Courtney's Complaint by BillA1
Copyright May 2008
Disclaimer: The characters Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Superman & Flash and their respective secret identities are all owned by DC Comics. Static is owned by Milestone. This story is intended for my own pleasure and is not for profit. It has been posted to this site for others to read. Places and characters not own by DC Comics are my own creation. This story is based on characters from the animated Justice League series episode: "Destroyer" written Dwayne McDuffie and is set after "Destroyer" and before the Batman Beyond time period. This story is a sequel to the fanfiction story: The Beads on the String. Part of the R 'Verse; while familiarity with that series is recommended, it is not required to enjoy this story. "The R 'Verse" is copyright 2006. My sincerest thanks to xffan2000 for the read through; however, any mistakes she missed are mine.
A/N: As always: if the characters seem out of character, then they probably are. For Hawkgirl92/93's and Merlin Missy's birthday.
Synopsis: Courtney has a feeling that the new Leaguers won't work out. Virgil hopes she's wrong.
(A John Stewart / Shayera Hol R 'Verse story. )
(33 years after Toyman kills Metamorpho)
"Three to transport to the Metrotower," George Sider heard Starwoman say in his headset.
"Roger," George answered as he programmed the transporter to bring back the three heroes who'd gone to the country of San Baquero to stop a villain named Mercury. This Mercury guy was supposed to be some sort of master criminal who used swords as his weapon of choice. He and his gang were wreaking havoc on the small island nation, still recovering from the aftermath of a massive volcano eruption more than thirty years ago. George, however, really wasn't concerned with these details. He knew that the folks he worked for would take care of business because that's what the Justice League always did. They took care of business!
George had been the Justice League transporter chief for twenty years. In that time, he'd seen the Leaguers come and go – mainly go. Some had retired and sadly some had died on duty. But somehow the League had always found a way to keep its ranks up. Take for example, Starwoman.
She was still known as Stargirl when George first joined the Metrotower civilian support staff. Later when her partner, S.T.R.I.P.E., died she changed her name to Starwoman. At the time, George thought that Starwoman wouldn't last two weeks after the funeral because she'd clearly been devastated by the death of the man he later heard was her step-dad. But that was over eighteen years ago and he was glad that she'd stayed around.
Starwoman always had a kind word for the support staff and over time she'd become one of his favorite people. Of course he never told her that because it wasn't his place to do so. He grinned to himself as he energized the transporter. Like he was telling his wife the other day, people are always surprised how well a dog can read its owner's emotions. What they don't often realize is that the dog is always watching its master, whereas the master rarely looks at the dog. George had no problem recognizing that Starwoman was less than pleased when she left on this mission several hours ago with the League's newest recruits: a female Thanagarian named Warhawk and the new Green Lantern. George would later confess to his wife that it was always nerve-racking whenever the Thanagarian was on duty. She always seemed angry about everything and the black and silver costume she wore gave him the creeps.
When the three Leaguers materialized on the transporter pad, George noted the look on the three masked faces signaling, he thought, that the mission didn't go as well as planned.
Starwoman stepped off the transporter pad first and stomped off in the direction of the conference room. She didn't even look back at Warhawk and Green Lantern as she muttered, "I don't know what made Superman think you two were League material because you're not."
George pretended to busy himself resetting the transporter, but he watched as Warhawk clipped her mace to her belt and frowned. "Well, that went rather well, don't you think?" she said to the Green Lantern.
The Green Lantern gave her a stare that told George that he didn't agree with her assessment. "Yeah it went great," Lantern finally deadpanned. "Come on. We may as well head back to our quarters and wait for the report. This is gonna get ugly." He turned and headed toward the living area of the tower.
Warhawk stood on the pad for a moment and said so softly that George barely heard it, "Ugly? Why in the world should it be ugly? We won, didn't we?" She glanced at George, then stepped off the pad and followed the Green Lantern down the corridor, catching up to him within a couple of strides.
