An/ Okay, a short piece this. It was inspired by a conversation between me and Centuri Eagle considering whether John might play the piano like his comic book counterpart. Like wise whether or not Shayera might be musical as well.
A quick note before you read this just to save confusion, this takes place before Starcrossed and the instrument referred to as Shayera's is a string based instrument.
Anyway, I hope you like this one :D
The shower had been a welcome relief, the dirt and grime of a hard won fight finally washed away from his skin leaving him feeling refreshed and revitalised. Tugging up his fatigues and fastening them he became aware that his apartment was no longer silent, a distinct sound was ringing from the next room. John grabbed a fluffy towel from the small cabinet and slung it over his still damp shoulder before exiting his bathroom. Entering the living room he discovered that the earlier showered and changed Hawkgirl was sitting at his piano idly toying with the keys.
It would seem that she hadn't noticed his presence so he decided to take advantage of the rare moment and watched her. Earlier on when they had arrived here she had insisted in her own unique way that she would use the shower first, not that he minded of course. Seeing her now he couldn't believe that she had entered the apartment as a very dusty, dishevelled Hawk with an air of aggression floating around her. No, Hawkgirl had disappeared for the time being leaving John with a very approachable, gorgeous, red headed Thanagarian.
Hawkgirl's helmet sat across the room along with her still-needed-to-be-cleaned uniform. Shayera herself was dressed in one of the shirts she had stolen from him, a dark green button up dress shirt with slots cut into the back for her wings and long enough that she hadn't had to worry about needing something for her legs. John forcibly pulled his brown eyes away from her image and focused his attention on what she was actually doing.
Despite the fact that he was sure she had never played a piano before in her life...she wasn't to John's ears playing too badly. After pressing a few keys down experimentally she had worked out the sounds and pitches and had started to fiddle enough that they made something of a melody. Before he approached her he glanced about the room and noted that her Thanagarian instrument wasn't here, he thought perhaps that she might have left it on an earlier visit but perhaps not.
"I wondered what all the noise was about." John remarked casually as he entered the room proper, walking towards her in the process.
Shayera turned just enough so that she could peek at him past her left wing and watch him as he travelled across the room and took a seat beside her on the bench.
"There's so many buttons," She said frowning slightly as she trailed her fingers gently over the ivory "How do you reach them all?"
John let out a light chuckle as he automatically raked his fingers over them as well "You don't have to use them all," He explained "Just the ones you want, you don't use all the strings do you?"
Her head tilted in thought, he just loved the way she did that.
"I use most of them." She stated as she pressed down on another key "But there are more buttons here than the strings I use."
He grinned broadly at her semi confused and almost indignant expression. "Keys, Shayera...they're called keys."
"Fine." She said slowly, "Keys."
Still obviously curious in the large Earth instrument, Shayera continued her idle playing from earlier, using one hand to press the keys. John shifted noticeably closer to her along the bench and took her free hand in his own, she couldn't help the giddiness that washed over her but she concealed it very well. Gently, John placed her hand on the piano and moved his mouth by her ear.
"You need to use both hands," He said softly "One for the chords, the other for the notes."
Shayera shivered a little involuntarily and quietly smirked as John's other arm came around her back to guide her other hand. If she had known before how the piano could bring them so close she might've investigated the burly instrument sooner.
With marked gentility he pressed the backs of her fingers encouraging her to press down on certain keys; she noticed the difference in sounds as the notes played by her right hand blended with the chords played by her left. A smile started to spread on her lips as she listened to the almost shy sound; it was almost as if the piano recognised that she wasn't its usual companion.
"See?" He asked her, his breath disturbing a lock of her red hair "Sounds better, doesn't it?"
"Mmm," She agreed quietly as, with John's encouragement she continued to press keys and start to make something that sounded more melodious than her previous attempt. "When did you learn to play?"
To her delight John's right hand left hers and was instead placed against her back, his other hand leaving her left to begin playing companion notes to the tune she was now maintaining.
"When I was young my Mother made me take piano lessons." He was leaning into her, his mouth still close by her ear. "I hated them to begin with."
Shayera smiled a little wider, biting her lip slightly as his hand rubbed her back. "What made you change your mind?"
"I went to watch an orchestra in concert," He mentioned softly, tweaking the tune he had been playing as she adjusted her own "It changed my whole perspective. The music was so...powerful and moving. When it finished I was determined to learn how to play like that, how to..." John looked towards her and made eye contact, their faces only inches apart "communicate something beyond words."
He smiled at her just enough to make her be thankful she wasn't standing up and relying on her knees to support her, and then he turned back to the piano and Shayera could see how much the music meant to him as he concentrated on the sounds of their collaboration.
She'd never imagined she would see him like this, the once stiff Marine had fallen away to leave someone so full of compassion and a quiet sense of contentment. While he played skilfully with his left hand along with her own melody, Shayera let her eyes wander over his bare upper body, just enough to make her cheeks turn a healthy blush.
"It's a shame you haven't got your Thanagarian instrument." John mentioned, keeping his voice low.
Shayera removed her eyes from his physique and put her full concentration back into her playing, "I need to retune it anyway."
John nodded and smiled as she playfully poked his hand with her little finger as it moved closer to her choice of keys.
"You seem to have a good ear for this, Shayera."
That little nuisance shiver was back, running down her spine as his baritone caressed her name.
"I have good hearing," She said nonchalantly "The sounds are the same as my instrument. It's just a different way of mixing them."
As the minutes slowly and comfortably drifted by, John gradually became less interested in the piano and more interested in her, not that she had a problem against that. He turned towards her carefully and she noticed his eyes drop if only briefly to the small amount of cleavage that was visible from her choosing not to do up the top button of her shirt. A coy smile played on her lips as he very quickly raised his eyes back up and back onto the piano looking slightly bashful, but he didn't remove his hand from her back.
Really she was enjoying their close proximity, it was the first real time they had spent just doing something together without feeling like they needed to fill the silence with words. Gradually the song they were playing started to sound off and Shayera tried to work out where the sudden de-synchronisation had occurred but before she could locate it, John guided her hand further towards his end of the piano, changing the pitch and returning the melody to its calmer self.
John looked up at her again and this time neither of them looked away as they slowly drew nearer to each other. Still pressing the keys but with a reduced tempo, they kissed briefly and parted with smiles as their eyes met a second time.
When he looked away again, Shayera focused on him and smiled feeling genuinely happy, happier than she had felt for a long time. She remembered what he had said minutes earlier.
'I was determined to learn how to play like that, how to communicate something beyond words.'
Who needed words anyway?