Theories Of Strings

John may have been determined not to be destiny's puppet, but Shayera…Shayera didn't have much else left but hope for the future.

When Carter called the next morning, she impatiently listened to his excuses about checking on Vixen, and then quickly agreed to his fumbling request for lunch. Having finally put his 'memories' of 'their' past life behind him, Carter was actually a very sweet, somewhat shy man, with just as many interesting stories to tell of his travels across the world, as Shayera had to tell of hers across the galaxy.

After three weeks of tiptoeing around each other, Shayera finally grabbed him and shut up his babbling with a kiss. It was too hard, and her lips were bruised, but it felt…nice.

Nicest thing she'd felt in a long time.

Four months later they slept together for the first time. Carter's almost childish glee at getting to touch her wings was very interesting foreplay. His total immersion in his partner was also very much appreciated.

Thoughts of John had plagued her for over a year, but when she was with Carter they grew more sporadic; that night she only thought of John twice, and only in passing. Carter had become important to her, filling the void inside left by her exile from her people…and by John.

Five months later Shayera dragged Carter along with her to the League picnic. It wasn't Booster Gold's worst idea, but she was sure the only reason it was planned so well was Blue Beetle's detail-oriented approach to…well, everything.

The two of them getting into a lover's spat over whether or not Booster had been eyeing Fire totally eclipsed anyone gossiping about her date. Anyone except John and Mari.

She wasn't ashamed of Carter, or her relationship with him, but she didn't have high hopes for her ability to make a romantic relationship work, and the League had already been witness to enough of her screw-ups. The gossip was the price she'd willingly pay for those sins. She wanted to make a better future for herself with Carter, and ten months together was enough of a foundation to start.

Shayera was too busy having an oral orgasm over the cherry chocolate cheesecake Carter had made and brought for dessert to notice the whispered conversations regarding them, however. She would have gotten into a fight with Ice over the last piece if Carter hadn't told her he'd made extra for later.

He was always so thoughtful. Shayera thought she might love him just for that, and when he said those words later that night, she returned them for the first time.

Six weeks after that Carter asked her to marry him. She pointed out that she wasn't even an Earth citizen and the ceremony wouldn't be legal. Carter said it didn't matter to him.

Shayera decided it didn't matter to her, either. She said yes.

Seven days later they got married. J'onn performed a Martian ceremony in the Metro Tower, the original members all in attendance. Wally stood up for her and Carter both. Shayera sent an invitation to Vixen, because she felt like she should, even though she knew the other woman wouldn't show.

John had broken up with her after the picnic.

Life wasn't blissful, even disregarding supervillain attacks, but being Mrs. Carter Hall was…nice. It was good that Carter had outside work and while on the same League schedule, they didn't work together most of the time, because they had lots of 'newly married and living together for the first time' problems to work out.

But they did work them out. Shayera was determined to quit running – or flying, as the case might be – away from her problems.

Eight years passed before Shayera finally fell pregnant. She'd started to wonder whether she would or not; cross-species breeding was always a chancy thing, even with help. And the strings tying her to the future John had seen had long been cut.

When Carter asked her about names, she wondered whether it would be giving into fate to name the baby Rex.

When the egg hatched, she was surprised to find that the baby was a girl.

Carter suggested they name her Cheyenne, in honor of her mother.

Nine hours after her birth, the baby had a name. Ten months after that, she had a baby brother on the way.

Shayera wasn't sure it was a boy, but unless by going to the future the past had been altered, she was going to have a son. How John had thought the child his was anyone's guess, but that possibility had long been gone. Maybe they had something once, but her life with Carter, while not idyllic, was warm and happy and safe.

Eleven days before Shayera's due date, the Secret Society attacked the Metro Tower, shattering that safety. Carter managed to take Cheyenne up to the Watchtower before the transport was knocked offline.

Shayera went into labor in the middle of trying to help Steel get the transporter online so they could evacuate. Metamorpho ended up having to help her lay her egg, and then he had to pull off a stubborn piece of shell since her arm had been broken shielding her stomach when a beam fell from the ceiling.

It was a boy, and Shayera knew now how the baby came to be named Rex.

The Hall family quickly settled into life with their two children. They were warm and happy and safe once more.

For twelve months. Then the children were orphaned, both their parents perishing in Darkseid's second futile invasion of Earth, as they held back his parademons from taking over Long Island.

Carter had no living relatives. Whether Shayera did was moot or not.

And whether it was destiny, fate, or another cosmic puppet master, there was only one person they had both agreed on to raise their children if they could not.

John Stewart became a father thirteen years to the day after he'd gone back to Mari, determined that he wouldn't.