An/ Well, I don't really know what to say except for a massive, Thank-you! To everyone who has read, reviewed, faved and helped me along with encouragement during these drabbles. When I first started this series I never thought it would go for as long as it has but I am immensely proud of them. I hope that you have enjoyed my interpretation of John and Shayera as much as I have enjoyed writing them and I hope you enjoy the last drabble of this series, my thanks for all of your support.
I will also say that this is by no means the last you will see of these two from me, I am already thinking on another series to devote to them as they have as odd as it sounds, become rather important to me.
Anyway I'll let you get on with reading this...its a long one ;) Lots of references in here to episodes, other drabbles and other stories by me.
Thank you to all of you once again!
And now, as long as I can, I'm holding on with both hands,
'Cause forever I believe that there's nothing I can need but you.
So if I haven't yet, I've gotta let you know.
You're never gonna be alone,
From this moment on, if you ever feel like letting go,
I won't let you fall.
When all hope is gone, I know that you can carry on.
We're gonna see the world out,
I'll hold you 'til the hurt is gone.
Nickelback – Never gonna be alone
She loves it here, one of the few places where she feels at peace both with herself and the world.
Sitting on the roof of their humble wooden cabin, Shayera looks out across the landscape. A burly forest surrounds their home with branches stretching up to reach the sky, they are beautiful in the spring and summer seasons when they are laced with flowers and blossoms. To one side there is a clearing where the trees stop, there she can see the mountains far off into the distance where she has spent and still spends hours flying with John or with Rex.
The sun is starting to set behind the forest and she watches as the clouds are distorted by the changes in light, a pale pink softening their harsher surfaces as a warm orange bleaches the sky. Behind her there is a sound, an awkward clatter and she hears a soft grumble of complaint before he sits down beside her with a sigh.
"Thought I'd find you here." John remarked looking out at the sky with her.
"You thought right." She replied, automatically shifting closer to him.
She knows what he is about to say next because she knows how disappointed he is, really she is disappointed too.
"I can't believe he can't visit." John grumbled leaning back against the roof so that Shayera could lay her head on him.
"He has plans, John...he has a life of his own now." She understands that Rex has his own commitments now but she still feels saddened that she won't see him for his usual weekend visit.
"I know," John confessed reluctantly, his fingers idly stroking one of her wings "But he is visiting less every week."
Shayera shifts so that she is now lying beside him on her side, propping her head up with a hand as she looks down at him with a very soft smile. If she knows her son, he will if he isn't already, try to rearrange his schedule so that he can pay them a visit.
"Give him a break John."
He noticeably sighs before looking up at her, smiling at her fondly "What were you doing up here anyway?"
"I was just watching the sunset." She replied honestly. She came up here often to watch it or the sunrise; although on other occasions she has retreated up here during some of their very few serious arguments, escaping to the roof before either of them could say something they regretted. After all their past was filled with land mines just waiting to be aggravated and set off, but thankfully they had managed to avoid most of them.
For a while neither of them spoke any further, it was easy for them both just to be together. Shayera returned her head to his chest while she thought about their lives together; she was feeling rather reflective tonight.
They were getting older now, she couldn't fly for as long or as far as she used to, fighting crime was getting harder. John too was getting older, evident in the light smattering of silver she could see in his goatee and now no longer bald head...thankfully the moustache had been shaved off years ago. Soon they would retire from the League, they had discussed it on occasions but she knew it would now be sooner rather than later, John would let his ring go to select a new Lantern and she would hang up her mace for good. Rex though would carry the torch for them both, he had been in the League now for a few months and she had every faith in him, much like his Father in every way but every bit as bad tempered and aggressive as her.
She was so proud of him and she told him every time she saw him even if it did embarrass him.
"Fancy some hot chocolate?" John asked carefully breaking the pleasant quietness.
Shayera sat up a little, eyebrow raised.
John looked back at her a playful smile spreading on his lips "We've got marsh mellows..." He elaborated trying to coax her.
At last she grinned and leant down to give him a kiss "I'd love some."
She loved John's hot chocolate, she didn't know what he did to it but it always had a spicy edge to it that reminded her of a drink she used to indulge in back on Thanagar...of course that was years ago now. Carefully she stood up and flexed her wings testily, they ached nowadays if they were in one position too long, sometimes she missed the days when she could fly all day long without issue. John dubiously stood up beside her; his ring was probably with his Lantern battery as he wore it less and less at home now.
"I'm guessing you want a hand down?" She asked teasing.
John peeked over the edge before shaking his head "I'm fine...I might be old but I can still get around."
"Alright...but don't blame me if you misjudge and hurt yourself."
"At least I'll have a nice nurse to take care of me and my wounded self." John teased her back as he started to clamber down.
Shayera snorted "You wish." And both of them laughed, easily, naturally...happily.
Inside their cabin home John left Shayera in the living room as he busied himself in the kitchen preparing their hot drinks. While she waited she carefully stoked the fire seeing as it had been rather chill outside, as she looked up from the dancing flames she looked at the various items and trinkets on the mantelpiece.
On centre stage was a small decorative, sheathed blade sitting on its own frame. It was the ceremonial blade she had offered John after his return from a long Lantern mission. Behind it was a picture frame, the picture inside was of the two of them together, smiling and laughing at the traditional Thanagarian ceremony John had insisted they have. Absently Shayera reached up and fingered the simple earrings he had given to her on that day; she smiled to herself remembering how John had practiced night and day in order to correctly pronounce the Thanagarian words he needed to say.
