Bruce's verifications about the age and origins of the Thanagarian blade are encouraging enough for her to venture a dinner date with Carter.
Once in her quarters, she slips into a dress, once in a lifetime opportunity, she rarely did dresses even with Hro or John. She shakes off thoughts about either man as she applies the eye shadow yet as she applies the lipstick she wonders back to thoughts of all the times she had kissed Hro or John yet the sharper of the two were the ones with John. She ran her fingers along her lip not realizing she had smudged the dark red lipstick onto her fingertips. She quickly wipes it off then picks a different and darker shade to cover it up then slips on her only pair of high heel shoes, mentally she adds the only pair she owns so far. She wonders how the other women in the League do this especially Diana except once she heard the Amazonian claim they were high heels that fit most of the time after all she had worn heeled boots into battle from the very beginning.
Bruce wore the cowl for a reason perhaps all too similar Shayera when she wore the headdress yet after all that happen with the Thanagarians she no longer wore it. However even without it her gaze would conceal as much as Batman's cowl with its white lenses. One of the more intense gazes she had seen from him was actually a reflection of him after her first solo trip to Themyscira. The Batwing's canopy reflection of Batman's cowl exposes much to her as if Aresia's back story hit a nerve with him though as she later found out, Bruce Wayne had seen his parents murdered in front of him, and the fact that Batman operates typically in Gotham, she figures Bruce must be Batman though the real proof of many concealed identities gain confirmation when she had come with the bypass plans to the Batcave. They already had no cause to trust her, not even Flash or Wally whom she had often teased and threatened except she had gotten softer on him in recent weeks especially after learning what happen to the other Flash. His outburst made it clear that even his faith in her is shaken.
One last gesture had been to give John his ring back. His countenance crumbles and she is certain he is watching her fly away into the darkness. The rest is a blur to her aside from losing the faith, the trust, and the affection of her fellow Thanagarians including Hro thanks to the nefarious Kragger whose mind ends up a mess thanks to J'onn forcefully taking knowledge of how to pilot Thanagarian craft from his mind.
She left because she had to, she felt like she no longer belongs here, and if not for Fate coming to her aid, she probably would have lost the will to find herself again, but her need of sanctuary is clear to him, so he takes her in. She is alive yet she is a shell of her former self aside from the deceptions she had put out, there was plenty that had been really honest except what happen with the Thanagarians had made many doubt, distrust, condemn, and fear her.
Several months pass without much incident except for the return of AMAZO. The Lantern Corps had come looking for the constantly evolving being yet as before he could outmatch virtually anyone and he had come looking for Luthor for answers. Luthor had guts to say the least, AMAZO could eliminate anything with a thought, but of course he is after the answer to a question she is still asking, purpose, what is it, what am I to do with it, and of course Fate speaks of John's behavior towards him.
She had known his bark is often worse then his bite, that his words are seldom given weight in actions, but of course John is still a sensitivie subject for her at times.
She finally gotten around to pouring out whatever she could to him or to Inza and so they would listen, it seem so surprising at first yet later she realizes without them, she would be dead, mentally and emotionally. Aquaman had proven his point as usual during many of their chess games, which she often lost to his confusion until he finally explodes at her about how could she could have beaten Batman if she can lose to him.
"It's just a game..."
"You disgust me..."
"Join the club..."
Batman... Bruce... had been a much more listening and less talkative chess player, which is why she found it simpler to relate with him better then she had with the others. She knows he probably did vote against her though she had beaten his call to the punch, his vote as he would later say to her was based on what he suspects she must have been feeling or rather what he thought would be best for her. Her verbal resignation seem proof enough of his notions. She never did resent how any of the six might have voted of course John going neutral had been a slight jolt. She knows Wally had voted for her staying, maybe even J'onn after all the Martian had seen how two worlds could pull one individual apart.
Superman or rather Clark would later speak of something that happen to him years before when Darkseid had psychologically manipulated him into leading an attack against Earth, which she figures made him resistant to helping Darkseid against Brainiac though as she rememebers the whole thing had been a betrayal and a deception though Darkseid appears to die after that encounter. He spoke of how J'onn and Lois reminding him of how many had come to regain belief and faith in him, so perhaps she deserves that chance even though there would always be those who would hold it against her forever.
