The Chat: Written for the HG/GL Ficathon for CRHBLACK
His mind is awash with questions. He is still trying to take in what has happened in the last 24 hours. The woman he loved and lost has inexplicably returned. He would like to think she has returned to him, but he knows that would be too simple. That would be too tidy. And tidy was not how they left their relationship over six months ago.
"I love you, John. I never lied about that", was the last thing she had told him.
Why didn't he tell her he loved her too? Why didn't he stop her from leaving? Why didn't he tell her they could work it out? He let her fly away, figuratively and literally, not knowing if he would ever see her again. Now she was back, but his head, if not his heart belonged to another.
They agreed to meet at a neutral location and someplace out of the reach of prying eyes and ears; someplace where no one would notice a black man with glowing green eyes and a red-headed woman with wings. She suggested a spot in the Rocky Mountains; a place that she had been looking at as a future home, and since he offered no alternative, it became the meeting place. It would be here where their reconnection would take place. They both knew it would not be a pleasant conversation and both secretly wondered if things would ever be pleasant between them again.
"You're late" she said as he landed in the clearing.
"Sorry" he said walking towards her.
He was within a few feet of her and then stopped. He wanted to smile. She wanted to laugh. Every fiber in their respective being was telling them to run to each other. He wanted to grab her and kiss her soft lips. She wanted to hug him and lose herself in his strong arms. Instead, they both stood there and stared at each other. The silence was deafening. He was the first to break it.
"You okay?" he said, a small frown of concern appearing on his face.
"Yeah, considering" she said, slowly looking up at the full moon overhead.
"I'm sorry. I know it had to be tough putting Grundy down like that" he said sympathetically.
"That wasn't Grundy" she said, slightly annoyed.
"I know. I know, but all the same, it couldn't have been easy".
"You're right. It wasn't easy" she said softly and looking down at the ground. "This isn't easy either, John".
"Tell me about it" he said putting his right behind his head. Again, they stood there in silence. He nervously kicked at the ground and she adjusted her mace strap. "Okay. This is killing me, we can't just stand here".
"I know. This is weird" she said, allowing a small smile to come across her face. "Hey, I spotted a lake nearby when I flew over. You game?"
"Yeah, I love being around water. It's relaxing. You wanna walk or you wanna fly?" he asked.
"Let's walk" she answered.
"Okay, lead the way".
They began to walk in the direction of the lake, but the only sounds emanating in the forest were those being made by the underbrush from their footsteps. It would be her turn to break the silence.
"John? I'm sorry I didn't tell you where I was".
He took a few more steps in silence before responding.
"I'm sorry too, Shayera" he said, deeply exhaling.
"I just needed to get away. I needed to find out who I was and what I wanted to do next".
He slowly stopped walking.
"We could have done that together, Shayera" he said.
She stopped walking and turned to look at him.
"I loved you Shayera" he said, staring at her. "We could have worked it out or at least tried to" he said, with a little anger in his voice.
"It isn't that simple" she replied.
"I've heard that before" he said, crossing his arms.
"This isn't the Watchtower infirmary" she said, annoyed at his reference to the first time she expressed her true feelings for him. But oh how I wish it were, John.
"Speaking of the Watchtower, why didn't you tell me then, Shayera? Why didn't you tell me the truth?"
"I couldn't! I was on a mission. Remember?" she said, angrily.
"I'm not talking about your damn mission! You should have told me about Hro!" he responded, angrily. "You should have told me that you were already…already…" he said, angrily albeit more calmly. He was calm in spite of the visions he had of Shayera getting undressed in front of Hro.
"I'm sorry, John, but my cover story wouldn't have worked if any of you knew about Hro. How would I explain my fiancé not coming to look for me? I was here for five years. Remember?"
"I fell in love with you during those five years. Remember?" he said.
She inhaled and deeply exhaled. "What can I say, John? What can I say to make it right between us?"
"Not my problem" he said, coldly.
"So it's like that then, huh?" she said, frowning. "Then why are we here? We both agreed to this".
"I'm here to make sure there aren't anymore secrets the League needs to know about".
"So this is about trust? Are you sure you're here for the League or are you here for you? You don't trust me, John? Is that it?"
He began to walk again, but said nothing.
"Hey genius!" she called out. "The lake is this way!" she said brushing past him.
"Ya know, only you could be this arrogant" he said raising his hands over his head.
"Arrogant! Arrogant!" she yelled, stomping through the forest.
"Yeah! Arrogant!" he yelled back. "Only you would expect me to not be angry, to not be hurt!" he said, following her.
"What are you talking about! Since the whole ugly mess ended I've been aching over my decision…"
"I'm not talking about your mission, Shayera!" he said walking closer to her. "I'm talking about you not telling me where you were all this time!" he said, reaching out and grabbing her arm.
She attempted to pull away, but he held her tight. He knew, however, that if she wanted to free herself, she could easily do it. He only grabbed her to make her stop.
He lowered his voice before continuing. "I looked everywhere for you, Shayera. Everywhere" he said casting his eyes downward.
"John…" she started.
"Why didn't you tell me? I didn't know whether you were alive or dead. I woke up countless nights worrying that you had been captured, worrying that you had been tortured, worrying that you had been killed" he said, looking solemnly into her eyes. "I wanted so badly to be awakened by you knocking on the outside of my window…to look out and see you hovering there. I wanted you to fly through that window into my arms".
"You don't think I wanted to let you know where I was? You don't think I wanted you to hold me? Love me?" she said, looking into his eyes. "John, you don't know how many times I flew within a few blocks of your apartment only to turn back at the last minute".
He looked surprised at her admission. "I didn't know. I…I wish you had stopped by, Shayera. Just once…just once to let me know you were okay".
She looked down and then started to walk toward the lake.
"I did come by, John. Just once, but you…you had company".
"I'm…I'm sorry Shayera" he said softly, following after her.
"Don't be. It's my own fault. Like so many things these past months, I've brought them on myself".
"You're too hard on yourself, Shayera. It isn't healthy".
"That's what Doctor Fate says".
"He's right you know" he said, walking next to her.
They walked a little further in silence before coming to an opening in the forest.
"Wow. This is beautiful" he remarked upon seeing the lake.
"It is isn't it?" she said smiling.
The moon's reflection shimmered in the night as a small breeze blew across the water.
They stood in silence looking out over the horizon.
"So where do we go from here, Shayera?" he said, breaking the silence.
"I don't know. One day at a time I guess" she said looking at him.
"Fair enough, but its going to be awkward seeing you on a normal basis".
"Seeing me?" she said, raising an eyebrow.
"I meant at the Watchtower" he quickly responded.
"Well, it's getting late and I'm sure your lady friend doesn't know we are having this little chat right now. Does she?"
He remained silent.
"John, before I go, there is something you need to know" she said, spreading her wings. "I wasn't speaking in the past tense that day at Wayne Manor" she said, slowly rising above the Earth. "I love you and I'm willing to wait for you to love me again".
Before he could respond she was gone. He could have pursued her, but chose not to. Instead, he looked up and followed her winged silhouette across the moonlit sky.
"I already do, Shayera. I already do".
He deeply exhaled and then looked around.
"This is going to be a nice future home for someone".