AN/ Been a while since I wrote a Oneshot :)
Anyway I wrote this while having a break from planning/writing Advocacy. It is in fact inspired by a song called 'Can't stop loving you.' By Phil Collins.
Well, I hope you like it anyway :)
Mild Reference to 'Ancient History.' and 'Starcrossed' also cheekily there is reference to 'Comics II' From my 'Hearts and Minds' drabble collection.
Also thanks to Centuri Eagle for helping me out with some parts of this :)
Neither Justice League or its characters belong to me.
Don't say Farewell
Sometimes he found it amusing how life seemed to enjoy mocking him, but today he honestly couldn't see where any amusement could come from. Two days ago everything was destined to change, destined, that was probably the wrong word to use and he rephrased the consideration in his mind. Two days ago, everything changed.
Walking towards the conference room he thought back to the conversation he had had with Mari, the moment when suddenly destiny didn't seem to function anymore, the future seemed to change right before his eyes and he realised that he wasn't completely relieved by it, he was almost disappointed. Taking a deep breath he continued onward to his destination although he wasn't truly certain what he was going to do or say when he got there, for the first time in his life he wasn't sure, and he hated that more than almost anything else.
When he reached the door of the conference room he debated turning away and leaving, just for a split second, but he changed his mind knowing that he owed her more than that. With slightly reluctant fingers he typed in his code that only the other six founders had to this room, and then as the door swished smoothly across he stepped inside. Of course she was already there, he wasn't surprised by that at all, she was prompt to every meeting without fail, but he knew that in this case she had been early because he had called to meet her, and he hadn't done that for a long time.
For a moment he stood in silence as she looked up to see him, a small and almost nervous smile was born on her lips; she didn't know why he had asked her here. He wondered for a moment what she might be thinking, looking at her body language understanding it better than most; he deduced that she was indeed nervous, tapping her sharp finger nail against the table while her wings twitched every so often.
Swallowing, he tried to be casual as he took a seat next to her at the round table. The silence that spread throughout the room was almost suffocating but her insistent tapping seemed to break it up enough to make it bearable.
"Shayera..." He started careful not to look at her for a moment "I...need to tell you something."
The twinkle in her eye that he had seen before was visible in her green eyes, but he knew that like before he'd be the one to snuff it out. He took a shaky breath before continuing.
"I'm leaving the League."
The tapping stopped. The twinkle faded. Her wings pulled tightly against her back.
"W-what?" She stammered.
Averting his eyes he focused on the table, anything but what he could see in her face.
"Mari...she...she doesn't want to keep balancing her life between the League and her work," He let out a strained laugh "She wants to be normal."
Shayera seemed to search his face even though not all of it was visible to her; he still refused to look at her for the time being.
"What about you? The League...it's important to you." She wanted to ask him about them, about the 'us' they both tried to deny.
He shrugged tensely "It's what she wants...I'm resigning from the Corps too." He added sadly.
"Are you out of your mind?" She almost stood up with a combination of shock and annoyance but managed to stay seated. The incessant tapping returned.
"Look," John now focused his irradiated eyes on her face "I'm telling you before anyone else, because I felt you had the right to know...I'm not here to argue about it."
She stared at him, concentrating on the bright green eyes she wouldn't see again. He was leaving and really that meant she'd never see him again either. She tried to ignore the ache that had suddenly erupted in her chest.
Nodding slowly she averted her eyes "So when are you going?" She asked softly trying to stop her voice from breaking, but she knew that he could hear it.
"I'm leaving tonight, I've got a week left in the Corps...the Guardians want to see me before I finalise my decision."
Of course the Guardians would want to make sure he was certain of his decision, he was one of the best Lanterns they had.
The tapping stopped again and she looked into his face not bothering to mask her emotions anymore, the full tirade of them swirling openly in her eyes.
"I'll miss you."
He looked at her then, really looked at her.
"I know." He couldn't bring himself to tell her that he'd miss her too.
The quarters that were assigned to him in the Watchtower were for the most part empty; he only stayed there on rare occasions usually after returning from extensive assignments from the Guardians and couldn't be bothered to be beamed down into a stale apartment. While he journeyed about the room he collected the meagre possessions he kept there, a change of clothes, a few comics although he made sure that Mari never saw them. That was why they were here of course, so she wouldn't see them, she didn't like the idea of him reading comics, telling him often that he was too old for them.
For a moment he stared at the comics, marvelling over their covers, even flipping through the pages and falling into the wealth of memories they contained for him. One of the issues in particular held memories for him, not just from his childhood.
'Justice Guild of America, Issue Fifty-Nine.'
Somehow a smile touched his firm frown, but it faded just as quickly as it had arrived, along with this comic, he had to leave her behind.
Thinking on this he moved over to the bed, the comics still in his hand as he reached beneath it and pulled out a large box swiping the dust from its surface with one sweep of his gloved hand. Tentatively he opened the box placing the lid to one side as he let his eyes focus on the contents. Inside were a number of articles and items although none of them in actual fact belonged to him, they were in fact Shayera's, all the items he had collected in his apartment after the Invasion.