As for Wally, he had been happy for her return, he jokingly said aloud the band is back together at last. She got a laugh out of that one, Batman just made his usual glare, Diana seems rather impassive, Superman chuckles, and J'onn smiles just a little. She saw little of John aboard this new Watchtower yet she had taken the time to acquaint herself with the new station as well as the expanded roster. She remembers Mari from the fight with Grundy, she figures out that she is John's new girlfriend though of course, he had the right to date others, just as much as she did even though her feelings for him were only made more intense by being back at work with him.
Her mental competitiveness lessen like other things about her when she made her verbal resignation from the League yet the Chaos Magic that caused the resurrection of Grundy made it impossible for her to stay in solitude indefinitely. She reclaims the mace and reluctantly engages her misunderstood friend plus refrains from the tears that his memory had often given her when she did dare to visit the spot where he had been laid to rest. At the end to her, Grundy had been heroic and he asks if she thought his soul is waiting for him, she hesistates at first yet with tears in her eyes, she reassures him, he'll get his reward. A book she had read since then made her reaffirm the different light she saw him in, a book titled Frankenstein written by perhaps one of the most psychologically compelling Earth writers she had read so far. A child like mind in a body made from dead body parts who yearns for much that seems beyond his reach by his appearance, by others' attitudes towards him, and also to be shun by the one that made him.
She certainly found an affinity for the writer who wrote Frankenstein so it had become one of her solace bringing objects. According to some the movie adaptations always got it wrong or put too much emphasis on the scene where the body that becomes the creature uses up too much screen time. She agreed given how many times she had read the book to the point that she had to ask who could fix book covers. Grundy while never quite having the level intellect comparable to his literary likeness, he still had his heart to her.
She had seen his determination and intensity firsthand when he fought to kill Icthultu, he had almost done it until one of the super natural's defensive measures fatally stung him leaving her to finish the job, and so when she had, she went back to his side. Memories of that experience would stay with her forever especially as she fought the rage driven resurrected Grundy and again Fate would remind her that her purpose is not fully understood yet, she may think herself a destroyer or a wrecker, but there's more, more she has to yet to find or learn about herself.
The little girl from before tugs at her harm and the mother calls her by what her old costume name translates into in Spanish. She would face the dawn, face the world, yet most of all face familiar and unfamiliar faces about the second Watchtower.
It is assuredly not an easy time as old and new faces alike are mindful of her yet in the wake of defeating the merger of Brainiac and Luthor, it seem like she could say she was not quite estranged from the League and that matters much to her. As she had found years before, it had been the few friends she did have that made her life on Earth enjoyable despite having been undercover at the time. The near death of Wally had given all of them a startling turn as some remember the time that they thought Superman had perished. At J'onn's words that he could still sense Wally, she reaches out passing her arm through the vortex and latching onto Wally's hand. She felt John's hand grips her then the others were quick to follow suit with a notable surprise when Batman took to gripping Diana's forearm. It is a strain yet they had to do it, they remember the Justice Lords well enough.
She sighs with relief once he is back, she had found him to be like a brother and of course he would later at Blackhawk Island joke about her as an older sister... though of course shorter. She took it in stride, she adores him in the way one expects a sister to adore a sibling that makes her laugh and reminds her of her better qualities. As for Batman, he had been somewhat kind and warm to her yet for them its more of a sparring friendship or personal respect. She found strengths in each of them even Diana despite how opposite they could be. Each of the original seven had something to bear in their own way yet they had come through a lot as a family.
She does however still wonder at times if she would ever have a separate family life of her own and so as she shakes out her tumbling recall of memories she heads for the elevator looking too lovely to resist of course. The look on John Stewart's face is priceless once she steps inside the lift.
As for John's new look, she did not like the beard at first yet something made her more fond of it when they were flirting in the elevator. She had known he is with Mari now and he been tripping over how flattering the dress is on her body. She obviously kept in shape yet there is more feminine then he had ever seen her before. They lean ever closer as she suggests where he could find the same dress for Mari though he seems more focusing on how she looks right now. They are close enough for her to smell him and for her perfume to draw him in more. The elevator doors slide open to reveal Batman standing there, he smirks knowingly, nothing had happen, at least not physically, both straighten up then follow Batman to the Metro Tower's nerve center or rather his part of it. He flips through pictures and video feeds of the past several years indicating that Carter Hall has been following her a long time. Both Batman and John express concern that this guy might be dangerous though of course she is angrier about the kinds of accusations that they seem to insinuate about Carter.
