She truly had to think rationally now. She had to come to terms with her past before she told her stories to anyone. The worst act of violence she ever did in her life was in her early career in the military, as a simply soldier...a raw recruit. Nothing fancy or anything. It was an unfortunate accident but it was one that she could have easily avoided.
She had killed a child.
That was a fact, albeit unknown to others. A piece of her history that she could never change. All she could do was try to put it behind her, hide the thought of it in the darkest corner of her mind and try to forget about it. Where she could safely ignore it and deal with her day to day life.
But like many of her unwanted thoughts, it tended to pop up when she least expected or wanted it to. Mostly in the form of nightmares.
Shayera stared down, watching Detroit's streets below her, as the phrase uncoiled from its forbidden corner of her mind to wrap itself around the rest.
"I killed a child." She said quietly to herself.
There was not much she could do to distract herself from the notion when it crept up on her like this. Not even hanging around with Wally and listening to his corny jokes could help her at this point. Her cold emerald eyes glared at the ground below as she watched humans gawk in her direction. Her right fingers limply brushed against her stomach as she sighed.
She shook herself in an attempt to dislodge herself from her trace, which she managed to do long enough to make sure she was still headed in the general direction that she wanted. Her left hand came forth to lay over her abdomen. Then she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the windows of a building and froze.
Yes, there she was. A short-statured woman of obvious Thanagarian heritage. Her piercing stare was looking back at her...condemning her. Since then her Hawkgirl mask and military helmet had been replaced by her unveiled face. They used to hide her emotions from others, even herself. Still, the impression hurt...
How long had it been since then? Really it didn't matter to her in the slightest bit right now. All she knew was that she would never get over it.
It felt like it had been no time ago at all yet it also felt like it had been a lifetime since. That one day on the planet of Rann would change and shape her life forever. The war was meaningless to begin with. All the Thanagarians wanted was Rannian technology, mainly their data on Zeta-Beams. Shayera personally found out why they wanted it later on.
Her eyes managed to focus on a few people beyond the glass, they looked petrified as though she was going to attack them, and with a heavy sigh, she resumed flying. She missed the times when people would run towards her, asking for autographs, even if she found it annoying back then. She missed being loved by the people.
How had time changed her. She certainly was no longer the killer of her youth, trained to be efficient, tidy, leaving no loose ends whatsoever. That didn't mean there weren't still traces of Lieutenant Shayera Hol in her. She was still just as observant, just as particular about the way things were. Back then she had something.../someone/...to distract her from all that. Something more efficient than those weekly sessions with the military psychologist to squash any lust for murder and torture outside of battle.
It had not been the battles that had changed her. Far from it. It was the drilling and lies.
She should have been condemned to death for murdering an innocent Rannian child but she wasn't. She had been seen as a hero amongst her people, something she didn't believe but went with it. Her act lead to the Thanagarians bombing shelters where the Rannians were hiding their young. Their thoughts were that there would be no future retaliation if the Rannian child were all gone. Now that she thought of it she hadn't meant for that to happen. So technically she murdered more than one child if she got real technical.
"Yeah I'm mother of the flippin' year already." She muttered.
More importantly, she had become the prize specimen that the military wanted. Someone willing to sacrifice lives in order to win, or at least that's what they thought and saw at first. After all of that recognition she was free to do as she pleased as long as she put up with their psychological followings and the psychologist was easy to manipulate.
Her talents had made Commander Hro Talak notice her. Then of course she was singled out for 'special training'. He was easier to deal with than the stupid psychologist. Some of their one-on-one sessions were quite interesting to say the least. She was then trained in espionage and she easily passed the training with flying colors. Not long after that she was made lieutenant, second-in-command behind Hro himself, and began to teach new recruits and even veteran soldiers in espionage herself.
And let there be no mistake here, at this point in her career, Shayera never felt any remorse for her actions. She never remembered the faces of the people she killed. She never had nightmares full of guilt. For her, it had all been nothing more nor less than a way of life, a profession. One she had been damn good at, and one that, she knew, offered her much more than any other career would have done, both financially and mentally. Those were diluted fantasies that the Thanagarian Empire had drilled into her brain. To believe that killing was right, that she held no responsibility for her war crimes against other races.
