A Justice League fic
A/N: Warhawk/Merina. Spoilers for Once and Future Thing. Rex never meant to break Merina's heart.
Disclaimers: How I wish I owned them.
Relationships in Rex's family were always doomed.
As most of his childhood was spent in the Metropolis Tower, he was able to watch almost every holo-file that was in the library. His mother's friend, Uncle J'onn, had painstakingly set up the enormous databank, carefully encrypting the system so no one could access some of the more…undistinguished files.
But Rex wasn't just any kid.
It took him nearly six months to crack the code J'onn had installed, but his efforts paid off during one afternoon, when the library was completely empty. No one came down here except J'onn, who updated the holo-files once a month. The others were too busy playing hero to care about the League's history.
Rex thought the library was some kind of treasure trove.
Here he could sit for hours uninterrupted, seeing visual stories about the adventures of the famous Justice League. In perfect clarity, he could see first-hand the villains that his parents and their friends fought, fights that took place decades ago. Battles where his parents were in love, and his mother called herself Hawkgirl.
But one consequence of watching these videos was seeing the deterioration of his parent's relationship. Pretty soon, they resembled the parents Rex had grown up knowing. He could remember the screaming matches that took place over his head, angry words exchanged between the two of them until they were both hoarse. Every day their eyes became more tired, wearier, pain written across every inch of their face.
Rex knew exactly how they felt.
It was the same sad fairytale about falling in love, in his case. It happened between his parents decades ago, when they gave up nearly everything to be together. Rex wasn't sure if everything turned out all right in the end, but at least they had each other. He, on the other hand, had no one.
It started as a harmless flirtation. That's how they all started out, as his father said. There was chemistry, which evolved into passion and physical longing.
He never intended for it to get that far with Merina.
The remaining members of the Justice League Unlimited were close, a bunch of teenagers with powers in a strange, technologically-driven world. They were all basically scared kids, fighting villains who became more powerful each day. So when Rex formed a bond with her, it seemed natural.
At first he played it off as being chivalrous, protecting the only female member of their team. Merina could easily hold her own, but Rex felt that it was his duty to keep an eye on her.
That defensive eye eventually changed into a romantic one. Pretty soon they were sneaking out, going to clubs and dancing until dawn. Rex took her out to a fancy restaurant one time, but forgot that Merina was the strictest vegetarian in the world. That was a mistake. But he became more skilled in the art of dating an Atlantian princess, and learned that a quiet dinner on the beach was the best kind of outing with her.
He grew to know her inside and out, committing her fears and dreams to heart. He felt as if he could read Merina better than her parents could.
That was one of the things they had in common. Both their parents seemed tyrannically strict, and so their children became semi-rebels. They were kindred spirits, vowing to raise future offspring fairly.
Rex blushed the color of red wine when Merina mentioned having kids. Being a hormone-driven teenager made him think that she wanted children with him. After childishly admitting to that, Merina went peculiarly quiet.
That night was when she told him about Perseus, the Atlantian nobleman that she had been promised to. According to Merina, Perseus's father was part of Aquaman's council, and one of his most trusted advisors. She was only a baby when the match had been arranged, as most marriages like that were. Merina had only seen Perseus twice, both at formal events where they barely spoke. He was tall and muscular, with blonde hair that cascaded down his back. He was the essence of every Atlantian girl's fantasy, and Merina was considered the luckiest girl in the kingdom.
Rex, being exactly like his father, scowled at the description of Perseus. When he said that Perseus just sounded like a pretty boy, Merina shouted that he didn't know anything. What she really meant was that she didn't understand the match either.
He knew that he was no competition for this Perseus. Rex was tall, but lanky and lacking a six-pack. He didn't having flowing hair; his black locks fell messily around his face. Rex was moody and quick to anger, just like his mother. He was no nobleman, just the son of a Green Lantern and the fallen Hawkgirl.
Courtships, arranged marriages, this were things were adults, Rex reasoned. He and Merina were harmlessly dating, and didn't need to worry about such things for a long time.
But then Aquaman called Merina back home, and withdrew her from the Justice League Unlimited. A month later, Rex received word second-hand that Merina and Perseus had been married in a traditional Atlantian ceremony. No members of the League had been invited, as to stir up troubled memories of Merina's past.
Was that what she thought of their relationship? Just a fling before she was married?
Years would go by slowly, each day tearing away at Rex's heart. He never found anyone like Merina again, and bitterly remained a bachelor. He only saw Merina at state occasions, where the League and the nations of the world would hammer out issues. Merina, the Crown Princess of Atlantis, was always in attendance.
Rex met Perseus at the 2089 World Summit, and loathed every inch of his statuesque body. He curtly greeted Merina, quickly running away so she wouldn't see him cry. Heroes never cried, as he had been taught.
He never meant to break Merina's heart, and he was sure her intentions were nothing except sincere.
Yet when he saw her, in the arms of a handsome Atlantian man, he couldn't help but curse himself. He'd go on avoiding his love for the rest of his life, trying to forget the times of when he was the happiest.
But when fate brought them in each other's presence, Rex continued to remain cold and stoic, a soldier, just like his father. And when she turned away from him, Rex could hear her heart breaking all over again.
And Rex would always be there, picking up the pieces.
Word count: 1,125