However after the visit to the tomb that belongs presumably to Katar and Chay-Ara Hol, her doubts about the soundness of Carter/Katar deepen even when Batman insists its nonsense. The reunion with Carter comes in the wake of Shadow Thief capturing John in order to lure her to Carter so that he may force the three to see the events that brought about the demise of Katar, Chay-Ara, and another man called Bashari. In the memories, she is Chay-Ara, Carter is Katar, and John is... Bashari. There are far too many parallels in her own memories regarding John in relation to how Chay-Ara reveals her face to Bashari. They are lovers, Katar seems too caught in bringing Thanagarian elements of government and justice to the people that they 'rule over'. In the end, Katar forces Shadow Thief, his dark side to merge back with him, and then Carter leaves still exuding a romantic interest in her yet she still sees a spark in John's eyes unless she imagines it.
He tells her of an incident only he and Batman remember when they eventually end up in a future where he met a young man in Thanagarian style battle armor, that the man identifies himself as Warhawk... as Rex Stewart. She feels a flush in her cheeks, her wings almost seem to perk up just a little, she senses a smile, and an urge to kiss John until he declares he is staying with Mari, no being a destiny puppet he insists, but unlike on the promontory, she is not going anywhere this time.
"Don't say you don't love me..."
"I'll never say that..."
He walks away back into the infirmary to Mari.
She goes in search of Batman.. of Bruce to ask more about Rex. One just doesn't dangle a story like about a son she might not never had thanks to John's call at present.
"Tell me about my son."
He turns to face her knowing he had to tell her all of it since John finally let loose about it. On the one hand, he did not believe in fate or destiny, but he did at times believe that nothing is suppose to get away in the way of what you already feel despite having told Diana that it would not work with them yet she is persistent. If there is one quality above intution to admire in a woman, its her persistence, and so he would tell her yet he insists that if John is ever going to accept his feelings are more important then a future that might or might not happen, he will have to get there on his own terms. She knows he is right yet as long as John holds feeligns for two women, he is not exactly being honest or fair to either, and just as likely both of them are going to demand he make up his mind unless he wants both of them walking out on him. They both know they are in love with him, the only question is which one does love enough to commit to her alone instead of being with one while being jealous of any man that goes near the other.
Eventually John would have to decide between her and Mari.
One would wonder is there any truth to all is fair in love and war.
An untold amount of time passes as Shayera ponders what the future may hold even though she does not want to think on it much.
Now she knows of him, she on many levels longs to be back in that place where she and John first made love before the occupation yet she knows that will never be, she can only hope for him to love her in a way that compliments how she still loves him, but some part of her does not want to wait him out. She wonders if leaving hurt her chances to get back with him yet she resolves that while that might have something to do with it, the rest was up to whatever both of them did from now on. The scene in the elevator plays out in her mind again just as it had for John yet both would awaken with a start. Mari is still in the infirmary recovering from her injuries so that's why the space next to him in his bed at the apartment is empty. As for Shayera she resides at the Tower yet is unable to sleep, it is not uncommon yet when closing her eyes to sleep she can almost imagine that son as a toddler. Her earpiece comlink chirps and so she puts it in. Its John, which is unexpected after his revelation that particularly unforgettable afternoon following the shared Absorbacron experience.
"Yes, are you?"
"Meet me at..."
"... the place near your apartment."
"You know we haven't eaten here a long time."
"Strangest thing is the owner kept asking me about you."
"Guess the hint got around sooner or later."
"I saw a few smiles when they saw you come in just now."
"Maybe they know a good thing when they see it."
Some food is set down in front of them and the server indicates its on the house tonight.
"I know what I said about destiny, but between that trip to the future and that Absorbacron thing."
"I think it was damaged or degraded by the passage of time besides we were together for a time before either of those things... plus we went back to fight Savage during World War II."
"We were there to repair the time line."
