“Ice cream?” He asks her- even if it’s not really a question, as he already offers her a small cup as he goes to sit at her side on the porch of his place; they don’t speak for the longest time. And they don’t even eat the sweet- they let it melt, him looking at her, Chris looking the cup in her hands in complete silence, her gaze far away- another place, and mostly, another time, he guesses.
“You don’t ask me if something’s wrong with me’” She asks as she pouts like a baby. Something that, well past thirty (just like him), she isn’t any longer.
“Pretty bird, you’ve been sitting since four in the morning in my porch. Of course there’s something wrong with you.”
She quizzically looks at her friend and confident, as he plays with a n arrow his daughter had left out there the previous evening; she isn’t a child any longer- she is a teenager, and she is now in the business as well, doesn’t matter if daddy doesn’t like it. Besides, it’s not like he can put an end to her super-heroing career, not when’s been a teenage sidekick himself.
“How do you know I’ve been there since four?” She asks as she abandons the porcelain glass- the ice-cream isn’t edible any longer. Which is sad, because he always has the best ice-cream.
He chuckles. “I went to the bathroom -I saw you from the window, pretty bird.”
She pouts, whispering and hissing something in the line of, It’s Blackdragon, and dragons aren’t bird, you idiot.
He bumps her playfully in the shoulder. (which sort of hurts, because it’s not with his good arm, but with the bionic one, the one she made for him and at first look seems a human one) searching for the first time for her eyes; he and Chris may be not have the history she has with other people, but despite everything they managed to become good friends and confidents -maybe because neither one of them had been there to see the other walk through the mud, they hadn’t seen each other at their lowest.
Chris sighs- again and again and again. And it’s almost like she was whining, when she lets herself fall back, and her head hits the wooden floor with a soft thund, he hears a noise coming from inside the house, and he turns back to check who it is, and that’s when he sees Donna at the doorstep, smiling at him and waving, just to get back inside once she understands that it’s just Chris needing a shoulder to cry on.
(She’s been the mother hem before- she knows how these things go. She can handle her boyfriend doing the same. Especially for Chris.)
Roy Harper, friend and super-hero, clears his throat dramatically. “Ok, you know that I’m not a telepath. So… what’s wrong?”
Chris turns to look at him, she sniffs and sighs and then she is looking again at the ceiling, and she is not answering. And then, she opens her mouth as to speak, but she stops, and she does so again and again and again for what feels like an eternity.
She’d like to tell him she has done something stupid, but she knows it’s not the case; like she knows it’s not a mistake; instead, she simply asks him, “Do you think that it will go away? The pain… the guilt?” She asks him, looking at the ceiling.
Roy doesn’t say something diabetes-inducing, nor he sweet-talk her; he knows Chris, Chris knows him, and it’s not their thing. He isn’t even her anchor, just like her “former” archer was- the late Clint Barton from Earth 4. Roy Harper, former Red Arrow, now back to Arsenal, is simply the guy who listens without judging, because, frankly, he did way too much damage in his life to even just think about criticizing someone else.
Chris closes her eyes and takes a big breath; then she compose herself, and sits on the steps of the porch, looking at her own house, where her son is sleeping peacefully, and where she just… where she spent the night, for the first time in years, with a man who wasn’t Clint- her husband, the father of her child.
Her eyes goes to her bedroom, and Roy falls her gaze, he sees where it’s landing and he gets the whole situation. “Ah.” He simply states. There’s nothing else to add. He has no intention of lecturing her, or telling her she shouldn’t be seeing Hal Jordan because the guy is an ass; Chris is a grown-up who can takes care of herself, beside, since the first time he saw the two of them together, Roy had understood that this scenario was inevitable.
“The first time you and Hal slept together you were a widow too. What’s the difference?”
“I know. It’s just that… back then it was an end-of-the-world-one-night-stand. Now…”
“You are falling in love again. That’s why you feel guilty. Because you are loving someone who’s not the father of your child.” Roy puts an arm around her shoulders- the one she gave him. Which is somehow fitting, he thinks. “I know what I’m talking about- and the mother of my child is a mass-murderer who’s still alive. And yet, I still feel guilty. I can’t even fathom what you may be feeling, with Clint being a super-hero who died protecting you.”
The lights in her bedroom is turned on, and, although reluctantly, Chris stands, still clad in her white and pink pyjama. “Say hi to Donna from me?”
“Sure, pretty bird.” He walks her to her door- not because he thinks she needs him to, but because he still has a couple of things to say. “Listen, if something goes wrong, if you get wind that Hal is even just contemplating breaking your heart… tell him I’ll kick his ass, all right?”
She kisses Roy on the cheek and goes back inside; the light in her kitchen is on, and when Hal offers her coffee, she takes it- and smiles.
Maybe she’s been alone long enough.
Maybe, moving on it’s the right thing to do. She doesn’t know- she just knows that it feels natural. And right. Especially with Hal.