An/ This one is set somewhere after the Imperium Invasion and just after the events of War World. Felt like writing something Pre-JLU since I don't go there enough.

Anyway, hope you like this one.

Sparring

Today was an easy day, a rare one but an easy one none the less. For the first time in Oa knew how long, John Stewart finally had some time to himself. There was no Lantern business that required his presence in space and there was thankfully nothing too dramatic happening on the Earth. He wouldn't have monitor duty until tomorrow and he was thankful for that if nothing else, it was certainly his least favourite job. With all of this in mind the resident Green Lantern decided that it was an excellent opportunity to check out the Watchtower's facilities and perhaps even press some weights. These days he didn't get a lot of time to really work out and keep himself at his physical peak.

Regardless of the relaxed condition of the day, John continued to walk with an air of military about him, a Marine at heart even down to his mannerisms. However, despite this his shoulders slumped when he arrived at the gymnasium discovering that he hadn't been the only one with a workout in mind today. It didn't take the world's greatest detective to figure out that the war cries that sounded within belonged to Hawkgirl and John couldn't help but groan at the thought. That woman drove him crazy. Her attitude alone was enough without her obsession with irrational violence as well. John had lost count just how many times it had been that he had reprimanded her and scolded her over her hit first and ask questions later approach to her work.

John sighed. Maybe he should just come back later.

Trouble was he didn't know if he'd get another chance to try out the gym, not only that but when he considered the situation, it might prove to be an ideal opportunity to try and find some equal ground with her. They were supposed to be teammates after all and the animosity between them just wouldn't benefit the team as a whole. Mind made up at last the Green Lantern took a deep calming breath, mentally preparing himself before he finally committed to entering.

The Gymnasium was an impressive room, segmented with one area devoted to exercise equipment and the other a completely matted area for sparring. John guessed that the sparring area was probably the more popular part of the room having often heard Diana mentioning her matches in there with Superman and Hawkgirl. Across at the further end Hawkgirl was busy pummeling a punch-bag within an inch of its life, the thing swinging wildly with every strike. From what John could see it was close to either swinging back and hitting her or wrenching itself completely free from the ceiling.

"Looks like you could use someone to hold that for you." John offered as he entered the room. He walked in, glancing around a little more before he settled his gaze upon her and her continued beating of the helpless punch bag. He noticed now that she was dressed in a pair of shorts and a tank top, her helmet finishing the peculiar look. It seemed odd but for the first time since John had met her, he noticed how…womanly her figure was. He hadn't really thought of her that way or even looked at her that way. She was always so aggressive and ill-tempered, John spent most of his time trying to avoid her.

"I'm fine." She retorted "I don't need any help."

John tensed his shoulders slightly, finding her snarky attitude grating "Fine, but you'd have an easier time hitting it if it was still."

She shot him a scathing glance, the expression enhanced by her mask "Who asked you anyway?" The bag swung back towards her and even with her eyes on the Green Lantern she slapped it aside with apparent ease "Don't you have something more important to do?"

John held her gaze defiantly, a frown on his face and the crevice dug between his eyebrows "I could think of a dozen things I'd rather be doing, than standing here having a verbal sparring match with you."

"Well go and do them then," She replied dismissively and turning back to her punch bag "I wouldn't want to keep you."

John didn't budge an inch, instead he merely folded his arms across the Lantern symbol on his chest and glared at her "The fact is Hawkgirl, we're supposed to be part of a team."

She punched the bag again sending it swinging madly "Really?" She drawled "I hadn't noticed."

"Now listen here." John wagged a finger in her direction, his patience wearing thin "What exactly is your problem?"

Once again the punch bag swung in the air from the momentum of her strikes and even as he questioned her, he stepped forward and made a grab for the bag. Timing it right, he managed to grasp a hold on it and held it steady in front of him ready to brace it and stop it from swinging around. Hawkgirl didn't waste a moment before she punched it again and John felt the impact right down to his bones, the wind knocking out of him and making him release an oof despite himself.

"I don't have a problem." She supplied before giving the bag a kick "You are the one with the problem."

John braced for another impact to the bag "If you weren't so irrational there wouldn't be a problem."

"So you admit that you have a problem." Hawkgirl paused on her attack of the bag a look close to triumph on her face.

"No!" John snapped frustrated "Why are you so damned difficult? I only wanted to try and get us on the same page." He fixed his gaze on her from around the bag "We have to work together, the safety of everyone could depend on it."

Hawkgirl thumped the bag "You really are full of yourself."

John was exasperated "Fine," He released the bag giving it a little shove towards her "You know what? Forget it. I haven't got time to mess around trying to get through that thick head of yours."

"No thicker than yours." She countered with a snarl. Apparently she didn't take kindly to such comments. She set her fists on her hips, glaring at him darkly "How about we settle this properly?" In her culture such disagreements were settled with battle rather than pointless back and forth conversation.

