5 Justice League Family Affairs
"Ninety-eight." Blackhawk grunted. He was in the cargo bay. His legs were hooked under a wall mounted tie-down and he was hanging upside down doing sit-ups. His goal was one hundred a day. He thought about going longer because of the ice cream but John's appearance forestalled that.
"Shayera will need you to relieve her in the cockpit in the next ten minutes." Stewart declared.
"Just two more to go." Blackhawk replied. He fired off the last two reps and uncurled himself from the tie-down by pulling himself up with a chain hanging from the ceiling.
"Do I even want to know what you do for push-ups?" John joked.
"Probably not." Blackhawk shared the grin. He wrapped a towel around his neck and slung his jacket over his shoulder. He stopped by the galley to grab a sports drink and then proceeded past the med bay into the passenger cabin and all the way through that until he reached the cockpit. The door was open and Shayera could be seen within.
He sat down at the pilot's station and suddenly realized: his hat was on her head. Perched at a slight, rakish angle, his hat definitely sat on her head. He snatched it back.
"Hey!" she yelped. She overcorrected as she missed a gravitational eddy and nearly threw the shuttle off course.
"See what you did?" she huffed.
"Don't wear my hat." Blackhawk unapologetically demanded.
"It was helping me concentrate." Shayera argued, "I could pretend that I was a member of the Blackhawk Squadron."
"You could definitely teach us a thing or two about flying but that doesn't mean you can wear my hat." Blackhawk admitted.
"What's with you and that hat anyway?" Shayera had to ask.
"It belonged to the original Blackhawk during World War II. It, like Blackhawk Island, is a physical link with his legacy. It's a testament to what I have to live up to." Blackhawk explained, "I thought I lost it once when Galatea captured me and brought me to Dustin. Thankfully, she went back for it as a gesture towards making amends."
Shayera thought about it for a moment before asking, "Has she ever worn your hat?"
Blackhawk's cheeks turned rosy, "Um…well…uh…yes, but it wasn't like that."
"Like what?" Shayera's eyes danced with impish delight.
"We were…never mind. We weren't doing anything." Blackhawk said a mite defensively.
"So the hat was worn while you two were having sex." Shayera enjoyed watching him change colors again, "No problem. I'll keep your naughty secret."
Blackhawk took control of the craft and was quiet while he navigated a solar system. Shayera fell into silence. She wished there were stars. Hyperspace was full of colors stemming from gravity influencing it and profound darkness but nothing as simple a single star twinkling. Stars and suns gave off a prismatic display in hyperspace and it wasn't as soothing as a night sky.
Blackhawk noted her staring out the cockpit but granted her solitude for a time. After fifteen minutes he asked, "Something troubling you?"
"Everything. My daughter, a daughter I didn't even know I had because of my arrogant presumption towards the future, died today. She didn't need to. I could've kept out of the fight and she would've lived." Shayera said softly.
"You don't know that. Diana said the Fates had marked your baby as going to die. Against the Techno-Organic Union or back on Earth for reasons unknown, your child's fate was sealed." Blackhawk reminded her.
"I don't even know if I believe in the 'Fates'." Shayera replied, "Who are they to decide my baby needs to die? Who gave them the right?"
"Maybe they don't decide. Maybe they just see what's coming." Blackhawk suggested.
"Who needs `em?" Shayera grumped.
"Obviously somebody does." Blackhawk countered. She fell into a murky silence at that. John came in, "Shay?"
"Yeah?" she responded warily.
"Do you want dinner?" he asked.
"Sure." She replied forlornly.
GL looked to Blackhawk. The pilot shrugged. John took Shayera by the hand and led her to the kitchenette, "You're helping. It'll help you keep from moping."
"John, our baby…" the protest died on her lips.
He held her close and kissed her forehead, "I know, Babe. I feel the same way but we have to fight it. You don't want this to beat you, do you?"
"No." she sullenly answered.
"I can't hear you." John was all Marine again, "Are you gonna let this beat you?"
"No." Shayera growled.
"That's my girl. You don't let anything beat you." John applauded.
Things come close to beating me. Will this? Shayera thought to herself.
"Clark, not to be rude or anything, but your daughter is evil." Kara said from across the aisle from where he and Diana were seated.
"What makes you say that?" he asked.
Diana smacked his shoulder, "You've seen the girl manipulate you and everyone around you. The look she gave you when you announced you were leaving bespoke of revenge."
"The way she questioned the League, it was like she was sizing us up." Kara opined.
"Well, I don't know why she would so that." Clark protested.
"Revenge." Diana prophesied.
"How can you say that?" Clark wondered, "She treated you decently enough this time around."
"Maxima accepted me. As long as the Queen sees me as a friend, or at least as an ally, the rest of the kingdom will follow suit." Diana explained, "That perception will last only as long as Maxima's reign."
"You're not saying that Kalea would depose her mother, are you?" Clark was shocked.
"Clark, the girl's stronger and faster than you are and she's got it in for Diana. How long is she gonna let her mother stand in the way?" Kara asked.
Thinking of how willful Kalea was, he had to admit he had no idea.
Tessa was dropping Sir Justin off. They were in the main foyer and Justin had set his grip down. Tessa was giving him a seductive smile.
"Y'know, I could make a regular habit of this." She said.
"Mmm. So could I." Justin agreed as he took the lady in his arms, "T'would be tempting to 'run away' for a fortnight."