Not for the first time he wondered what he was doing, did he really want to leave the Corps? The League? He wasn't sure anymore, but he knew that he had to stay faithful to Mari, he cared about her and she wanted to stop balancing hero work with her life, he wondered too what had brought on that decision but he wouldn't ask. Perhaps he should.
On instinct he placed the comic books in his hands into the box along with Shayera's long forgotten items, replacing the lid and scooping it up in his arms, his other bags were packed...he had time to make one more stop before leaving. He had time to say goodbye.
When she'd received his message earlier she'd been excited, curious...a whole number of emotions at once but the key was that she was hopeful, that maybe he was ready to give them another go, or at least talk about where they stood with each other.
But instead he told her he was leaving...for good.
Shayera sat in her own quarters alone, always alone. The chair at her desk wasn't comfortable being made of harsh metal and hardly accommodating for her wings, but for the time being she didn't much care.
John was leaving.
Staring at the pile of books on her desk she let herself think about her life, she often tried not to; it was so full of disappointment, heart ache and guilt that she usually found it unbearable. Out of her entire existence there were very few times she could honestly say she was happy, one of them had been a time on Thanagar before she came to Earth, when Hro had proposed to her she had been happy. More so though she had been happy when she was with John for those few short weeks, true she was trying to deal with her duality at the time but when she was with him she had been able to forget about her burdens even if it was just temporary. Now she knew she'd never feel that happiness again, never feel that complete again, because this time she was the one being left behind while he left into the sunset.
Unconsciously she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand; after all it was her fault wasn't it? She had betrayed him; maybe if she had told him everything it could have all been different, maybe they would be together now, maybe they'd already have Rex and she'd have the family that she craved. A part of her wanted to believe in destiny but the longer time dragged on the more she started to lose hope in it, she'd never been one to have faith not even in herself, and now she was losing hope too.
A knock at the door startled her and she once again wiped her face not wanting anyone to know that she was upset, in her quarters she could be herself, just as vulnerable as anyone else...but once she left she was the Thanagarian Warrior that did her best to ignore passing comments.
"Who is it?" She asked, surprising herself at how loud her voice was in the empty room.
"It's me." She heard John's reply and she hastily stood up, maybe he had changed his mind?
Commanding the door to open she looked into John's face as if hoping to find the answers she wanted there, but she could see nothing. His face was a careful mask.
"I brought you something." He said holding out a large box "I've...I've kept these ever since," He paused for a moment "Ever since you left, I thought it was time to give them back."
Gingerly she reached out and took the box from him, she was bewildered as to what it contained but she thanked him none the less.
"Are you still leaving?" She asked trying not to sound too hopeful.
He nodded "Yeah, I'll be heading off in an hour."
"Listen, Shayera," John said softly bringing her attention up into his face "I'm...I'm really sorry for everything."
He saw the un-fallen tears in her eyes as she smiled wanly "Me too John," She nodded slowly looking away "Me too..."
And he left turning away from her without another word, he didn't see as she reached out for him just a moment too late, before turning away and going back into her room, the door sliding shut.
Slowly she placed the box John had given her onto her desk and gingerly lifted the lid, her eyes widened as she realised what was inside. All the belongings she had transferred from her quarters on the original Watchtower to his Detroit apartment. She'd assumed that he had thrown them all out after her betrayal and after she had left for destinations unknown, but he had kept everything...even her toothbrush. This time the tears flowed freely as she explored the contents of the box, everyone of them bringing her another wave of memories she'd tried to lock away but failed every time.
Re-taking her seat at the desk she picked up the first thing she had taken out, smiling to herself at the memory.
"Oh man! Hawkgirl you have to read this one...Issue fifty nine was the best issue."
Without thinking she opened up the book and looked at the pictures, reading the speech bubbles. The comic represented something that only slightly lifted her heart; she realized that John knew that even when her life had been marred with duality and a mission no-one knew about, she had been paying attention. When she'd sat with him in the comic store she'd listened to every word he shared with her, not because of her research…but because she wanted to.
Managing a weak smile she continued to read remembering their trip to the Justice Guild's dimension as she did so, although an unexpected voice behind her startled her, just for a moment.
"I didn't peg you for a comic book fan."
She managed not to roll her eyes but she closed the book and set it on the desk.
"One can never tell."
Batman swept further into her room now that she was fully aware of his presence there, he gestured to the box but didn't say a word.
"John, kept some of my stuff…just giving it back to me."
"Right," He said in a monotone "He's making a mistake."
"Don't you think you should be telling him, rather than me?"
"You don't want him to leave either."
Shayera narrowed her eyes "Don't pretend that you care Bruce," She looked at him slowly "You just don't want to lose him from the League."
"He is one of the strongest members." Batman stated picking up the discarded comic.
Her voice was suddenly sharp "Put that down."
He obliged returning it to her desk "You're the only one that can stop him," Bruce said evenly "For whatever reason you chose to do it."
"Who says I have a reason?" She questioned but as she turned to where he had been standing, he had disappeared. Frowning she grit her teeth irritated by his disappearing act, but she did have to ponder his words.