Once on Earth, she would have readily returned to her old ways. Though she saw that murder was frowned upon, even if the target was the scum of the planet. She could not afford to scare these humans before she had the chance to study them. So Shayera decided to put her, what would be consider on Earth, criminal past behind for a time and find some other form of employment that might satisfy her talents.
As luck would have it, it did not take long for her to come across the hero business. It had been a chance encounter with the superhero Kryptonian named Superman. She learned from him how to make the people like her. Just save them from disasters and flash the cameras a quick smile.
She had not smiled back then, not once. She had stared at the cameras in silent irritation for a split second, before giving the people that half-hearted smirk. That had always been her reflex when she was proud of herself. The first interaction with the human race had remained quite civil and she took off without causing a fuss.
She had been surprised to find that the people practically started to worship her. She was astonished to find that in the following week, the people were claiming that while Metropolis had Superman, Midway City had their 'Hawkgirl' and the name stuck. Shayera was not worried of attachment. As long as she kept her distance she would do fine. In fact she was hoping that the people would keep their distance, humans creeped her out and slightly frightened her back then with their seemingly odd behaviors. For one thing she couldn't understand their fascination in trivial matters such as measly upgrades to computers and those things they called video games, though Wally would eventually get her slightly addicted to the latter. Their technology was like the stone ages and, to her, still was to this very day. They were severely lacking, centuries behind Thanagar.
As time passed, Shayera found herself less and less concerned in hiding herself from the world and more interested in daily human life. She attempted a few times to try more human approaches to things, some worked...some didn't. She had known the world of thrills and easy scores, and strangely found that they no longer had the appeal they once held.
Instead she found herself dreaming of a more tranquil life, one like the humans, one that involved her having a family.
If there was one word one could not be used on Shayera back then, it was definitely maternal. But now it was the complete opposite, her maternal instincts were currently kicking into overdrive. She was finally going to have the child she had always wanted.
Even though she had killed a child herself.
It had not been until now, however, that the full realization of what this fact meant hit her.
The wind blew through her hair as her left arm began to itch. That's when she ripped the bandage off her arm and crumpled it in her fist as tears were threatening to cloud her vision.
She could still remember standing out on the battle field. It had been the first war she had ever participated in. The Rannian officer chasing her had been intent on killing her. /Slowly/. Whether or not she answered his questions while being interrogated. He had wanted full compensation for the embarrassment she had caused him before when they initially clashed. Now Shayera was frowning from the shame she felt for all of what she had done that day.
She maneuvered around debris and a few still intact buildings that surrounded them. His small craft wasn't as graceful as she was and he was rather simpleminded in his pursuit of her. She had tricked him into colliding with a building. The man escaped from the vehicle before impact but she had failed to notice that a young Rannian boy had been watching the entire chase from the ground.
At the last second she had noticed him and the falling rubble from the tower. She had tried to save him but to no avail. She couldn't fly fast enough to reach him before he was buried. Because of her ignorance, to her surroundings, the boy was killed.
Shayera never had a real family. She never really knew her parents except their names and that they were in the army themselves. The strongest relationship she had ever had with anyone before Hro had been her friendship with Paran Dul. And even that had not been very close. It was more of them tolerating each other.
When she heard the boy's mother scream his name, though to her it sounded too incoherent in the woman's sobs, she didn't understand. She felt bad but she didn't understand the attachment and bond between mother and child.
She had never really understood back then why the woman had begun to dig through the mess. The boy was dead, no doubt about it. Why still search in vain? Then the man that was chasing her was helping the woman, shouting the same name. She felt a twinge more unsettled when the man cradled the boy's broken body. The boy was his son. Back then, when she had thought about it in her quarters, she believed that the man deserved what he got. He had tried to kill her after all.
But she had killed that innocent child. She had broken the hearts of that boy's mother and father.
She hadn't been paying any attention to where she had been going as she realized that she was standing in the middle of John's apartment.../their/ apartment. Her heart heavy but her steps tender, she went to sit on the couch. Her left hand drifted over her abdomen again.
She leaned her head back with a depressing sigh. A quiet murmur left her lips, "Could you ever forgive me?"