Fandom: Justice League
Year/Length: 2004/ ~1056 words
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.
Summary: John examines Shay while she sleeps, and considers. One-shot.
Since he had been given his ring John had been told one of two things: either that he was lucky, or that he didn't deserve what he had. After the first few weeks hearing it over and over again had gotten on his nerves, now he tuned it out or laughed at them. They had no idea, living their sheltered little lives and cursing the people protecting them.
Gifts, they called his ring, Diana's strength, Jay's speed, and Shay's flight.
To the populace at large it was the greatest injustice that only a select few should be so gifted. Why couldn't they have it to? Surely they deserved it just as much as those birth or fate had given it to.
John looked down at Shay's back, the pale flesh that concealed muscles strong as iron, and felt old stale anger bubbling in his chest. Gifts, they called it, which should be used for the greater good of the populace, no gratitude needed because it was what the people deserved.
Bullcrap, the lot of it.
Scars ran crisscross over Shay's back, some dark, some pale. They were from all variety of wounds, burns, knifes, and a myriad of other things John didn't like to contemplate.
The human race could lust after the 'gifts' of others all they wanted, but if they were faced with the cold reality of what those 'gifts' entailed John knew they wouldn't want them.
Yes, Shay could fly, and for that she had two huge targets on her back. Enemies gunned for her gorgeous white wings, and so many times he had watched projectiles tear threw them. Her own teammates sometimes harmed her inadvertently. With a sick twist in his stomach he recalled Shay's shocked dismay when Superman had inadvertently lanced threw a wing.
She had told him once, her body shaking from remembered pain, that the most excruciating thing she had ever experienced was when her wings had been frozen solid. He ran his fingers threw the soft feathers, and was rewarded by her stretching her wings in her sleep, arching her back.
So many scars lay beneath the pure white feathers. So many.
She twisted suddenly in her sleep, a low, pained groan tearing from her throat. He shook her slightly, and she burst into wakefulness with a scream she muffled with her pillow. For a moment she was silent, and he turned his head so he wouldn't have to watch her shaking.
They didn't talk about their midnight horrors, though both woke up frequently, shaking and terrified. Some things didn't need to be spoken of, and some things just couldn't be. The things that hunted them in their dreams fit into both categories.
After a moment he felt her still, and she slid from their bed, hurrying to the bathroom before he could see her face and the tears that were there. He rubbed his hands over his face, biting the inside of his cheeks. He always promised himself that someday he would follow her into the bathroom, comfort her, as she deserved to be comforted. It never happened. He doubted it ever would.
They were both so private; so many things in each of their lives had made them cold and self-reliant. It was a bullshit excuse, but he held onto it desperately. He wasn't ready; the emotional attachment would be too much. He was too weak.
The burns on his palms were warm, and he pushed his face into them. Here he was, a Green Lantern, hiding from the emotional distress of a woman he was fairly certain he loved. He stood, moved slowly to the bathroom, and forced himself to step inside.
Shay was bent over the sink, her arms braced on the wall, her forehead resting on the mirror over the sink. Her knuckles were white, her cheeks red from the tears. He hesitated for a moment, and then stepped forward, embraced her tightly from behind, resting his face in the crook between her neck and shoulder. The jagged scar that ran from her ear to shoulder was a different texture from the rest of her skin, and he laid a gentle kiss on it.
"John?" her voice was ragged, he could feel her chest erratically rising and falling. " What...what are you doing?" He turned her in his arms, kissed the salty warm tears off her cheeks. She brought her hands up, rested them cautiously on his shoulders. The raised scars under her hands upset her further; she felt anger mixing with her fear.
"I don't want to do this anymore, Shay, promise me we won't lay in bed and pretend we're not hearing each other cry," he kissed her softly, not knowing where he was finding the nerve to commit himself to this. " Promise me," his breath was warm on her face, it washed away the cold memory of being dragged beneath the waves by a monster with too many arms.
"John, this is not what we are, John," she sounded quiet even to herself, cold, chilled. Talking had never been a part of their relationship, what they knew about each other they knew by intuition. He put his hands on her sides, rubbed circles with his thumbs.
"Maybe this is what we should be," his voice was rough, like the skin on her waist, scarred by barbwire. She met his eyes for the first time, and there was a curiously hopeful gleam in their gray depths. He wanted her to be ready for this, he wanted himself to be.
And then she turned away, pulled away from him and made her way back over to the bed. He could see the stiffness in her shoulders, and when she turned to him her eyes were shaded. "Come to bed, John, I don't want to talk about this anymore,"
He walked over to her, pushed her down and leaned over her, pushing his lips into her neck. He wanted himself to be disappointed, but there was only relief in his chest.
He was to scarred to have anything more than a physical relationship, and so was she.
He hated the people that had made them this way, the people that didn't appreciate what they had sacrificed, but most of all he hated himself for refusing to change.
Some scars just ran too deep.
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