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Comfort and Joy, Again.

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“And I really think it would mean a lot to everyone to have you there. I mean, Christmas is for family and friends, right? And you're kind of both—you're like the big sister I never had, and Batman said he'd have the party catered so long as Supes agreed to give him monitor duty so he didn't have to go, but I'm betting we can drag him in for a few carols or something anyway, so do you want to go with me?”

Shayera blinked at Wally a few times. “...Can you repeat that? A little slower this time?”

He made a face. “Sorry. The League Christmas party's tonight. Did you want to come with me? Not as dates or anything,” he added quickly. “But I'm not going with anyone, and if you're not either, I thought it would be cool if we showed up together.”

She shook her head slowly. “Wally... I don't believe in Christmas. You know that, right? We don't have holidays like that on Thanagar.”

“Yeah, I know. John told me once how you guys spent that Christmas after we stopped those two planets from crashing into each other.” He shrugged a little. “But it's still an excuse to eats Bats' food, and hang out with each other while we're not getting beat up or saving the world. What's so bad about that?”

She opened her mouth to say no, but then she really saw the expression on his face. She cursed inwardly. There was no way she could say no to that. “Fine,” she said, and watched his face break out into a bright smile. ...She really wasn't going to be able to stand him up, with him looking at her like that. “But just for a little while.”

“Great!” He shot her another grin. “See you around seven!” And he was gone in a blur of red and gold. She shook her head a little. Only Wally could have gotten her to agree to something like this. Fine. She'd go with him and stay for an hour. Maybe. Then she'd see if she could get Batman to let her join him on monitor duty.


Shayera leaned against a wall, watching Wally zip around the room, talking to and flirting with various other League members. She'd come with him—as promised—and had even managed to keep a straight face when he showed up in a truly horrible Christmas sweater that he'd said his mother had made for him. It was an eye-searingly bright red that clashed with his hair, and it came complete with flashing lights and glued on puffballs. It was hard to look at him without bursting into laughter, actually, but she thought she'd done admirably—and her hour was nearly up. She started edging slowly toward the door.

“Going so soon?” came an amused voice from beside her.

She turned to see John smiling at her. There were no hideous Christmas sweaters for him. Instead, he wore a dark green jacket over a black shirt and jeans. Still a Green Lantern, but more casual for the party atmosphere. She had to admit, it looked good. Mari must have made some suggestions. She glanced around, but the other woman was across the room, in a conversation with Dinah.

She shrugged a little and gave John a slightly wry smile. “I don't exactly blend in at things like this,” she told him. “I thought I'd see if I could take over for Batman so that he could come to the party for a little while. Maybe if he makes an appearance, Wally won't make him sing carols.”

John laughed. “I don't know. Wally's pretty persistent.”

“So is Batman.”

“Well, I guess we'll have to see who can out persist who, then. Personally, I'm betting on Wally.”

Shayera smiled back at him. Privately, she was, too. After all, he'd managed to get her here, despite her resolve to avoid the party completely. Convincing Batman to join in the festivities shouldn't be that much more of a stretch. “So how is Mari?” she asked, nodding to where the other woman was still making her rounds of the other heroes.

John blinked at her a few times in surprise. “I... You haven't heard.”

It wasn't a question, and Shayera frowned. “Haven't heard what?” she asked.

“Mari and I... aren't together anymore,” he said. He shrugged, obviously a little uncomfortable. “It was as friendly as these things get, but we're both giving each other some space to let the dust settle before we try to be friends again.”

She stared at him in shock. “But I thought things were going pretty all right for you two.”

“Yeah, well...” If it was possible, he looked even more uncomfortable. “She seems to think that I... might not be entirely over my ex.”

She blinked rapidly, trying to assimilate his words. That... hadn't been what she'd expected. Different lifestyles, maybe, or the amount of time he had to be off planet as a Green Lantern, but... “Your ex?” she managed finally.

He nodded, and if she didn't know him better, she'd think he was blushing. “She said she thought I should work out what I was feeling for her and... see where that took me.”

“Did she?” Shayera's mouth felt very dry.

He gave her a small, almost nervous-looking smile. “Can we go somewhere and talk?”

She nodded, smiling faintly in return. “I'd like that.”


Wally raced through the Watchtower, his sweater flashing brightly in a blur of light as he tried to find John and Shayera. They weren't going to believe it. He wouldn't even have believed it if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes, but he'd actually managed to get Batman to come to the party for a few minutes—and he was singing. Grudgingly, of course, but he was actually doing it. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.

And they were missing it.

He started throwing doors open at random, and skidded to a stop when he caught sight of a something in a supply closet. It took him a—relative--moment to understand what he was seeing, and when he did, he stared. It was John and Shayera, of course. They were all but wrapped around each other, completely oblivious to the rest of the world. He shook himself out of his shock, and shut the door quietly. It had only been opened a split second; he doubted they had noticed his presence at all.

He grinned a little to himself. Mission accomplished. John had been trying to figure out how to talk to Shayera for weeks, but really, all it had taken was both of them being in the same place at the same time—which had been a lot easier to arrange than he'd expected.

He hummed quietly to himself as he headed back toward the party. He'd only been gone a minute at most. Maybe he'd be back in time to talk Bats into an encore.