Mari and John sat across from each in the cafeteria. John had a fixed frown on his face and she simply observed him. The breakfast part had been scrapped as neither wanted to eat.
She didn't waste any time with small talk. "You gonna can tell me what you did to Shayera?"
"I didn't do anything to her." She reached over and punched him on the arm, hard. John rubbed his sore arm. "What was that for?" He asked indignantly.
"What was my number one rule? Never lie to me. Now, what did you do to her?"
In the interest of self-preservation, John decided to amend his previous answer. "None of your business."
"She's my friend. It most certainly is my business." She glared at him.
"It's nothing I want to talk with you about. It's between me and Shayera."
"She looked very unhappy and I don't like it when my friends aren't happy."
John shrugged, "She'll get over it. She always does."
Mari glared at him like he was the dumbest person on Earth and informed him, "I can go ask Shayera what happened. Do you want me to do that instead? Believe me, I'd love to talk to her more than you."
"She wouldn't tell you anything, even if you tortured her." John stated rather proudly. "She's as stubborn as a mule. She won't even tell me anything."
"So she kept something from you and that's why you're angry?" Mari asked as John looked a bit surprised. "It wasn't that hard to guess John. Even though I don't like to mention it, she has a past track record for doing that."
John sighed, "Yeah she did keep something from me. Something that I would have liked to have known earlier."
"Care to elaborate?"
John frowned as he exhaled. "For three weeks she kept from me that she was pregnant. I, for lack of better words, exploded on her."
"That's all she kept from you?" Mari asked. "Then you over reacted like some idiot."
"Yeah," He stated. "Why do you sound like I'm being ridiculous?"
"Most women do that, you're not the first this has happened to. You do realize that she might have felt confused, scared, and shocked along with a million other emotions when she found out?"
"I...I didn't think of that." John admitted. He didn't think about that truthfully. Shayera was from a war-like planet. She knew how to fight, not to nurture. She was probably scared out of her mind. She needed him right now and he wasn't there for her. He sighed. "You're right but that doesn't justify what she did. It's not just that she kept the pregnancy from me. I can get over that. It's the fact that she can't trust me."
"Have you ever given her a reason for her not to trust you?" Mari asked cuttingly "Because Shayera's told me the reason why she feels that she can't trust you. It took me forever to get it out of her. Ever since the Invasion, she felt like she lost the old you, the person she was friends with. Even today she believes that. She feels like you're against her. You're not willing to hear her out about her time on Thanagar."
Mari held up a hand to silence him. "She told me about the one time she tried to talk to you about her life on Thanagar and you completely shut her down. That's when she realized that you hated Thanagar, all other Thanagarians, excluding her, and that you didn't understand her. She didn't want to bother you so she dropped it. The next day, when she came to workout, she was a wreck. She was in tears the entire time. I'm surprised she didn't dump you right then and there because I would have. I've never seen her that hurt until now."
"How do you even know all this?" John asked pointedly.
"What do you think we do when we workout together, ignore each other? She's my friend and friends learn how to talk and open up to each other. I shouldn't even be telling you these things but I want so much for Shayera to be happy. And, right now, she's as unhappy as I've ever seen her in awhile. When the two of you got back together, it was like someone threw a neon sign on her. She was practically overflowing with joy."
John snorted, "Shouldn't you have ill feelings towards her? She basically stole me from you."
"Look, what we had was nice but it isn't like what you and Shayera have. I knew that when she returned and I harbor no jealously towards her or anything. I told her that I would see it out until the end and I did; what's done is done." She shrugged. "It's like the two of you are destined for each other. You complete each other."
John rolled his eyes, "Don't remind me."
Mari shook her head with a sigh. "You're really thick-skulled; just as stubborn as Shayera which is probably why you guys argue so much in the first place. You know that right?" John crossed his arms and glared at her. "Or you can sulk like a two-year-old; I don't care. Now will you please just tell me what happened?"
"I tried to stop her from leaving. She punched me and threw me against the wall," John explained as he rubbed the back of his neck. "I didn't think she was that angry at me. Thankfully she held back."
"She attacked you because?" Mari raised a brow.
"I...I accidentally called her a filthy hawk." John hung his head in shame. "I was just so angry and it just felt right."
"You wanna know what I think?" Mari asked as she rest her chin on top of her hands. "Because it seems pretty clear to me."
"No, not really."
She told him anyway. "I think you're running scared. You're afraid of being hurt by her again; so you hurt Shayera more than she could possibly hurt you. You did a little revenge treatment on her. You wanted her to know what it felt like. You also wanted her to know that you do hate her just a little bit."
"No, that's not true!" He argued. "I would never do that to her; I love her!"
"The thing is, Shayera wouldn't have ever walked out on you like that. You pushed her to do that. You deeply hurt her and she had ever right to do what she did."
"How do you figure that? She's a loose cannon with her temper."
"Because I know her, and if you were thinking straight, you'd know that about her too. She's desperately in love with you and has been for years; that's why the insult of being called a 'filthy hawk ' by you hurt more than anything else. She's worked with you for more than ten years."
"That doesn't mean anything. We weren't in a relationship during the majority of those years."
"Whether you realize it or not, you were in a relationship of sorts. And she never truly left you. It didn't matter that she left after the Thanagarian Invasion. It didn't matter that you were dating me instead of her. It didn't matter that you completely ignored her when she returned. It didn't matter that she was faced with the hatred of her own teammates and no one was there for her. She stayed for you. She pined for you."
"What should have I done then?" John asked. "What could I have done that wouldn't have hurt her?"
"I think you should have been more understanding of her from the get go," Mari said flatly. "And this situation wouldn't have spiraled out of control the way it did. Do I think either of you did the right thing? I don't really think it's a matter of the right or wrong thing. You did what you thought was right at the moment and so did she. Do I think you should give up on her, absolutely not! This isn't about putting your energy into something that may or may not be. This is about the relationship you share with the woman you love and it doesn't matter who's right or wrong. What matters is you need to keep going."
"You have to let go of your hatred for her home-world and people." She sighed, "This is about what's going on in your heart and what's going on in Shayera's heart. You may not always agree with each other but you need to realize that love is more powerful than any argument. You want her as much as she wants you. Prove that to her, make her see that she can open up to you."
With that, Mari left. She'd done her best, now it was up to John.