Title: Falling Into Place
Fandom: Justice League Unlimited
Characters: Shayera Hol, Batman
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Warner Brothers/DC; concepts belong to me.
Author's Notes: set just after Shayera's return
I was on the edge
Of a distant world
A shattered life
With no where left to turn
Till I saw you there
There is no day or night in space. Or perhaps, if darkness indicates night, it is never day in space. Never day, always, endless night. Despite this the Watchtower, suspended in orbit and firmly planted in daylight-less space, follows Earth's twenty-four hour schedule of day and night. The lights dim when evening approaches and rise with the morning sun though its light does not cut the darkness nor curl back the night. Simulated sunrise to simulate time, for what is time but an imposition of order? It is day because we say it is day not by any measure of sunlight. No matter where we are or what sun or suns might rise.
At night she misses Thanagar most; at night she misses Earth.
It is either very late or very early but Shayera is not asleep, nor even sleepy. She is in an empty work room, nothing but mats on the floor; at the moment it is her favorite place to be found. Her apartment is mostly bare as well, but here she is free to hit hard and call it exercise. Here, anyone watching assumes she is busy and moves on without an attempt at awkward conversation. She has been back weeks but still voices quiet and eyes dart when she enters a common room. She is not ostracized, but isolated. She is not angry, but proud. And underneath pride, she is lonely. Better to focus on physical strength.
She has never been in better shape.
It is either very late or very early, and even in the work room the lights are dimmed. She has not adjusted them, preferring to dance in the dark. She feints and thrusts, kicks and spins, punches air and leaps with evident grace. She is, has been, the avenging angel, wings as much a part of her self as any other body part. In this dance she is real. The stretch and curl, the sweat and pain, it drives her on - faster, harder, again. She feints and thrusts, kicks and spins, punches air and leaps, and hits him square in the chest.
Shayera looks up, blinks twice. She is unsurprised she did not hear his entrance; no one ever does. She is unsurprised, but disconcerted. He does not live on the Watchtower and spends the nights away. Whatever they may accomplish during waking hours, his nights belong to Gotham. The chatter says he sleeps less than three hours a night - or day - and she would be unsurprised at that as well. Beneath their differences he is equally isolated and proud; lonely is perhaps less clear. She is unsurprised, but disconcerted. He gives her no chance to ponder the appearance, however; he joins her dance.
The exercise is better done with two opposing combatants. With little mental effort they are in sync and neither holding back. Every strike is returned, every hit rebounded. They move about the room, together, opposed - not speaking except with blows yet understanding grows with each hit. They dance in silence until finally he grips her bare arm, she feels it straining, nearly broken and cries out once.
Wings unfurl by instinct and he is pulled off the ground but even in flight he remains in control. He twists until his grip forces her down, landing with a thud on her wings, on her back, his body pressing her down into the mat. Tears spring to her eyes; she bites down hard on her lip and tastes blood in her mouth but she does not make another sound. She stares up into her opponent's eyes, shielded by the mask, masked by the shields he put in place so many years ago he's forgotten how it feels to let them down. He holds her gaze a long moment, releases and stands to offer her a hand up.