Further along the mantle was a second picture frame, similar to the first but this one was a photograph of them together on their Earth marriage ceremony. She wore a long white dress that day and everyone repeatedly told her how beautiful she looked, even when she looked at them bizarrely after being told that she was supposed to throw her flowers at their guests. This time she peered down at her left hand where a golden band glimmered revealing her commitment to the man that was still tinkering in the kitchen, the man that had entered her life unexpectedly but she now couldn't imagine an existence without him.
Other items decorated the shelf, pictures of Rex at various stages of his life as well as the vast amount of arts and crafts projects he had brought home from school. Her favourite was a little clay pot, moulded and obviously painted with care, but there were also what Wally had described as squiggles when he had seen them...they were in fact Rex's earlier, very wobbly Thanagarian runes.
Turning away from the fireplace Shayera stooped down and picked up a large bound book that was resting along with another pile of books. She carried it with her as she moved to one of the sofas just as John entered with their drinks.
"I haven't put your marsh mellows in yet because I know you like to dip them." John said absently as he set her drink down on the table, his own right beside it, a mug with 'World's Greatest Dad' written in large writing.
"Thank-you." She replied settling down on the couch still clutching the large book. John glanced at it eyes twinkling when he realised what it was and sat down beside her. John moved just enough so that she could curl up beside him against his chest, the book sitting neatly on his lap as he put an arm around her.
"Been a while since we've looked through this." John remarked running his fingers over the cover.
Slowly he opened it up revealing on the first page a number of articles and clippings, many of the first pages were like this, all snippets from the League when it had first started up. Articles on the Imperial Invasion and numerous other missions they had been involved in. They had both spent days in the archives searching for these insights into the history of their family and it included everything except for the Thanagarian invasion.
Still turning pages they reached where the photographs started, pictures of them together or with the other founders, snaps taken at Christmas and at various parties. Soon the pictures changed again, ultrasound scans and pictures of a very grumpy Shayera during her pregnancy, including one of her reaching for the camera before she attempted to smash it.
John stopped as he reached one of his favourite pictures. The photograph filled the whole page and was the first photo ever taken of Shayera and Rex together after he was born. Shayera looked exhausted but glowing in a way he had never seen, tiny Rex bundled up in warm blankets and held closely to her chest as she smiled tiredly at the camera. John smiled and glanced at Shayera where she was still huddled up close to him.
"Some warrior you were," He chuckled softly "You were like putty after they gave him to you."
"Maybe...but I seem to recall that I broke two of your fingers..."
And sure enough when John turned the page there was Shayera's favourite photograph. John, the proud Father of his new born son, holding Rex as if he was something precious that could be easily broken. Even with his son wrapped up in his arms it was clear to see his bandaged and bound fingers. Her grip during labour had been like a vice and John swore even to this day that even Superman would have crumbled by it.
Another page was turned and these ones were full of Rex as he grew up, snaps of him as a tiny baby, crawling, laughing, food all over his mouth as John tried to feed him mashed bananas. Shayera laughed when they reached the pictures that showed Rex after he learned to walk, he was a very curious child and was into just about everything and anything. He had reminded her much of herself in those days, his constant curiosity and John following him around the house as he grabbed various items and shoved them instinctually in his mouth.
Soon there were hand drawn pictures in the mix, drawings by Rex while he was at school. Drawings of his family, Mum and Dad scribbled in wonky letters next to their drawn selves, later the other Leaguers were graced onto paper, Wally the most frequent star in Rex's artwork.
'Uncle Wally!' Rex would often scream when seeing the speedster, running around with Flash at high speed almost as thrilling as flying with his Mother as she carried him over the trees and mountains.
All too soon the pictures became certificates of achievement, school pictures of Rex showing how much older he seemed to get every year although he clearly resembled his Father in every one of them. He had grown up so quickly but John and Shayera had made sure that they recorded every moment of it, every single second from his first Christmas to his first girlfriend and beyond.
Shayera sighed as they neared the end "He's grown up so fast."
John ran a hand through her feathers and lightly touched her back "Yeah...but it's been worth every second," He looked at her smiling at her "Every second."
She smiled too, the smile disappearing slowly as John leaned in touching his face gently to hers, his nose nuzzling her as she slowly returned the gesture. Something Thanagarian, something that even though she didn't wear a mask anymore still meant as much now as it had always done. Slowly her eyes lulled and started to close as he touched his lips gently to her eyes and nose.
Behind them a phone rang but it was momentarily ignored while they continued their affectionate face touching, but eventually neither of them could ignore it any longer. John pulled away from her and reached behind him, blindly searching with his hand until he came across the telephone.
Shayera returned to burying herself close against him taking in his scent and enjoying his warmth.
"Well, that would be great son...see you then."
John put the phone down and pressed his nose to the top of her head "Rex said he can come by tomorrow evening, said he managed to change a few things."
Shayera smiled knowing that she knew her son very well indeed.
Just like his Father.
"That's great," She said softly "Now you can stop moping."
"I wasn't moping." John replied defensively.
"Of course not..."
"You were just as bad."
She snorted "Maybe..." She was quiet for a little while "I love you John."
He kissed the top of her head as he put the book that recorded their life onto the table "I love you too Shayera...always."