Relapse Pt II
It didn't take long for Diana to locate J'onn's room, after all she had stayed at the mansion as well and her room had only been down the hall. She had to confess that she was slightly irritated by Bruce's blunt conversation, she was used to such communication with him but she had hoped that each of them being on equal terms with each other would have brought them all closer together. She remembered with a sharp pang how the last major emotional upheaval they had shared had pushed them all apart. Wally had been one of them, a member of their family and she missed him greatly, each week she would light a candle for his spirit and whisper a little prayer for him, she knew the others honoured him in their own ways although she didn't know what they were and would of course, never ask.
Reaching J'onn's door she knocked on it musing to herself all the while that she seemed to be doing that a lot today.
There was no answer so she knocked a second time. Still no reply and she grew worried, she knew that he was definitely in his room because Alfred confirmed it when she had asked him; apparently he hadn't left all morning.
Forgetting the ideals of politeness Diana tried to open the door but it was locked, she thought it bizarre but remembered that J'onn was particular about peace when he meditated, but then if the door was locked then surely he had to be inside?
Beginning to grow increasingly more worried as time went on, Diana decided that she'd have to force her way inside there might not be enough time to call Bruce, she'd have to do it herself.
"J'onn?" She called through the door "J'onn, I'm coming in..."
In one brisk movement she shoved her shoulder against the door but was unsurprised and disappointed to find that it didn't so much as shift against her weight. Panicking that something terrible could have happened to him and that he might be in dire need of help, she ground her teeth and shoved hard again, still nothing but a bruised shoulder.
"Urgh! Come on!" She shoved again and Alfred appeared around the corner.
"Is everything alright Miss?"
Diana breathed a sigh of relief "I think something has happened to J'onn, please go and get Bruce"
Alfred looked startled but quickly began moving towards the direction of the cave "Right away"
Diana needed to get into J'onn's room, something was definitely wrong if he was in there surely he would have heard her efforts to get inside.
She stood still a moment and focused, her hands still pressed against the door.
"Hera" She whispered "Please...Give me Strength!"
A second later and her fist blew through the thick wooden door showering her in wooden splinters and shards. The Princess didn't stop to acknowledge her renewed strength but bustled into J'onn's room after ripping the door out of its hinges and tossing it into the hall.
A gasp left her parted lips as she dropped to her knees besides J'onn's prone form; he was unmoving and lying awkwardly on the floor.
"J'onn?" She called his name tapping his face in an attempt to wake him "J'onn, please"
Carefully she started to shift his body into a more comfortable position as she did so Bruce rushed into the room and knelt down beside her instantly checking for a pulse, Diana felt foolish for not having thought of that herself.
"There's a pulse, it's faint...We need to get him to the cave, I've got medical facilities down there"
Diana nodded and was about to assist Bruce in picking up J'onn's unmoving form when the Martian's eyes suddenly opened, the orbs glowing a familiar warm orange.
Both Diana and Bruce froze as J'onn's voice entered their minds and spoke to them, Diana glanced at Bruce but he merely held a frown and she couldn't glean from that alone what was occurring.
'J'onn?' Bruce thought in his mind.
'I...I can sense...everything'
Bruce nodded and turned to Diana "We need to get him comfortable; I think his powers have returned"
Diana smiled "But that's great news"
Another nod "I know but the feedback is overwhelming him, he needs to adjust to the input"
Together they both helped the Martian onto his feet and settled him onto his bed, J'onn merely sat quietly as he closed his eyes and attempted to sort through the thoughts and emotions swimming within his mind...and not all of them his own.
Leaving him alone to sort through his psychology, Bruce and Diana stepped out into the hallway; Alfred had already left to prepare some Tea to calm their nerves.
"I apologise for the damage" Diana said sincerely as Bruce peered at the carnage in the hall that had formerly been a door.
"Think nothing of it...I assume this means that your strength has returned?" He asked picking up a random shard of the door and examining it.
