Christmas was in the air.
And so was Shayera.
As she flew, her eyes began to water but it didn't bother her. It was normal to her. As she flew, she let her eyes gaze at the snow covered Detroit. She had come here on a whim. John wouldn't be here. So really, what was the point?
Sadly, Shayera knew exactly why she was here.
She had simply wanted to remember the one Christmas she had. The Christmas with John. She remembered it perfectly. Snowball fights, bar fights, and hot cocoa. It was perfect and she never wanted it to end. But it did. More moisture had somehow found their way into her eyes and obscured her vision. Shayera decided to land on top of a snowy hill. It was prefect and fresh. No footprints had made their way into the snow. She almost felt bad as her feet made indentions in the clean slate. No matter.
Walking towards the edge, Shayera saw the view of the city. The sun was going down and the city had begun to light up. Shayera slumped and sat on a boulder. She brought her knees up to her chest and thought. Why was she here? Why this spot? She and John had spent so much time here. Picnics and watching the sun rise.
She laid her chin on her knees and brought her wings tighter to her cold body. Was John going to think back on their one Christmas? Or was he going to take on monitor duty? At first, Shayera would've thought that he was going to be with Mari. Wally had cleared that up for her. The two were history, Flash told her. They had broken up.
The news had been uplifting to Shayera. She thought that maybe in time, the two would be together again. Shayera then realized that she could never do that. She was bad for him. Unreliable, untrustworthy, and ridden with guilt. It may have been a year or so since her return, but she still wasn't ready to forgive herself. Even if people around her did.
That surprised her the most. After Darkseid's attack, her life had run a lot smoother. The looks of hate disappeared and the looks of trust and friendship began to show.
Looks of love did as well.
But Shayera didn't want that. She didn't deserve it. She made friends, but that's all she let herself have.
A tiny drop of cold hit her neck. She was jolted out of her thoughts as she looked up and saw that it had begun to snow. The flakes were like tiny pieces of cotton and were pure white. Shayera heaved a great sigh of depression as more memories came to her.
Her first snowball fight.
Her first hot chocolate.
Her first kiss in the lightly falling snow.
That Christmas had been perfect. And now, Shayera craved it as if it was a drug and she was an addict. Having that same Christmas wasn't the only thing a certain Thanagarian was craving. She also craved the soothing touch and company of someone who may never trust her again.
Behind her, she heard the crunch of the snow as someone joined her.
Her head snapped up and looked behind her. "John." She said in disbelief. "What are you doing here?"
He chuckled. "Well, this is my city. What are you doing here?"
Shayera stood up and crossed her arms across her chest. "If I had known that you were going to be home, I wouldn't have come."
Slowly, with each step beginning with a mere moment of hesitation, John made his way closer to Shayera. "J'onn told me that you had come here. I wanted to see you, so I came." Standing right in front of her, he gently brushed back some of her hair behind her ear. "I wanted to ask you an important question." His voice had gotten lower. It was one of the things that Shayera loved about him. The way his voice got low when he wanted to talk about something seriously. "I want you to please spend the day with me. It's Christmas Eve. No one should be alone."
Silence was his answer. John could see the internal war raging inside her by her eyes. There was indecision and a hint of longing. John felt that same longing within himself. He wanted her to say yes, needed her to. She took a slow breath and John saw her final answer. Before she could shoot him down, he took her in an embrace.
"Please." He softly pleaded in her ear. "Make this Christmas as memorable as the one we had before. I can't stand another Christmas without you."
When he hugged her, her body stiffened. Her breathing stopped. The familiar smell of him engulfed her senses. The feel of him made her dizzy. What she wanted was to hug him back and take his sweet lips to her own and confess that she had never stopped loving him. That she never wanted to leave him again.
But she couldn't.
With tears forming in her eyes once again, Shayera stepped out of his grasp. "I can't. I just can't." She moved over to the edge of the hill and prepared to take off. She didn't even get to lift off. John had grasped her wrist and kept her grounded.
"When will you forgive yourself?" He softly demanded. "I have. The Earth and league have. Why can't you?"
She stared into brown, human eyes for a long time. Her own emerald ones playing back memories that never seem to go away.
"The horrible things that I've done should never be forgiven. I don't have that right."
