John's lost count how many nights he's lain awake, mentally reviewing every interaction. It doesn't matter that Hawkgirl - he uses her code name to distance himself - fooled them all, even Bruce. It doesn't matter that he and the League had sent the Thanagarians packing and cleaned up the mess. It doesn't matter that the expected reprimand from the Guardians never came.
It's still his fault. He was her teammate, her friend, then her lover. He should have realized that she had another agenda. But he knows better now. John Stewart won't be played for a fool again.
So he shaves his head and grows a beard, changing his outward appearance to match his inward resolve. He and Bruce conduct the Mother of All Background Checks on all prospective League members. He repeats Mari's once they start becoming more than teammates, and once again she comes out pure as the driven snow.
Time passes. Late at night, over a bourbon, sometimes he still wonders whether Shayera was telling the truth after all, when she said she loved him. He reminds himself it doesn't matter, he's moved on, he's happy. Only a fool would dwell on the past.
Then he sees Shayera in the elevator, wearing a pink dress he's never seen before, and he can't stop looking at her. At that moment, he'd give anything to be the man she's dolled herself up to meet. He forces himself to picture Mari in pink, and catches himself wishing she had red hair, wondering who's fooling whom.
Also inspired by a line from the song "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin: "A fool off his guard could fall and fall hard."
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.