"You were in that future to stop Chronos."
"When you flew away that day... I said the words too late I think."
She remembers something echoing on the wind yet she did not turn back and just go to him, some part of her felt she really had to leave everything behind.
"I thought I heard you, but I had to go, I felt too much to stay."
"We could have worked through it together."
"Maybe, but I felt like I wronged you most of all aside from the fact I love you as much or more since that afternoon."
"I remember Wally made that jokes about us fighting like an old married couple a long time ago."
"Yeah he did."
The argument had tumbled over into something about clocks.
"I was definitely surprised to see you in a dress that night you had dinner with Carter."
"I could tell, I couldn't believe I was actually flirting with you again in a way I never flirted with anyone... not even..."
"I couldn't believe the things I told him especially after he zapped you... said freely offered, maybe you should take better care..."
"Pretty bold to say to a Thanagarian, but at least we were able to prevent the bypass activation with some help from Batman and the others."
Twice John had the same arm busted up by something made from Thanagarian technology, but of course, she would hope such things would not deter him indefinitely. There is true notions in we often hurt those we love the most, but one ought to forgive even as we cannot really ever forget it. She wonders if she should ask about Mari yet considers it might spoil the evening. John knows he'll have to make or break with this decison since he is dining with Shayera tonight while Mari is still in the infirmary.
After they eat they fly back to the Metro Tower together and it is as they come in to land that Mari stands there in regular clothes to meet them both.
So now its time to face whatever is going to happen, but all three had a feeling this meeting would happen some time if they were going to have any amicable resolution to this triangle of sorts between them. Mari bows out knowing John seems to have chosen Shayera and she took it better then one would expect as if she had seen it coming somewhere along the line. He had seen the look on his face before... when Shayera went to handle the resurrected Grundy alone and when Carter Hall made his first appearance with the offer of dinner to Shayera. John did love her yet he is in love with Shayera, there is a difference yet they were all adults so she tries to be as adult as possible. Shayera asks to speak to Mari alone, which John is cool with as he heads inside leaving them outside together.
"It seems you won..."
"... never about winning."
"Almost like the time I thought you poisoned my water..."
"... or when I thought those weights would fall on me."
They crack up laughing, she would hope their unconventional friendship would weather this change, and Mari assures her it will, as for what's next, she said is fixing for a date with Vigilante. The two women part ways amicably and Shayera sneaks up on John. He turns around and dares to kiss her for the first time since after Vegas and just before the Thanagarians' arrival.
"You think you'll ever wear a dress again?"
"Someday... maybe...though for now..."
"Yeah, I get your meaning..."
"That's it right there..."
"Yes I am sure..."
It had been a long time since she had a back rub like this one though of course what comes next feels much better. There is a majestic quality to when she spreads her wings like that and so they awhile longer before they retreat to the bed for the rest of the early morning hours. They ate more takeout before going to bed and so they take the time to relearn each other's bodies. She in a way has only become more alluring and beautiful to him since he had first seen her without the headdress and as for him, she actually thinks the beard looks rather charming on him now. She spreads her wings as far as they will go when he pins her beneath him and the release is one she had almost forgotten when with him in this way. She in turn pins him and they just lie like this for hours. It had taken more then either of them had known or would admit to reach this moment yet they are glad for the trip if only to be together again.
It is not destiny, it simply is so for it comes from what they feel towards the other, and so she kisses him deeply as he runs his fingers through her hair.
A/N 1: A highly debated event, so when its established that Warhawk is Rex Stewart, that John and Shayera are his parents, what does that mean exactly for them as well as for Mari. The writers didn't want to short change Mari, which I can respect, but still what exactly would possibly get them back together and/or lead to the birth of Rex.
A/N 2: To me, it might have been that Mari had seen through John's attempt to disguise that he is in love with Shayera yet he only loves her. Someone would get hurt in some way no matter what happens so maybe one or both of the women would demand he decide something or maybe they both act independently knowing he can't exactly resolve it on his own.
A/N 3: Sometimes I think one has give something up because only in its absence do we learn the inestimable value of such things or rather people we care about or love deeply. I admit to having a preference to a John/Shayera couple rather then a Jonn/Mari couple, but figured she should still have some dating or romance in her life.