His grasp tightened and his jaw set in determination. "You've saved lives. That was making things right. You protect these people and do your best to save every single person that you can. That makes it right. You'd sacrifice yourself willingly just to save another. You are a hero, Shayera Hol."
She looked down. "Those things don't make me a hero. If I were a true hero, I would've never let the invasion happen."
Suddenly, strong hands grasped her shoulders and she looked up at John. "That's the past! Don't dwell on it. All we can do is say we're sorry and move on."
Irritated by his use of past words, her attitude snapped back. "How can we move on when we wake up screaming at night, wanting the horrors to end? When you dream of the people closest to you realizing that you really are no good?" Her voice dropped in volume. "When the man you love should never trust you again?"
John took both her hands into his and pulled them tightly to his chest. "We find someone to help us move on. Someone to hold you as those dreams pass and you find reality again. Someone to show you that no one thinks that you're no good." As he answered her last question, he smiled softly. "You look in front of you and realize that that man never stopped loving you. He may have been hurt, but he never forgot the short, sweet, beautiful love that you two shared. He still loves you and will do anything to get you back. Even jump off this cliff after you if you decide to fly away. Which I hope you don't plan on making me do. My ring ran out of its charge."
Silent tears had run down Shayera's face as John spoke. After all she had done, he still loved her. "Unbelievable." She softly mumbled through her lips.
John smiled softly and used his thumb to brush away her tears. "I love you Shayera Hol. Believe it. I never stopped."
In a loss for words, Shayera simply threw her arms around John's neck. He was momentarily lost, but then realized the gift he had been given. He burrowed his face in her neck and breathed in the familiar scent of her. He held on to her tightly and promised himself that no matter what, he would never let go of her again.
Hours later, they found themselves walking around Detroit and enjoying the decorations put up for the holiday. They were both in civilian clothing and walked arm in arm. The light snow was still falling and everything seemed right. The lights were amazing and well, Shayera was happy.
She had agreed to stay with him till New Year and spend that with him as well. Just as her own wounds were, their relationship was healing. Now, as they walked, Shayera stole a glance at her company.
So much had happened between them. Even before the Invasion. Thoughts of Egypt and a nearly forgotten love filled her mind as Shayera looked up and found a beautiful flower in a tree above them. She stopped walking and John looked up as well.
Shayera nodded. "It is. It's just like…"
"The one from Egypt." He finished for her. Then he smiled. "It's a sign."
She gave him a side glance with a raised brow. He simply smiled at her and continued. "It's probably our version of a mistletoe."
Shayera laughed aloud and began to lean her face towards his. "Want it to be?"
It was John's turn to laugh, and laugh he did. Instead of answering, he did what he had wanted to do since her return. He took her face into his hands and kissed her.
He felt as if he were returning home after a long tour. She felt as if the world was right. The kiss went on as the snow continued to fall and lovers around them rushed to go home and spend the night tucked close together and whisper Christmas wishes and words of love.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him to her tightly. His arms went around her waist. Pulling back, he looked at her with love. "Want to go home?"
Shayera smiled and softly kissed him once more before answering. "I already am."
The two laughed and started to walk towards "home".
At home, John made one of the things that Shayera had missed the most. His version of hot cocoa. The way he made it seemed weird to her, but she loved it. He would first empty a packet of hot cocoa into a large mug, add in one and a half teaspoons, and then would pour in one cup of hot water, after stirring it for a little, he would add in another packet and a large handful of small marshmallows. It smelled like coffee, chocolate, and marshmallows. Smelled like home. As if nothing had happened between them, they went on to do normal things that they had done before.
They cuddled on the couch and watched movies. They sat together under a blanket and shared popcorn. They did what they had been wanting to do for so long.
As another movie ended and John started to get up to pick another, Shayera stopped him. "John?" She asked.
He stopped and looked at her. "Yes Shayera?"
She looked at him for a moment, then thrust herself into his arms. With her mouth at his ear, she whispered the only thing she could think. Well, the only thing she could say without losing her nerve.
Doing the only thing he wanted to do for the rest of his life, John held her tightly. "I'll do anything for you." He whispered into her hair.
"Merry Christmas John."
"Merry Christmas Shayera."
The two heroes clung to each other as if it were their only salvation. Maybe this New Year would be a new start for them. Maybe it was finally time for them to be as they once were. One thing was certain however.
This would be another Christmas that they would remember and cherish for a lifetime.