John raised a wary eyebrow "What do you suggest?"

She smirked and John felt his stomach lurch, Oa knew what she had in mind and frankly a good part of him didn't want to know.

"A sparring match," She stated "Best two out of three has to get off the other's back…and," She raised her finger emphasising her next point "They have to take their monitor duties for the next month." She hated the damned monitor duties. She couldn't imagine anything more boring and mind numbing than staring at a bunch of screens for hours on end.

John frowned uncertain of whether he thought violence was a good substitute for conversation in this case, more so wondering if he wanted to risk pulling double monitor duty for the next month. Reluctantly he finally agreed.

"No weapons." He said "I won't use the ring, and you can't use the mace."

"Deal," She shrugged nonchalantly "It's not like I need it anyway."

"Don't get too confident." John warned her "I don't need the ring either." He wished he was as confident in that statement as he sounded, but lately he really had been growing troubled over the ring and its place in his life.

Both of them made their way to the expanse of matted flooring, the two of them standing a good distance apart, squaring off. John's stance was like that of a boxer, his weight however was distributed on either foot rather than the balls of his feet, his shoulders slightly hunched and his guard up. Hawkgirl seemed to prowl around him like a predator, her stance was coiled and tense, her weight though in contrast to John, on the balls of her feet, ready to surge forward when she was confident of her prey. For the first match John had decided that he was going to let her have the first move, he hadn't fought with her face to face before and frankly, he had hardly seen her fight without the mace. He wanted to see what she could do first.

When their eyes met he deepened his concentration while she grinned with a hunter's gleam in her eyes, she really did have a passion for fighting that could only be rivalled by Diana's. She took the first move and swung at him with a right hook which he dodged, leaning back and letting it pass him harmlessly. In the same breath she rounded on him with a left which would have taken his head off if he hadn't have blocked it. None the less he felt the impact jar his arm and he attempted to counter, aiming to either push her back or pin her in a lock. He certainly wasn't about to hit her. It seemed however that she detected this restraint and decided to use it to her own advantage. It wasn't her problem if Earthmen had an obsession with thinking of their female counterparts as weak. She was no damsel in distress and she could easily take care of herself, she didn't need the self-righteous Green Lantern to look out for her. Warily he moved closer to her trying to get close enough that she wouldn't be able to punch him easily, but the Thanagarian had other things in mind. She feinted another strike aiming for his head and letting him block, her next action was to fluently roll her wrist and grab the arm that had blocked her, twisting it and kicking him in the ribs. To her satisfaction he let out a gasp just before she let go of his arm and punched him solidly in the jaw, sending him flying backwards and onto the mat, flat on his back.

It was a moment or two before he dubiously sat up and dabbed at his now split lip. She had an impressive right hook that was for sure, they would have loved her in the Marines.

"At this rate we won't need to bother with another round." Hawkgirl gloated "I'm looking forward to my monitor duty-free month."

John got to his feet and dusted himself off "I'm not done yet." He assured her.

"Hm, well would you prefer it if I held back a little?" She taunted him now, quite pleased with herself. She had gotten much too much satisfaction out of hitting him. The man infuriated her and completely grated on her nerves. It was made worse by the fact that she couldn't quite pinpoint exactly what it was about him that irritated her, regardless she would be more than happy if she got to hit him at least one more time.

He shook his head at her offer "There wouldn't be much point to that would there?" He smiled at her, a strangely genuine one. It seemed he thought that they were finally making some progress. True she had just socked him but she seemed to be enjoying herself and maybe it was at least a step towards them tolerating each other.

She had to admit that she respected him for that. She was by nature stronger than him and yet he wasn't willing to have her go easy on him. Regardless though, her response was to snort before she settled back into her battle-ready position on the mat.

"Come on tough guy."

This time as they circled one another, John decided that he would take the first move. In the last match he had managed to gauge her strength and her general fighting style, she liked close combat and it would benefit him to keep back from her and only enter her space for quick attacks. Not only that but her strength would now be his, he didn't need to be stronger than her to best her, he need only manipulate her strength to his favour. Plan made, John made as if to strike her knowing full well that she would dodge him, and he bounced backward when she went to counter. For a few minutes he continued this practice, entering her circle, attacking, letting her block or dodge and jumping back out again before she could counter. She noticeably grew frustrated with this approach. As he had predicted her frustration led her to lunge forward, all of her momentum rushing towards him, all he needed to do was counter her at just the right moment as she surged towards him. She reached him and performed a leaping kick which he avoided before she spun and aimed a punch downward towards his shoulder, she was in the air. The moment was perfect. John countered, grasping her forearm and upper arm in both of his hands before he dropped towards the floor and flung her over his shoulder sending her careening to the ground.

