindictive pleasure at the thought of Wally finding out he wasn't the only one who could make Hawkgirl laugh.

Just as her laughing fit was coming to an end, Shayera felt a sudden jolt and then a feeling of wetness. She wondered briefly if the laughter had caused her to wet herself, but a sharp cramp revealed that she was actually in labour.

"Oh crap," she whispered, "John, I'm…"

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando
Yes, if I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando...

The sight of her stoic husband dancing like John Travolta sent her off into spasms of laughter again. Now her laughter was tinged with panic, but she just couldn't stop. Every time she tried to speak, she'd collapse into giggles again. John, meanwhile, was enjoying himself immensely.

"John," she managed to gasp at last, "I'm in labour!"

He stopped his dancing abruptly and gaped. "What?" he screeched in a high pitched tone reminiscent of a pre-teen girl. The sound of his voice going from baritone to falsetto just made Shayera laugh all over again.

John leaped forward and pulled her to her feet, then scooped her up into his arms. He grunted; she was heavier than he'd thought, but that was mostly the baby. He ran out the door, then ran back in after forgetting the keys. He ran out, threw her in the back of the car, ran back into the house to get her overnight bag, then climbed into the car and fired it up. Shayera was still laughing in the back.

As the car skidded out onto the street, it narrowly missed Wally West, who had decided to drop by unannounced.

"Hey, watch it!" he yelled. "What the hell…"

"She's in labour!" John screamed.

In a flash, Wally was sitting beside him in the front seat, conversing casually with Shayera.

"How's the sprog coming along, Shay?" he asked flippantly with that rakish grin that had John convinced he was trying to score another man's wife. Shayera didn't even look at him. Her eyes were unfocused and her skin was deathly white. She had stopped laughing.

"oh my God…" she whispered.

"Shayera? Baby? You okay back there?" John asked. He nearly crashed the car when she screamed.

"What? What's wrong?" he screamed back.

"The baby!"

"What's wrong with the baby?"

"It's freakin' huge! Oh my God…"

He sighed, heavily. Soon be over, soon be over, he kept telling himself. A rattling from the back caught his attention. He turned around. Shayera was frantically trying to open the door, and Wally was trying to stop her.

"Shay, what're you doing?" he yelled back.

"I'm not having it! I don't care, my wings can stay chubby! I can't have it, it's too big!" she wailed.

"Wally, do something!" John shouted. If the cocky little so-and-so had to be there, he could at least make himself useful.

Wally pushed a button on the dashboard, and suddenly the car was filled by the jaunty strains of guitar and piano beats.

"Shay, listen to the song! Everything's gonna be fine!" he told her. And then he began to sing along with the girls.

My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself

"Come on, sing with me!" he encouraged her. He held her hand, and they sang the chorus.

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo

"OW!" she screeched, and Wally screeched too as she crushed his hand in her mighty kung-fu grip.

"Take it easy, baby," John soothed, and he began to sing the song too.

My, my, I tried to hold you back but you were stronger
Oh yeah, and now it seems my only hope is giving up the fight
And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo

They all sang along, even the funny 'din-ga, din-ga, din-ga' sound of the piano during the chorus. It seemed to work; Shayera stopped screaming and concentrated on the song that won the Eurovision for Sweden in the seventies.

So how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose -

Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo

They pulled into the hospital shortly after the end of the song, about thirty seconds into 'Mamma Mia.' Shayera gave birth to a healthy (albeit large) baby boy with no complications. Nobody had the guts to point out that John still had ice cream on his upper lip until they went home the next day.

And no, they didn't call the baby Fernando.