"I...guess it must do" She smiled "Mother said it was a matter of faith, perhaps my fear for J'onn's wellbeing was enough for me to regain it once again"
Bruce smiled, it was rare to see and because of this Diana appreciated it all the more.
"I'm pleased for you Princess"
He saw her jump and he'd already taken a step forward, John had watched as her wings had opened, he was so overwhelmed and happy for her that he was shocked that he hadn't considered that she would simply jump from the cliff.
"Shayera?" He called, he knew her flight style...surely she should be pulling up by now?
Rushing forward forgetting everything that had occurred between them, he hastily peeked over the edge of the cliff hoping to see her soaring...he hadn't expected to see her in an uncontrolled dive.
"Shayera!" He yelled seeing that she was in a world of trouble, her wings were flailing and she was spinning in a nose dive.
John was beside himself, there was nothing but imminent doom at the base of these cliffs, and if she couldn't right her decent she'd meet with a very unpleasant end. Body and mind seeping with fear and panic he did something just as crazy as her...he jumped off right after her.
Falling rather quickly his mind started to race, he roughly shoved his hand into his pocket hoping beyond hope that his ring hadn't dislodged itself, but to his upmost relief he located it and slid it quickly onto his finger. He was falling faster than her so he caught up relatively quickly, thankfully not too fast as she flailed her wings again in an attempt to level out but sent herself into a barrel roll instead, he would have been struck in the head if he'd been any closer. It was in that moment that she saw him.
"John!" She shrieked "What the hell are you doing!" She practically screamed at him not bothering to conceal the terror in her voice.
"Shayera" He gasped the wind knocking his breath back "You need to right yourself!"
She looked positively stricken as she once again attempted to level out but to no success as she was sent into another tumble. He heard her curse in Thanagarian with her frustration.
Shayera was horrified that John was falling right next to her, she hadn't thought about what she was doing when she had jumped, hadn't considered for one moment that she hadn't used her wings to fly in seven months, never mind that her strength wasn't as it had been yet...she didn't have the upper body strength to support her weight in flight. All she knew right then though was that somehow she had to steady her decent, had to do something because she needed to save John, he couldn't fly and as far as she knew he still couldn't use his ring.
John's mind was in full panic but once again she looked up at him and he saw something there, something that triggered something inside of him, gave him purpose. Shayera needed him and he needed to save her and himself. Focusing on her he channelled his will power into the ring, focused on what he needed to do, the constructs he needed to create. Sweat beaded his skin but the perspiration was quickly removed by the gusting flow of air around him.
Grounding his teeth he grunted with exertion, the ground was coming up to meet them and if he didn't do something soon, they'd be staying a lot longer than just for tea. He caught her eye again and asserted his will over the ring, his body was drenched in emerald energy and John let out a gasp of relief, but his celebration was short lived, he had to save Shayera. Momentarily he summoned a bubble around her even as he began to ascend, the concentration the action required was phenomenal, and when he was finally certain that she was above ground, he let the constructs go and dropped some distance to the floor.
Shayera and John landed heavily on the floor in a tangle of limbs and wings as John's constructs disappeared, he was exhausted and the rescue had taken considerable effort on his part. Wearily he shifted and disentangled himself to find that he was lying on top of her, he would have moved but he was just so tired. The helmet she was wearing was ripped off by the Thanagarian woman beneath him and she slung it to one side never taking her eyes off of him for a second, she stared at him and he stared right back and she suddenly frowned and touched a finger to his chin.
"Hate the Beard"
John was incredulous, she had just launched herself from a cliff and almost fallen to her death, he had managed to rescue her with his newly repaired will...not 'hello' not 'You have your abilities back' just... 'Hate the beard'.
For a moment as she looked into his face she panicked, his emotions had shifted and she worried that she'd just blown her chance at reconciliation with him. This is why she was so surprised when she heard him chuckling which quickly became deep laughter. Shayera grinned.
