"Razer, may I speak with you for a moment." She didn't phrase it as a question. When she used that tone of voice he knew arguing would be pointless.
"Of course, Aya." He nearly jumped when he turned to her; he'd nearly forgotten about her new 'cosmetic modifications'. "What is it?"
"Earlier, when you first saw my new decorative markings you seemed…upset by them. I know that in the past you were perturbed by my curiosity about such modifications and designs. Have I offended you by accepting them?"
He blinked. After all this time and she still thought that she was the problem, not him. Not the Red Lantern who murdered thousands of innocent beings. Not the Red Lantern who constantly pushed away everyone who attempted to befriend him out of some sense of deserved punishment for his sins. Not the man who felt that his ever-strengthening emotions for the AI were a betrayal of the worst kind of the first woman he'd ever loved.
Razer stared at her for a long moment. His gaze traced the swirls of luminescent paint that traveled over her cheeks and down her neck, the lines of tiny dots that arched over and around her eyes. He'd always thought her beautiful since the day she's created her physical body; there was no denying that. But now, standing before him adorned in sacred marks and garb bestowed upon her by a benevolent tribe of still-unknown beings… She was nothing short of breathtaking. If only he could tell her as much.
"Aya," he whispered, the gloom of his quarters pressing upon him as he stepped towards her. He gently took one of her hands in his, keeping his eyes on the designs painted on her fingers; he was certain he would lose his nerve if he looked anywhere else. "My markings are deeply personal for me. I earned them in the custom of my people. You have earned these-" he lightly traced a flowing line of glowing white from her fingertip to knuckle "-and should wear them with pride…if you decide to keep them, of course." A sudden burst of courage brought his head up to meet her eyes. "Don't worry about what anyone else thinks of what you look like. You're…" He cut himself off when he realized just what he was saying. The word perfect almost left his lips. That would have been awkward. He looked down to the floor again and released her hand. "Anyway, that's just my opinion."
Aya tilted her head. "That does not quite answer my query, Razer. Have I offended you by accepting them?"
He sighed, mostly out of exasperation with himself for not being as eloquent with females as Hal. "No, Aya. I'm not offended in the slightest."
She smiled at him then, a smile with more than a hint of mischief behind those luminous eyes. "That is good…because I quite like them and have no intention of removing them any time soon."
He almost laughed at the impish playfulness in her voice. "And the gown?" He brushed the edge of the flowing fabric with the tips of his fingers. It hadn't escaped his notice that the designs on the hem were a telling red and green, both shades entwining and separating as they travelled the length of the dress.
"Seeing as it does not interfere with my duties aboard the Interceptor, I would like to wear it when my services are not required elsewhere."
"I am certain that Hal and Kilowog would not object." Aya graced him with one more smile, then turned to exit his quarters, her question answered and the conversation ended. "Aya," he found himself calling. He fumbled for words while she waited with unerring patience at his door. He was no poet, so the best he could manage was a soft "You look beautiful."
Her eyes sparkled and her smile widened minutely. She looked so happy that he couldn't stop the tiny smile that crept onto his lips. "Thank you, Razer." She turned to leave again, but stopped when a thought struck her. "You also look beautiful."
Razer stood staring at his for a long moment after she'd already departed. Well, that wasn't exactly the response he'd expected, but he'd take it.