"If I was a betting man," George said aloud, more to himself than to any of the technicians nearby, "I'd wager those two don't have much of a future left here."
They walked past Shayera's room and stopped in front of John's next door. Despite everything that had happened to John and Shayera in the last three months including getting blasted thirty-three years into the future; Shayera creating the identity of Warhawk to avoid possible Thanagarian retaliation; John being reassigned to a different sector and them becoming lovers again; John felt that this had been their most difficult challenge. They had been assigned a mission together and, in John's opinion, the results had been less than stellar.
Stewart had been merely disappointed in his performance, but he could tell Shayera was just plain angry. She growled like a hungry lioness and loudly clopped down the hallway with exaggerated footsteps. Over the years, John had secretly called these mannerisms of hers the Thanagarian Pout. Well, let her pout, he thought, because this time she was wrong. They both were… or had been.
He said nothing as he opened his door, let her in first and then followed. As he locked the door behind him, Shayera took her helmet off and cursed as she flung it across the room.
"Well, go ahead. Tell me how I messed up," she frowned as she folded her arms across her chest.
John shook his head and sat down at his writing desk. He looked up at her. "No, we both screwed the pooch on this one." She gave him a strange quizzical look and it suddenly occurred to John that she might not have understood that idiom, despite her being on the planet for more than decade. "We both messed up," he amended as he willed his mask to disappear. "At least, I'm sure Starwoman must think so."
Shayera walked over and retrieved her helmet, spending a few moments to examine it. "I wish we could tell her who we are, but we can't. The fewer people who know we're back, the better it is." She paused before adding, "Still, it is strange to see her as an adult when she was just a teenager to us three months ago."
"Is it damaged?" he asked, pointing to her mask.
"No," she answered as she sat on the edge of his bed, holding her helmet in her lap. "I guess it's about the only thing that's not." She looked away and sighed loudly. "Courtney seemed angry, but I thought you were hurt."
"Yeah. Same here. I thought you were hurt a couple of times too."
She looked up at him. "What do you think Superman is going to say?"
"That it wasn't all that unexpected because it's happened before. He will say that this was foreseeable."
"Foreseeable?" she snapped as she stood and threw her hands in the air. "Are you crazy? How in the world was this foreseeable?"
John stood. "Because it's what we've done for as long as we've known each other. It's what we always do. We've always looked out for each other."
"Virgil, I'm telling you, you can't depend on them – not when they're together," Courtney said standing in front of Virgil. "Look, I'm sure that they are talented in their own right, or at least they think they are, but those two just aren't League material. They don't work well with others."
Virgil leaned back in his seat and listened. He was now one of the senior members of the League and along with Courtney Whitmore had a permanent seat at the council table. He was also one of a handful of people who knew that Warhawk and this Green Lantern were actually Shayera Hol and John Stewart, founding members of the league. It was a secret he was sure no one had shared with Courtney.
She had cornered Virgil in the hallway and started bending his ear about those new members, Warhawk and Green Lantern. She was starting to get a little loud, he thought, so he hustled her into the conference room, out of earshot of the others and let her vent. About thirty seconds into her tirade, Virgil realized she probably had a point... a very good point.
He occasionally nodded his head acknowledging he was listening, but he didn't say a word while she was speaking. When she finally stopped talking, she waited for him to say something. Instead, he waited additional ten seconds before he spoke, knowing that the silence would be disconcerting. When Courtney's body language signaled her discomfort with the quiet, he gave her a slight head nod and then spoke.
"I can see you're upset, but I don't understand it," he said quietly. "They've both gone out on missions with others. I personally know you went on a mission with the Green Lantern before and I've gone out on a mission with each of them. Yours is the first complaint I've heard about them."
Courtney leaned forward, placing both gloved hands on the conference table and scoffed, "Don't try your Psychology 101 crap on me, Virgil Hawkins. We aren't starry-eyed, smitten kids anymore. Lord knows I know how charming you can be when you want to be. But I'm not letting you work me on this."