Once he sobered he looked thoughtfully at her, quietly absorbing her features, bright green eyes and short red locks framing her face, she was as beautiful as ever.
"John" She whispered "I'm so sorry"
The frown returned to his brow "Shayera...I...I need to know something" She nodded encouraging him to continue "Did you ever really love me?"
The emotions in her face flickered so quickly he was barely able to identify any of them; she looked at him locking him in her gaze.
"You shouldn't have to ask me that John...but I understand why you do" She paused a moment to look at him a little longer "I do love you John Stewart...nothing is ever going to change that, not even Hro Talak"
"But...you're promised to him"
She shook her head "Things change, people change...I don't want to let you go John, and if I can help it I'm not going to"
John's voice was barely a whisper "I wish you had told me everything sooner"
Her thumb traced his lip "So do I"
"I do love you Shayera" He said still focusing on her intently.
"I know" She smiled wanly "I missed you"
It was John's turn to smile "I missed you too"
Slowly he lowered down to her and kissed her, soft at first but she responded eagerly and the kiss deepened as her arms wrapped around his neck. After a few minutes they parted and Shayera smirked.
"I still hate the beard"
John rolled his eyes with a grin.
Today was turning out to be quite a day; Bruce dropped into one of the armchairs in the living room and pinched the bridge of his nose. Ever since they had lost Wally he couldn't keep himself calm and collected when any one of them were in danger, even the alternate Flash from the other dimension had triggered panic inside of him when his heart monitor flat lined. Aside from the drama of J'onn's passing out things seemed to be looking up, J'onn seemed to have regained his powers although Bruce wasn't sure to what extent yet and Diana had demonstrated that her strength had at least returned.
Ever since the Lords had returned to this dimension after Bruce had let the Justice League versions of themselves go, he had felt responsible for them doing his upmost to take care of them and supply them with somewhere to stay and some stability. If their powers were returning then that was something, but Bruce was curious as to mechanisms of the power disruptor, he had been under the conclusion that the device had a permanent impact rather than a temporary one.
"Bruce? Are you alright?" Diana asked as she entered the living room carrying a tray of tea which she obviously had to fight Alfred for, Alfred wouldn't easily allow others to perform such duties.
Without glancing up he nodded his head "I'm just thinking about how this is possible" He had a sudden realisation "We should check on John and Shayera...see if their powers have returned as well"
"Of course" She agreed "But have some tea first, if they are alone and talking...best we give them some space"
"Do you know what happened between them?" Bruce questioned selecting one of the tea cups.
The Princess shook her head "I don't know, neither of them would speak of it"
"It's none of our business anyway" Bruce muttered peering into his tea before taking a draught of the liquid.
"How do you think that it's possible that we're regaining our powers, Bruce?"
"I'm not sure, I'll wait until we have everyone together and then we'll share some ideas; see if we can come up with some feasible scenarios"
Both of them turned around as they heard the door open and two people entered both hand in hand. Shayera once again wearing her helmet offered a smile as John followed her inside.
"We've got good news" Shayera said and opened her wings proudly before folding them.
A nudge in the ribs with an elbow prompted John to surround himself in the emerald energy of his ring as proof of his rehabilitation.
Bruce replaced his tea to the tray "Diana and J'onn have had similar relapses" He stated "Is everything as it was before?" He asked thoughtfully.
Shayera shook her head "My wings are back to normal, but I'm not as strong as I was"
"I don't think that I am able to fly" Diana stated and Bruce knew that at that moment she had tried to do so but had been unable to.
"I think it might be a gradual process" Bruce continued rubbing his chin "We should ask J'onn to what extent his capabilities have returned"
As if on cue J'onn entered the room, to their surprise he was in the appearance of his Martian Manhunter guise, the hybrid between his Martian form and a more human appearance.
"J'onn?" Bruce prompted.
