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JLU: In Glass Vases (Hawkgirl & Vixen)

sophia_helix organized femslash05, a multifandom Femslash Ficathon. I was assigned nancybrown, who requested a DC animated story, specifically in the JL universe. I went the Hawkgirl (Shayera Hol) & Vixen (Mari Jiwe McCabe) route, and hopefully this passes muster.

Title: In Glass Vases
Author: voleuse
Fandom: DCU: Justice League Unlimited
Pairing: Hawkgirl & Vixen
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Truth accrues in pieces.
Notes: Spoilers for "Starcrossed" and "Wake the Dead"



i. keeping tight-bolted

Mari first saw the Justice League on television. It was during a show, right before she stepped onto the catwalk. One of the stylists kept a TV backstage, tuned to CNN. Her eye caught by a flash of red and blue, the muted roar of a building crumbling in fire, Mari paused in front of the TV to watch as three figures flew across the screen.

The one that caught her eye, Superman, carried two children in his arms. Beside him flew two others, a man wreathed in green, and a masked woman, wings stretching from her shoulders.

Someone hissed at her to walk through the curtain, but Mari waited for the names of the heroes to appear at the bottom of the screen.

Green Lantern. And Hawkgirl.


ii. the pileup of vulnerabilities

Mari likes playing the role of Vixen. Not just for the rush of adrenaline and sheer power provided by her totem, but also because, once in a while, someone looks her in the eye and says thank you.

None of that, however, means anything when the Thanagarians invade.

It's all innocent at first, of course. She sees their press conference, played on CNN ad infinitum, and she's fascinated by the Thanagarians, the entire army of winged soldiers. It's like something out of the sermons her father used to preach, a scene from the beginning of the world, or the end of it.

When they reveal themselves, take control, she resists, but she's the only one fighting, and the battle is over quickly.


iii. in for the payoff

She's honored by the invitation to join the Justice League, and maybe a little curious. Not many people get to see these heroes up close, and she's been wanting to do just that since she first saw them on TV.

Truth be told, she's a little wary of the rest of the new members, but cooperation appeals to her. She likes being treated with respect because of what she can do, instead of what she's wearing.

When Green Lantern ("Call me John. Please.") sits down across the table from her and smiles, Mari decides she doesn't mind if the outfit gets her noticed, either.


iv. such guiltless honesty

Mari's head is pounding from Grundy's blows, and her arm still throbs, despite the healing. The pain, and the chaos of civilians around them, keep her from scrutinizing non-essentials very closely.

That's how, when the redhead appears and tries to talk to Grundy, Mari doesn't immediately recognize her.

It's when the woman's wings crumple against the brick wall that Mari gasps, recognizes Hawkgirl.

For a second, remembering the horde that patrolled her city, Mari feels a thrill of satisfaction at seeing her struck.

But someone screams in the street behind them, and Mari begins to run again, jump again, until Grundy grabs her and everything constricts.


v. everything comes out even

They argue about Grundy's fate, and she doesn't understand what underlies it. She knows what tensions must exist between the League and Hawkgirl, but there's history, and friendship, as well. It colors everything they say, and she doesn't have the filter to perceive it.

When it's finally over, she sees Hawkgirl's wings droop and, despite herself, she feels sympathetic.

The reporters start shouting, the cameras start flashing, and Mari's surprised when Hawkgirl walks toward them.

When the woman and her daughter thank Hawkgirl, Mari sees the expression in her eyes, and that surprises her, too.


vi. truth accrues in pieces

Mari is sitting down to dinner with Stargirl and Gypsy when she sees a flash of red hair, a swooped wing, across the room.

Sympathy aside, she never expected to see Hawkgirl here, not after her betrayal of the Justice League or, indeed, the planet itself.

Courtney looks at her curiously, so Mari jerks her chin in Hawkgirl's direction. "What's she doing here?"

The others turn to see, and while Courtney raises her eyebrows, Cindy only shrugs.

"Shayera got here a few days ago, I think."

"Shayera?" Mari rolls the name over her tongue.

"I'm surprised they let her back in the Watchtower," Courtney says.

"Me, too," Mari murmurs, and she watches Shayera leave the room. "Me, too."


vii. cuttings left to mold

She doesn't see Shayera for several days after that, though rumors about her begin to spread.