Saying goodbye had always been difficult, it didn't seem to matter if it was old friends, acquaintances or even strangers. As John shook hands and gave best wishes as well as accepted them, he realized he wasn't just saying goodbye to these people, he was saying goodbye to everything his life was and had been.
The founders had decided with the absence of Shayera to meet him at the teleporters to give their last farewells, half of him hoped to see Shayera there, but the other hoped he wouldn't. Eventually the hour was up and it was time to say the final goodbyes.
"Don't worry Hotshot, I'll visit…but you're not coming to mine. Not after you ate the entire contents of my fridge." John chuckled.
Wally grinned "No worries, GL."
John said goodbye to the others, tried with Batman but Bruce merely frowned at him; Diana gave him a hug, Clark and J'onn a smile each…and it was time to go.
Stepping up onto the teleporter pad he let out a final breath, was this really what he wanted? However before he could reconsider he heard her voice.
As she ran down the hallways she cursed the architect for making such narrow corridors, she couldn't spread her wings in the narrow space and glide which would have been much faster than running. All the same she had to get to him before he left and she wouldn't see him again, she needed him and she needed to tell him, she didn't want him to leave without knowing.
Practically colliding into the elevator she rammed her thumb against the call button and impatiently waited for the elevator to reach her level, when it did she burst into it startling the other two occupants as she mashed another button.
"Has Green Lantern left yet?" She asked breathlessly as the lift descended.
"No…I don't think so." Black Canary answered glancing at Green Arrow.
"If you want to catch him, you better hurry." Green Arrow added with a smile.
Shayera nodded quickly as the doors finally opened "Thanks." She yelled behind her as she charged down another hallway.
Finally she reached the teleporter room and didn't hesitate to call out his name, hoping beyond hope that she wasn't too late.
"John!" He turned to see her running into the room looking red and out of breath "John, wait!"
She walked briskly over to him and searched his eyes with her own "John…I…I didn't want you to go before I told you."
With raised eyebrows he set his bags down "Tell me what?"
Shayera was fully aware of all the eyes on her but she had grown accustomed to it over time since rejoining the League three years ago. Carefully she moved closer but being careful not to touch him.
"I…I don't want you to leave," She paused averting her eyes and looking at the symbol on his uniform "I want you to stay with me…I'd never make you leave the Corps or the League, I know how much they mean to you."
And there it was, she wanted him to choose.
"Shayera, it's what Mari wants." He said tiredly.
"But what do you want John?" She exclaimed "If you can stand there and tell me that it's what you want then fine. I'll say goodbye, I'll let you go."
Her green eyes fixed on his and he stared back unable to form words as his mouth opened and closed. Eventually he bowed his head.
Automatically her hand went to his jaw, cupping his cheek and raising his eyes to look at her "Then what are you doing?" she asked barely at a whisper.
"I don't know anymore." He confessed before covering her hand with his own "But I know I can't leave." He'd been on the verges of changing his mind just before Shayera arrived, but now he knew he couldn't go, he couldn't leave this life behind him.
"I'll stay," He said softly, smiling at her.
A few days later and John found himself in Shayera's quarters simply talking. After he returned from talking things through with Mari, Shayera had insisted that they do some talking as well; she wanted to know where they stood with each other and where their lives were going. He'd agreed that it was a good idea, it was time to stop running.
Mari had taken the news hard and he felt terrible that he couldn't be what she needed him to be, he couldn't give up the life he had as a Lantern, defending innocent people from criminals was what he lived for. He lived to do good and to defend Justice. Eventually he and Mari had gone their separate ways, either he went with her or he didn't, she was going regardless and he knew that she was disappointed that he couldn't go with her.
"John, we should probably call it a night…it's getting late." She stood up and flexed her wings; they'd been talking for a good few hours.
The talk had done them both some good, they both now understood how they felt about the future he had seen, of the past they had seen together. The conversation had even diverted towards her life on Thanagar and he realized that she hadn't lied all that much about her life, maybe changing Lieutenant for detective but essentially most of it was the same.
"Right," He agreed getting up too and stretching "I've still got to go to Oa tomorrow and tell the Guardians I'm staying on."
She smiled brightly "I'm sure they'll be pleased."
He nodded and scratched his neck absently "Goodnight then." He said quietly before heading towards the door of her quarters.
Shayera followed him, opening the door and letting him out "Goodnight John."
Starting to walk away he turned around and focused on her as she remained in the doorway "I just wanted to tell you," He said softly as he returned to stand in front of her "That I wouldn't have gone through with it, I was already second guessing when I stood on the pads."
"Good to know." She replied with a smile "I'll see you when you get back from Oa, say 'hi' to Katma and the guys for me."
John despite himself grinned "Sure," To her surprise he leant down and gifted her with a kiss before pulling away just as quickly still grinning "I'll see you in a week's time."
As he left Shayera stood motionless her mouth still slightly open before she regained her bearings and shook her head "See you in a week, John."
She'd be counting down the days.
AN/ Hope you liked it :)