Title: Bulletproof Love

Title: Bulletproof Love
Fandom: Batman Beyond
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Rex and Marina go to their usual coffee shop on a special day. Rated higher than usual for Rex's swearing.
Spoilers: Rex and Marina appear in the third season two-parter "The Call". This contains minor spoilers for that episode.

Bulletproof Love

She rides a freaking shark. Sure she's got dolphins and a whale on hand, but when Marina is in the water, she's straddling a Great White and I can respect that.

I'm not a romantic man. I take after my mother more than my dad in that respect. Now there was a takes no shit lady. Dad kicks ass too don't get me wrong. He is a well honored member of the Green Lantern Corps, but when it comes to how I approach a lady, I'm definitely my mother's son.

Which is why sitting in a corner booth at a posh coffee shop was not my idea of fun. It wasn't completely romantic either. This, this cup of black coffee sitting in front of me was a compromise.

Marina had a coffee that had a longer name than our member roster sitting in front of her, light on the coffee, rich on cream. I like watching her hands as she fiddles with her cup, stirring in extras. Though I never understood that about her, I mean, we're sitting at a café where they make the coffee to your exact specifications and she still ends up fiddling with the cream.

They certainly love us here; just not too openly.

Speaking of openly or rather not too openly, that pretty much sums up our relationship. I have problems letting myself touch her too much when we're in public and not at all when we're with the team. Not even casual touches.

I like touching Marina when the world isn't in danger, when I'm not on duty, when I can take off my helmet and untie my armor and not be Warhawk.

Rex Stewart the man would love her to the ends of the earth, Warhawk the Justice League member has trouble helping her to the sickbay when she's injured, or helping her up when she's fallen during combat training.

Marina doesn't seem to have this dichotomy, this splitting off of Aquagirl and Marina, Princess of Atlantis. Her only true concession to my need for space is to not kiss me or hug me or hold my hand while we're on duty. She still manages to find every opportunity to touch me casually that she can.

But then she's a touchy kind of woman, it comes with her low grade telepathy. It should only work like her old man's with fish, but Marina seems able to read anyone's mind, even an old Hawk like me. This makes me kind of uncomfortable.

I love her, but I don't necessarily want her in my mind, seeing just how much I do.

"You going to keep stirring or you planning on drinking that cup?" I ask.

Marina smiles and pours more cream into the cup. I swear if that woman wasn't a fish, I'd think she was a cat. She moves like a cat too and sometimes like a bird as well. I like to carry her when the JLU needs to be airborne and sometimes I'll launch her at an enemy or the water and she'll just be…perfect; all graceful lines and arching back and confidence, her face beautiful in free fall.

"We'll need to recruit more people soon," I try again.

"Mm yes, we will, I'm planning on having another recruitment drive soon" Marina says, watching me as she raises her cup.

"I'm hoping for more muscle, though that new Batman wasn't so bad for a rookie," I say.

Marina arches one eyebrow as she sips making a half noise that isn't a grunt since she doesn't, but isn't an agreement either.

"I like the idea of more diversity."

"I'm not saying muscle is the only thing we need, but it helps for holding the line," I continue doggedly.

"I understand Rex and we do need more people…".

The lady wasn't giving me an inch. I glanced out of the corner of my eye at the street and noticed the shop across from us seemed more reddish than usual.

"There's some type of holiday coming up soon, we should think about doing something," I say, trying to change the subject.

She places her cup back down, seemingly in slow motion, folds her hands on top of the table, smiles at me encouragingly. I know what she wants; she wants me to stop talking about stuff we debated back at the watch tower. I'm trying to do that. Come on Marina, work with me here, I changed the subject. I hate it when she puts me on the spot like this.

And then it hit me.

"It's Valentine's Day soon, isn't it?"

And that's when I noticed the little touches in the café.

I felt like a kid squirming in his seat trying to come up with a good lie to the teacher for why they didn't do their homework. I wanted to go check the calendar on my comm unit but thought that might be too conspicuous.

"Is it today? It's not today right?"

Marina's face was like a stone, but I saw the corner of her mouth twitching like she was struggling not to laugh and I relaxed slightly, if she's trying not to smile it means I didn't miss one of those "women's holiday's" that my dad warned me to never, ever miss.

Though come to think of it, Dad always seemed really pleased when Mom brought him chocolates.

"It was yesterday," she answered, putting me out of my misery and pulling me into a deeper one. At that point I did check my comm unit and then glared at the stupid touches in the café.

Yesterday we'd been fighting in the Antarctic against some kind of outer space critter. How was I supposed to know it was a holiday? It's not like penguins were giving each other heart shaped boxes! Eleven months out of the year it doesn't even matter what day the fourteenth is.

I'm screwed.

"It's not like it's that important or anything," I said, and could have sworn I felt dirt sprinkling on me.

Marina didn't say one damn word.

We sit like that staring at each other while our coffee cools, not saying anything. I won't back down and she thinks she's helping the relationship by not acquiescing. She's a classy lady, but she's no doll. She's not going to just roll over for me.

I really wish someone would attack the café or something.

Of course no one does and eventually a café attendant finally decides to take pity on me and comes over offering a refill. This is the other reason we come here. Coffee in a porcelain cup, not some paper disposable thing so that I can be saved when things get awkward.

I don't know when I started to feel like I needed to be saved from Marina, or more from myself.

We didn't start out this way. I remember the night we got together we were caught in a firefight with some revolutionaries. I'd gone full steel, shielding Marina from the bullets while she worked on calling up water from the pipes to hose them down. It was dark and we were thousands of miles from home afterwards, flying back, her in my arms and I still remember the way her hair shimmered in the moonlight and how soft her skin was in my arms.

Not scaly like I'd expected. It was the first time I'd held her, usually she just swam home, but that night she'd asked for a ride. Mom and my soldier training sat on one shoulder telling me in no-nonsense terms that it'd be faster and more economical for us to split up and get our own way home. The way mom talks when she thinks dad's not there or when she's teasing him and dad sat on the other shoulder and said that this was the perfect opportunity to get closer to the woman I'd had my eye on all this time.

Yeah, dichotomy runs deep in my family. I was flying back, thinking and thinking and over thinking and just about when I'd crossed that line to fuck it I'm going for it she stretched up in my arms to face me and put one hand on my cheek and she'd said, "Rex, I'm going to kiss you."

I remember thinking how lucky I was that she wanted someone like me and as we fly back to the watch tower, our coffee's long since swept off our booth and being washed in the backroom I looked down at Marina in my arms and I said, "Hey Marina, you know what, I'm just a hawk that's never even left this galaxy, hell I don't like leaving Brooklyn, but I love you. I don't think I tell you often enough, so I wanted to."

And she smiled at me and put one hand on my cheek and she said, "Rex, I'm going to kiss you," with the same voice she used that day and I knew we were going to last at least one more night.