Hawkgirl landed awkwardly on her back, her legs in the direction of the opposing wall while her head was pointed towards her opponent. It took her a number of moments to sit up having landed on her wings and had ultimately experienced a sharp surging pain down her back as a result. Truth be told she was surprised that he wasn't treating her wings as a big bulls-eye like all the bad guys did. Still she was annoyed that he had bested her even if it was going to be the only time. She wasn't stupid and she wouldn't fall for the same move twice.

John was quite proud of himself, certain as he was that he had heard her growl angrily in annoyance "What was that you were saying earlier, Hawkgirl?" He chuckled to himself amused as she stood up and glared at him.

"I hope you enjoy monitor duty, Green Lantern, because you're going to be doing a lot of it."

"Why don't you just give in and call me John like everyone else?" He saw her expression change for just a fraction of a second before she frowned again "Or at least call me GL. Green Lantern is a bit of a mouthful especially if we're fighting 'bad guys', as you call them."

"Shut up." She snapped at him, bringing her guard up "I'll call you whatever I want."

John merely smiled. He had to confess that she was spirited. He wouldn't say out loud, but he liked that in a woman.

For the third time the two of them circled one another, John intent and concentrated, Hawkgirl frowning and aggravated. This would be the decider and would determine who would be taking the awful amount of monitor duties for the next thirty days. When Hawkgirl approached him this time she was careful not to let him manipulate her actions, instead she kept her movements sharp and powerful but didn't commit herself to them so much as to allow him to use it to his benefit. They traded a few strikes, John still holding back which by this point only angered her further.

"I'm not some weak human woman," She told him firmly "I can take whatever you can give."

John smirked "I imagine you can."

Hawkgirl's eyes widened a moment, was he…flirting with her? "Well…don't forget it." She retorted if a little flustered. Damn him, how dare he flirt with her with that stupid look in his eyes and that adorable little smile and…damn him! Adorable? What the hell was she thinking?

Her guard weakened, John did make to strike her, with meaning this time. She wondered when she deftly knocked his attack aside if he had done it to make a point or if he had done it to test her. She was beginning to think that she was giving this whole situation much too much thought. However, she saw an opening and determined to put this sparring session at an end, she took it. Lunging forward she planned her attack and committed to it, hoping that she had at least surprised him and would ultimately be successful. John though saw it coming and countered, at least, he attempted to. Instead Hawkgirl's foot got caught amongst his and he fell backward, bringing her with him. Unable to do anything about it the two of them had no choice but to let themselves land on the mat. John landed first, the air being knocked out of him when she landed on top of him. His fingers were still wrapped about her arm where he had begun his counter attack and his other had somehow found its way around her waist. He supposed it was some kind of gesture of protection, not having wanted to hurt her when they fell.

Winded and dazed having hit the back of his head on the mat, John grimaced. His shoulder was throbbing from where the beak of her mask had jabbed him painfully upon landing.

"Hawkgirl? Are you alright?" He asked dubiously, she hadn't moved an inch and her face was still nestled in his shoulder "Hawkgirl?"

"What?" She demanded angrily before she suddenly sat up and nearly pecked his eye out with her mask "What the hell are you doing?"

He raised an eyebrow "What do you mean what am I doing?" He argued "What are you doing?"

"I'm not doing anything!" She snapped.

"Well while you're busy not doing anything, how about you get off of me?" He couldn't help it, he was smiling now.

At that moment John was absolutely certain that her cheeks flushed red, was Hawkgirl blushing? This was too good to be true, the fearless warrior of Thanagar's cheeks were flushing with embarrassment, perhaps it was because she had finally realised that she was sitting astride him.

Her glare could slice through metal "Take that smile off of your face!" She punched him in the ribs, winding him a third time that afternoon and got up onto her feet. "You are taking my monitor duties. Got it?"

John sat up and rested on his elbows "Got it." He confirmed having decided that she was actually quite interesting once he got used to that brash attitude of hers. He appreciatively watched her stalk off and as she disappeared into the ladies changing rooms he called out to her.

"Hey Hawkgirl?"

"What do you want, Lantern?" She shouted back sounding livid.

John grinned, so she had finally decided on what is was she would call him "You've got a mean right hook."

He couldn't see her but she was smiling. Maybe the Green Lantern wasn't so bad after all? She continued to smile to herself as she got changed into her uniform, the smile never fading until she saw him again later that day…scowling at him so as not to let him know that she just maybe liked him.

Only a little.

An/ Only a tiny amount, right? :P

In this one I'm interested to know what you guys think of how I've written Shayera here, I don't often venture to pre-JLU Shayera and she is vastly different in that time zone. So if you can, let me know. It'll help me later on since I'd like to write more for this area in time. Thanks everyone for reading and/or reviewing so far, I really, really appreciate it no end. :D