You watch him.
No matter where you are or what you're doing, if he's within your sights, you watch him. Today, you've taken the opportunity while the Javelin-7 tears through space on the way to the other side of the galaxy. As always, you start with his eyes. They radiate an otherworldly green glow, a testament to the nearly boundless power he's been entrusted with. Every single time those eerily glowing orbs turn your way, you feel exposed. It's like he can see through you, see into you, unlock every secret you try to hide and shatter every front you put up. His luminescent gaze cuts off your thoughts, and for as long as it's locked on yours, all you can do is feel.
Thankfully, this time he doesn't notice your surreptitious staring and keeps his eyes on the symphony of stars.
You continue with your study. Your eyes follow every line of his clean-shaven profile. They sweep over the curve of his nose and pause when they reach his mouth. His full lips are fused tightly together, as they are on most days. He's not a man of gratuitous speech. He measures his words carefully, exposing an intelligent mind and courageous heart.
He's wearing his usual expression: dead serious. His brow is furrowed. His eyebrows sweep downwards in a gentle slope and a divot is dug above the bridge of his nose. The muscles of his strong jaw are taut. It's enough to fool anyone. Except you. You have a lot of experience with masks. You've seen the all-too-rare moments when it slips away. When he mentions his grandmother, and his brow lifts and his deep baritone goes tender. Or when he laughs at one of the speedster's jokes, his eyes shut and his head thrown back in mirth. His laughter is like new life, and his smile outshines his radiant gaze.
Your eyes trail his chin and his throat, until the place where his dark brown skin disappears into the black and green of his uniform. You love his skin. You could drown in its sun-kissed richness. Its contrast with your own pale hue fascinates you. You almost feel cheated by his uniform, that it conceals so much of him. Almost. Because the suit fits him like a second skin. It strokes the slope of his shoulders, hugs his well-toned arms, and stretches across his broad back. Every shift in the muscle beneath the fabric is visible. You know he works hard for the body he has because he's in the gym almost as often as you are – on the treadmill, lifting weights or kick-boxing. You've heard it from the speedster that he does thirty push-ups every single night before bed. You don't doubt it.
His posture – ramrod straight, eyes trained ahead – speaks of his military background. In fact, every aspect of him exudes Marine discipline and confidence. His grasp of tactics and strategy is nearly unmatched within the group. He's level-headed in the face of extreme danger. Your jade eyes drop to the ring on the middle finger of his right hand. You trace its lantern etching. You once accused him of being nothing but a fancy ring, but even as you said it, you knew it wasn't true. You admire the way he wields such immense power with such control, humility and grace. The Guardians could not have chosen a better man. But it's not the ring that makes him who he is. Without it, he would still be a hero. With it, his power rivals that of the Kryptonian. He could be the leader of the team, and he probably knows it. Yet he doesn't gripe, he doesn't moan, he doesn't push to be heard. He takes direction faithfully, he serves with his entire being, and he gives one hundred and ten per cent every time. He can be intense, stubborn, arrogant and over-protective, but you know would give his life for any one of you without hesitation.
You wonder if that's why you feel such a kinship with him. He's a soldier, so are you. You're both incorrigibly obstinate, and it often leads to conflicts. You can't remember the last time you both had a conversation that didn't escalate into an argument. Sometimes you just want to smash his smug, handsome face in with your mace. You know that there are times he wishes he could toss you into a black hole. Yet for all the antagonism on the surface, you enjoy his company. You relish his perspicacious mind and his whip-like wit. Your verbal sparring gets your blood pumping, and most of the time it doesn't really matter who the victor is.
And you miss him when he's gone. Your mood shifts when he's not around. His absence bites you like a million tiny bloodsuckers on every inch of your skin. When he returns, when you smell his musky human scent, and you hear his sonorous voice, you feel alive again. You want to run to him, to throw your arms around him and squeeze but you don't. You merely fire a shot that gets your badinage going and you contrive to keep it going for as long as possible – to have him focus on you, challenge you, smile at you and make your heart flutter.
The feelings that you are having for him disturb you. You aren't sure when they began, but it wasn't too long ago. You know you can't allow yourself to feel these emotions. You know you can't get attached. You try and focus on your mission, you try and remember the one to whom you are promised, but it all fades into trivia. You'll admit that you're attracted to him, yes, but you won't let it get any further than that, you promise yourself. You never call him by his name, always by his title. And you stand as far from him as possible. Your mind, however, isn't quick enough to stop the burst of electricity down to the very tips of your wings when he accidentally brushes against you, or the dryness of your mouth when he looks at you that way.
The attraction is mutual. He's a lot less gifted at hiding his emotions than you are. You can tell he likes you. You can also tell that he's trying to build up the courage to tell you. Sometimes, you'll catch him watching you. His mouth will open, then shut abruptly, leaving his affection unspoken. But you know. You know he wants to explore the possibility of a relationship with you. However, you can never let it get that far or your mission, your people's future, will be in jeopardy. So you glare at him, or you make a venomous comment that makes pain flicker across his beautiful face. You feel bad when you hurt him, worse when he forgives you so readily. You don't deserve it. Or him.
That's the truth of the matter. You simply don't deserve such an amazing man. You could never measure up to his expectations of you. You're only going to hurt him. He should be with someone more like him – someone of his own race at least – not some duplicitous alien woman who has been pretending so long, she's forgotten who the real her is.
You could never have him. The thought makes your heart ache, but you repeat it in your head, you drum it into your consciousness. You could never have him. You could never be with him.
You are so engrossed that you are unprepared when his gaze jumps to yours. You start in your seat, ashamed at having been caught. You raise your eyebrow, almost challenging him to call you out. He stares at you evenly. Then you ready your death glare, but you think the better of it and flash him a tight, non-committal smile. His expression immediately softens. His eyes light up, or more so than usual. His lips part and slowly stretch into a heart-melting grin. You find yourself wondering if it really would be so wrong to love him – to let him love you.
You turn away abruptly and stare straight ahead. The Amazon and the Dark Knight both appear to be oblivious of the wordless exchange going on behind them. The heat of his gaze lifts after a few moments, and he angles his head towards the window. You finally let out the breath you've been holding. Your eyes slide to him almost as if they have a mind of their own.
He watches the stars.
And you watch him.