She straightened up and suddenly flashed a smile that reminded Virgil of why they started dating in the first place when they were younger and how infatuated he used to be with her. Courtney sat down in her seat at the table, across from him, and leaned back. "Look Virgil, I don't have a personal problem with either one of them. They kinda of remind me of the old Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, before they got killed years ago. Maybe that's why Superman fast tracked their admittance. But I gotta tell you. These two clowns are not those heroes, at least not when they are together on the same mission."
Virgil cleared his throat and frowned. "Green Lantern and Warhawk are not clowns!"
Courtney's frown matched his as she moved her graying blonde hair off her face. "Okay, the term 'clown' may have been a little harsh. But the only reason I was successful on this mission was because the bad guy made a mistake. And Virgil, we both know you can't depend on luck to survive in this business."
Virgil nodded. "I know."
Courtney's frown was pencil line thin. "I knew there was going to be trouble as soon as they reported to the transporter pads. I mean, literally, as soon as we all stepped on the pads those two started bickering like two people who just didn't like each other very much."
Virgil snickered, then caught himself as Courtney gave him a withering stare. "Sorry. Please continue," he said.
"They were arguing about whose turn it was to buy dinner tonight. I'd ask you if they were dating, but people who date don't usually argue over the check. Green Lantern tells her they'll discuss it later and to focus on the mission. She tells him she is focused on the mission, but he's clearly lost his focus if he doesn't remember that it's his turn to buy. After about ten seconds of them going at each other, I tell them both to shut the hell up."
Virgil found it hard to keep a straight face as he asked, "What did they say to that?"
"Green Lantern said nothing. Warhawk mumbled that she'd forgotten I was the senior member."
"Well, that sounds like something positive. The way you were talking earlier, I thought they had been insubordinate."
"I wouldn't use the term insubordinate. It was more like they ignored me altogether once we got on the ground. Our intel was good and we were transported right in the middle of Mercury's hideout. Now don't get me wrong. Warhawk and Green Lantern took care of business once the fight started, but whenever she got hit, he was there to catch her. When he got hit, she was there immediately checking to see if he was okay." Her frown deepened as she added, "Neither one checked on me to see if I was all right."
Virgil momentarily flashed a grin, then leaned forward. "I see. Okay, tell you what. I'll make it my job to ensure that they're not assigned together on the same mission in the future. Will that work for you?"
"I guess that will work," Courtney said grudgingly. "But I'll tell you something. I miss the old days when we didn't take just anybody. In those days, everyone was trying to measure up to the standards of the original seven. Now I guess we're reduced to taking in imitations of the original."
She stood. "I'll write up the report. I think I've had enough 'fun' for one day. I'm going home and get drunk." She took a deep breath, rubbed her forehead and then smiled at Virgil. "You know, of course, that I still hate to drink alone."
"Is that an invitation?"
She gave him a little cat-like smile. "So tell me, how is your bride?"
Virgil laughed. "Now you're the one doing the Psychology 101 bit. Daisy's doing just fine." The laugh faded as he said, "Seriously, thanks for coming to me with this. I hope this can remain between you and me and you'll trust me to take care of it."
Her eyes narrowed. "What's with this sudden altruism?"
Virgil shrugged and scratched his ear. "Nothing to it," he said. "I just think we should give all new members the maximum opportunity to succeed, don't you? You have a legitimate concern and as a permanent member you want to make sure we can function as a team. So do I. I just think we're stronger with the Green Lantern and Warhawk than without them. But if it turns out I'm wrong, I'll second your motion for their dismissal in a heartbeat."
Courtney frowned and after a moment groused, "Great! Just freakin' great! Go ahead and make me the bad guy in this." She turned to leave and muttered, "Again!"