Their lips met and the world fell away. She was breathless when they parted, "Have them call me when they hear your case, Justin."
"You needn't…" he began to protest.
She jabbed a finger into his chest, "Call me!"
He took hold of her hand and held it to his heart, "I shall, milady, if only to hear your voice again."
"Flatterer." She laughed.
"You wound me, Tessa. I shall call you. For both my hearing and because I wish for nothing more than to stand in your company again." Justin sincerely promised.
"Silver tongued devil." Tessa playfully accused, "All right. I'm letting you off with a warning."
Justin drew her in for another kiss. She smiled, "I'd better get going or I'm never going to leave. Later!"
Justin watched her exit the Hall. He went to the glass doors and watched her cross the portico and head for the car park. Moments later a MINI rocketed out of the area. He smiled.
It took 24 hours for "Sawbones", Blackhawk's Javelin shuttle, to reach Earth. By the time the heroes reached terra firma, they were ready to go stir crazy. They dispersed as soon as the boarding ramp touched down.
Clark made a preliminary report to J'onn and in return found out about the "Legion of Good" and the Shining Knight. Neither case made him happy. Superman wanted 24 hours off and then he would review Sir Justin's case. The following day a hearing could commence.
Two days later, the Founders held court. John and Shayera decided to recuse themselves. The Flash acted on behalf of the defense and that left Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Martian Manhunter as the tri-panel judiciary.
Flash went through STAR Labs video log, which showed the particulars of the "crime". He admitted that from the camera's perspective it was pretty cut and tried but, he argued, it wasn't a cut and dried case. He had two witnesses, Tessa and Sir Justin himself. He decided to use them both. Tessa testified first.
"Shouldn't I be sworn in or something?" she asked.
"This isn't a court of law, Ms. Richardson." Superman explained, "This is merely a disciplinary meeting to see whether or not League by-laws were violated. If criminal culpability is assessed then all evidence will be turned over the appropriate law enforcement officials for investigation."
"So you're just here to crucify Justin before his peers before handing him off to the cops?" Tessa asked.
"Ur…not exactly. We're here to determine the facts of whether or not Sir Justin murdered a human being, an altered human being, but a human being nonetheless." Superman declared.
"Let me save you some time here." Tessa offered, "He was trying to eat me. Go ahead and use those X-Ray peepers to see the wound. I figure that when a human being starts eating other, living people they sort of sacrifice their rights as a human being."
"As far as the scientific analysis goes, my buddies at STAR Labs performed an autopsy. The genetic sequencing was particularly fascinating to behold. This guy was a moth! He had enough vestigial humanity left to make him remember being human and to respond to language cues but my guess was that a trained chimp would be more human." Tessa explained.
"Let's not forget the most glaring crime here and that's that he trapped me and started making lunch out of me." Tessa stressed, "If you think I'm going to forget that any time soon, you can forget it yourself. I sure as hell am not about to forgive it."
"Then there's Justin himself." Tessa switched gears, "He's a man out of time. He may run around on space stations and hop in flying shuttles but he's truly, heart and soul, a man out of the 10th Century. The virtues and vices of that day color his outlook and springboard his actions. The baseline here is that Justin sees a dragon or a monster and he slays the beast. It's a cultural prejudice hardwired into his brain. You want to take issue with something, take issue with that."
"You have a hero. I spent the entire week-end with Justin and I find him to be the most noble, forthright person I've ever met. Chivalry oozes out of every poor but that's also the problem. You want to keep the Shining Knight as a JLer? Re-train his prejudices. Teach him that some monsters aren't to be slain and that some bad guys get away with evil." Tessa finished her statement.
She sat down and Vigilante waved his hat in the air from the visitor's section, "Yee Haw! That's tellin' `em, Lil' Missy!"
"Vigilante?" Superman asked.
"Yah?" the cowboy responded.
"No more outbursts." Superman instructed. He turned to Sir Justin, "Sir Justin?"
Justin stood, "Yes?"
"Can you explain yourself?" Superman asked.
"Yon creature was attacking the fair maid. It ate of her flesh. I wounded it but rather than retreat, it attacked me. I ended the wretched beast's life at that point." Justin described what happened.
"I think the panel needs to discuss these matters. We're in recess for an hour." Superman decreed.
In the end, Sir Justin was assigned to "cultural sensitivity" training with Superman. He was placed back on the active duty roster as was Supergirl as she completed her community service chores.
"You okay?" John asked. It had been two weeks since that awful day. She was standing on the balcony of the JLU Women's Dorm and she was staring off into the distance.
She turned to him and for the first time in weeks, wore a contented smile, "I am. Thanks to you."
Her smile was bright and infectious so John joined her. He held her in his arms as they gazed out across the city. The future was still theirs as long as they didn't give up on it. Neither one of them would give up. Not now.
a/n: For those of you I told that there would be two more chapters, I was wrong. This is it.
a/n: Coming up next: "Justice league Conflict; DCAU series Part 9" and "Justice League the Corps; DCAU series part 10". I also have a vague outline forming up for an as-of-yet untitled Part 11.
a/n: There will be a delay before I start Part 9. I promised a story to a major Star Trek website and since I'm one of the Featured Authors I feel obligated to deliver. I'll return to the JLU afterwards, I promise.
a/n: Thanks to all the readers and reviewers!
a/n: Thanks go to animeluverqueen for her many corrections, suggestions, and observations. She makes having a Beta Reader fun.