"I am well" The Martian replied in his monotone "Although not all of my past abilities have been restored, I am not able to fly nor am I able to phase shift"
Bruce massaged his temples as he stood up "So each of you have most of your original powers with a few absent...I think the power disruptor that was used must have only had a temporary effect..."
He started to pace and Shayera took the opportunity to speak.
"How was it able to affect only specific things in each of us...it's not like we all have the same attributes"
"The powers that you and J'onn possess are not really powers at all, they comprise your physiology" Bruce paused for a moment in thought "It's likely that the disruptor merely interfered with the connections"
"Such as our nervous systems?" Shayera asked remembering the pins and needles sensation she had been having.
"Something like that" Bruce agreed "J'onn you have something similar to a nervous system?"
J'onn nodded "Indeed, although it is structurally different to that of humans and Thanagarians...it is in function, essentially the same"
Bruce nodded "John, Diana...am I accurate in saying that it was a matter of psychology for you both?"
"A matter of faith" Diana stated.
"For me it was broken will" John explained "The Guardians suggested as much"
Bruce nodded a second time "I can't be certain, but I think in time the rest of your attributes will return as normal" He paused a moment in consideration "Keep tabs on it and be on the lookout for any abnormalities or side effects...we don't know if some of your powers will return tampered with"
Each of them agreed.
"This is wonderful news" Diana praised as she picked up one of the cups of tea.
"Maybe" Bruce said grimly "But if your powers have returned...it means his has as well"
None of them needed to ask who he was referring to.
The conference was due to begin in thirty minutes, arriving promptly was a must for any member of the press so Clark had made special effort to arrive early. Wearing a simple suit and donning his glasses although in truth he really had no need of them. Clark mingled with the other invited guests as they helped themselves to refreshments before the big conference. Mercy Corporations had made a considerable effort since the death of Lex Luthor to rid the tarnishing reputation that he had left behind from their name. The company had originally been LexCorp and during Luthor's campaign for presidency had been left to Mercy Graves, an old romantic interest; to keep the company going after all it was leading the technological industry. Once gaining the Oval Office Luthor had for the most part washed his hands of the company except in times when he wanted something.
Clark snorted at the thought, typical Lex...stamping on everyone and anything and only going back to them if he wanted something.
Later of course the company had changed its name to Mercy Corporations, a fresh start or at least an attempt at one, Luthor had left a rather large stain on the company's image. It was obvious to Clark that their interest in tackling Metas was just a way to try and improve their public image, after all many of the population were living in fear of them, a company trying to lead the way to protecting them would gain instant support.
A waiter glided past supporting a tray of drinks, instinctively Clark reached out for one and lifted it from the tray, he was surprised when the glass shattered in his hand. Funny that...he was sure he hadn't picked it up that hard.
He apologised as was customary for Clark Kent and busied himself trying to clear up the shards, he glanced at his suit shirt and noticed that it had caught most of the champagne, excusing himself he headed to the men's room.
Inside he dabbed at his shirt with a fist full of paper towels, he hadn't had to be careful about his strength for months, not since Batman betrayed them. Could it mean?
Clark glanced around the bathroom to make sure he was without company, locking the door so no one could interrupt him he returned to the line of sinks. Slowly he rested his hand on the side of one of the basins and started to increase his grip, tightening his fist further he was startled when the side of the basin crumbled off in his hand.
A small grin stretched his lips.
The hand that had just squeezed the basin was raised to his face where he removed his glasses; he focused on the wall in front of him squinting his eyes. Nothing. Adjusting his concentration he focused on the wall more intently...nothing.
Undoubtedly his strength had returned, but none of his considerable visions had...flying would have to wait.
He replaced his glasses and checked his watch, the conference was starting in ten minutes...it was time to go.
AN/ I hope that you enjoyed reading, I'd appreciate any feedback concerning your thoughts on the story so far as I am eager to hear what you think of it :)
Thanks for Reading! Look out for the next Installment if you liked this one and its predecessor :)