"No one's the bad guy here, Courtney, especially you." Virgil stood. "But let me ask you this: You said this guy, Mercury, made a mistake. What was it?"
She turned back to face him. "He apparently fancied himself a good swordsman and picked up a sword and charged at Warhawk. I was about to yank the sword out of his hand with my staff when Green Lantern stopped me and said, 'Let her have some fun with this guy.' Well, Warhawk took out Mercury in about fifteen seconds and most of that time she was playing with him before she shut him down for good."
"Oh. Didn't GL help her?"
"No, he was taking care of some other baddies and helping me do the …the mop up." Courtney's frown deepened.
"So, let me make sure I got this straight," Virgil said softly. "They were watching out for each other during the fight, but not at the expense of getting the job done."
Courtney looked at Virgil hard before finally answering, "Yeah, I guess you could say that."
"The question is will your report say that?"
"Are you still trying to work me, Hawkins? Because if you are …." She paused and slowly smiled. "You're getting better at it. Yeah, I guess the report can say that." She moved to the door, opened it and said, "Oh, and Virgil, that was an invitation, but you're a married man now. You don't get to accept it." Her smile widened as she closed the door behind her.
He grinned to himself as he watched her leave. They had grown up and grown apart in the League. She'd been there when he and Daisy were going through a rough patch in their relationship. It had been Courtney who'd helped him come to grips with his feelings for his future bride. When they were both younger, it could have been him and Courtney as a couple if her step-dad had not objected so strenuously on the supposed grounds that Leaguers shouldn't date each other. Virgil noted bitterly that her step-dad didn't raise that objection when Courtney later dated Atom Smasher.
Virgil's expression flattened as he put his finger to his ear and said, "Static to Green Lantern and Warhawk. I'd like to meet both of you in the rec room in ten minutes. Please acknowledge."
They both replied with a 'roger' and Virgil started walking slowly to the rec room trying to think of what he was going to say to these two who had been his role models when he was younger. He hadn't lied to Courtney when he told her that he'd second her motion for dismissal if she submitted one, but he knew Superman would never let it come to that. And he knew he would tell Courtney who GL and Warhawk really were, before he'd let her make such a request.
When he opened the recreation room door, both GL and Shayera were standing there in front of the news monitor. "Please sit down," he said as he moved toward the couch.
Both shook their heads as GL answered, "We'll stand. We have something we want to say first."
Virgil sighed with relief knowing that he didn't have to open this conversation the way he initially thought he would. "Go ahead."
Shayera frowned as GL spoke. "Virgil, we'd like your help. Shayera and I have talked things over and think it's probably in our best interest if we're not assigned to the same team in the future except if it's an omega level alert. What do you think about that?"
What did he think about it? This was great news and solved the problem of how to discuss Courtney's issue with them. He put on his best poker face. "This is kind of sudden, but I think we can do that." He paused. "Let me ask you what brought this on?"
"We both think we screwed the pooch on this last mission," Shayera offered as she looked at Lantern.
GL's eyes widened for a moment, then he said, "Shayera and I did our own post-mortem on this mission and noted our tendency to … worry about each other's safety perhaps more than we should. It hasn't affected our ability to perform in the past, but neither one of us want to risk someone getting hurt because we were … distracted."
"Well, I won't lie to you," Virgil said. "Courtney expressed some concerns about you two being on the same mission team. But I think your excellent solution will put her mind at ease." He stood and turned to leave.
"Virgil! You still haven't told us what you wanted to see us about," GL called out.
"Oh," Virgil covered quickly turning back to face GL and Shayera. "I just wanted tell you both that I am honored that you chose to trust me with your secret and no matter what, I'd have both on you on my team in a heartbeat."
Shayera nodded. So did GL as he said, "Same here."
Virgil moved to the door, then smiled to himself as he opened it, and said without looking back, "By the way, did you guys ever figure out whose turn it is to pay for dinner tonight?" He closed the door behind him without waiting for an answer.