John doesn't say anything about it, but he doesn't speak as easily, any more. Mari knows better than to press him about it.

She travels between Earth and the Watchtower several times a month. Often when she gets to the Watchtower, John is out on a mission, but she has other reasons to be there. First, she checks to see if she's needed for a mission. If not, she catches up with friends in the League, if they happen to be there.

If she has spare time, she visits the gymnasium, spars with someone, or beats up a heavy bag.

One day, she walks into the gym, and Shayera is there, lifting weights.


viii. barb-wired and electrified

They see each other in the gym often, after that day. They exchange names and, eventually, pleasantries. For the most part, they keep to their separate sides of the gym, Shayera with the free weights, Mari with the heavy bag.

One evening, however, Shayera strides to the center of the room, nudges a mat with her foot, and grins at Mari. Takes a fighting stance.

Mari grins back, and accepts the invitation.

Without their respective weapons, Mari thinks they're evenly matched, though Shayera has the advantage of training and experience.

Shayera also has her wings, which buffet Mari, almost gently, but to a distraction. Thus, Shayera bests her twice that night, and in sessions following.

With time, Mari begins to see how she can turn Shayera's strengths against her. She begins to rely more on speed than strength, dodging and rolling away, sweeping under Shayera's wings and swinging her legs around, knocking Shayera off her feet.

Mari begins to win rounds, not many, but often enough.


ix. an open gate is loss of privacy

One night, instead of sparring, Mari and Shayera commandeer a table and toast each other, instead. They don't have much in common, but they fall deep into conversation, regardless. They talk about the League, about favorite foods, about the benefit of masks to superheroes.

"Looks like you two are getting along."

Mari doesn't startle, deliberately, and turns her head to see John standing behind her. "I didn't know you were back."

"Mission went well." John hesitates, then sits down next to Mari. Nods to Shayera. "You doing okay?"

"Yes." Shayera's manner, open just a minute ago, is formal. Clipped. She stands. "Good night."

Mari watches Shayera walk away, mentally confirms one of the rumors that she had never asked about. She turns to John, and finds him watching Shayera, too.

He breaks his gaze, looks at Mari. "How are you?" He slides his lips against her cheek.

"Good." She places her hand over his. Waits.

"I didn't know you and Shayera talked." There isn't accusation in his tone, just curiosity.

Mari shrugs, sips from her cup. "I like her."

John looks her in the eye, and smiles. Genuinely.

And that, Mari thinks, will have to do for now.


###

A/N: Title, summary, and headings adapted from Clearing the Yard by Emily Rosko. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.
And thanks to Justice League Resource for the background information on Vixen.

Originally linked here and here. Linked on jl_fic.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
nancybrown
Mar. 19th, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oh! This is perfect!! I love the rare fictions that present Mari as a normal woman rather than an obstacle to be overcome. You have a great handle on the characters, give Vixen a unique voice, and prove that the two of them don't just have to be about the man they're both involved with.

Thank you for this lovely gift.
voleuse
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
Oh, good! I'm absolutely thrilled that you liked it. Vixen's a tough one, because we don't have a lot of information on her, so finding her voice was a challenge. I'm glad it worked out.
neadods
Mar. 21st, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
You did great in giving her a voice. And more importantly, a personality that doesn't limit her to "kicks ass and humps John." Since that's probably all JLU Animated will ever give her.
zulu
Mar. 20th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
Hee. I have no idea what's going on, but that's okay. I like the slow growth of the relationship, the way feelings can change over time--which, by the way, you've expressed admirably here by separating the story into sections--and the way you show the obstacles between them without ever telling us what the issues are.
voleuse
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks for reading it! I'm glad it made sense, even if you aren't familiar with the fandom.
caiusmajor
Mar. 21st, 2005 05:16 am (UTC)
Mmmm. I like this! Fic exploring JLU!Vixen, giving her *depth*, and even a friendship with Shayera!
voleuse
Apr. 6th, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's a great universe to explore.
dotfic
Mar. 27th, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
This was a great fresh perspective on Vixen.
voleuse
Apr. 6th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
raiining
Aug. 31st, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Oh well done! Just watched Wake the Dead and felt I needed this. Excellent.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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