By: xffan_2000

Summary: Mari sees things differently. Based on "Ancient History."


Mari closed the data file, unable to quite grasp how a standard mission report had turned into some kind of tragic fairy tale. The beginning, the part where she'd attempted to stop Shadow Thief from capturing John, right up to where she'd been rendered unconscious was normal, expected. The recounting of the lives of ancient Egyptians and the assertion by Shadow Thief that John, Shayera and Hawkman were the reincarnations of those people smacked of pure insanity. And for Shadow Thief to actually be Carter Hall's "evil" side ripped from his soul...well, that was just too much.

Mari pinched the bridge of her nose, closed her eyes and shook her head. "I've heard some pretty tall tales, John, but this just about beats them all."

When she looked at him sitting at her bedside, she saw the last of a worried expression melt from his face and a smile brighten his features.

"Good," he said.

Mari frowned. "Don't tell me you believed that story Shadow Thief fed you."

John sputtered his lips together. "Me? Nah. Never."

She didn't believe him. Mari knew when something was bothering him. He might not tell her what the problem was, but she at least knew he was troubled.

"Even if there were two lost Thanagarians on Earth eight thousand years ago," she continued, "there's no way you were involved. Or Shayera and Carter, for that matter."

He appeared skeptical.

"Look," she said, "Carter easily found out all kinds of information about Shayera from the internet. Put together enough general details and some are bound to hit the mark. It's the same trick psychics use. I'm sure Shadow Thief did the same thing. Especially if he's supposedly a part of Carter Hall."

John arched an eyebrow. "I never thought of that."

Mari reached out and stroked John's cheek. "Oh, Boo, you're just lucky that absorbicron didn't scramble your brain completely. We know what it did to Carter when he touched literally split his personality. The man was a nut case.

"Shadow Thief knew you and Shayera were once together. If he thought maybe you and she were still a couple, what better way to clear the path for himself...I mean, Carter...than to kill you?"

John put his uninjured hand over Mari's and pulled her fingers to his lips. "You have a way of making me feel much better."

Mari's eyelids lowered. "Just wait until I'm out of this hospital bed, Boo."

John leaned forward and kissed her lips. Instead of pulling away, though, he leaned his forehead against hers. "So, you don't believe in soul mates?"

"Oh, please," she chuckled. "That's just some tripe made up for romantic stories. A relationship is what you make of it, not what's 'supposed to be.'"

John pulled back and looked at her so seriously her stomach knotted. "You don't believe in destiny either?" he asked.

Mari waved her hand in the air. "Not a chance. Again, life is what you make of it. Otherwise, you're just along for the ride."

John stared at her, his expression unreadable.

"I'm my own woman, John. Nobody takes me for a ride," she warned. "Unless I want to go."