Shayera Thal--nicknamed "Hawkgirl" by Earth's media-- was in a bad mood. The weather had been vile, leaving her barely able to fly, and certainly not able to enjoy it. A druglord that she'd worked hard to see arrested had walked free in the courtroom, due to insufficient evidence. Shayera's lips drew back in a snarl, remembering his arrogant smirk as the sentence had been pronounced--just one blow with her mace, she thought longingly, and that smirk would have been erased permanently... *Earth rules,* she reminded herself with a sigh. She had long ago resigned herself to living by the laws of her new world, but some times were harder than others. And to top it all off, she'd thought she had a lead on *him*, only to find it was some sort of mutant instead. At least she'd been able to hit *that*, but she was still aching from the blows it had delivered in return.
No doubt about it. It was time to bake some cookies.
By now the process was so familiar it had become almost ritual, with no need to check recipes or measure out amounts--a fact that mildly amused her, as she had rarely cooked anything on Thanagar; their technology had made it unnecessary. Katar had been unusual in preferring to do it the old-fashioned way-- she couldn't count the times she'd teased him about it...
*Cookies,* she thought firmly, and began to stir in the flour.
Once on Earth, of course, that technology had no longer been available to her, but she'd managed a steady enough income to subsist largely on take-out and restaurant meals. She'd even bought a microwave and found using it to be comfortingly familiar, even if the results were rather bland. And her occasional attempts at trying more manual forms of cooking had been mostly disastrous.
Things hadn't changed until six months ago, when Carly Anderson had arrived into her life. They'd met when Shayera had saved her from a pair of particularly vicious muggers, no different than any of a hundred other rescues she'd performed--but somehow, the contact had extended itself, and a friendship had blossomed. Carly was one of the most vital people Shayera had ever met, throwing herself into everything she did, and she was far tougher than she looked. Shayera discovered that she could talk to her about Thanagar, and Carly was genuinely fascinated, where most humans seemed either uninterested or horrified. Shayera had said as much once, and Carly had laughed, low and throaty. "I can't say *I'd* wanna live there, Shay honey, but it's gotta have something going for it if they produced you. And it's not exactly paradise around here, you may have noticed; you folks are just more honest about your fights."
She'd proved interested in more than words, too; Shayera had begun giving her combat lessons shortly after they'd met, and she'd taken to it like a *kes*- vine to the rain. She wasn't anywhere near Shayera's equal yet, of course, but then Shayera had trained since she was born. And any muggers attempting to take advantage would unquestionably get a surprise...
Somewhat to Shayera's surprise, word had spread, and she'd found herself taking on several more students, then even more, until now, when there were almost too many for her to handle. Hmm. While she tested the dough for firmness, she considered--maybe Diana would be willing to help out? Her style was quite different from Shayera's own, of course, but she was every bit as good. And if Shayera remembered the legends of the Amazons correctly, she would probably be in favor of the idea of training women to take care of themselves. Shayera actually didn't care about her students' gender, and there were several males in the class, but she tried to accept those who needed her most, and those tended to be women. Definitely something to bring up at the next League meeting, she decided.
The gingerbread wasn't quite ready yet, so she pulled out her carving knife and began to sharpen it in preparation. She never used molds; it took longer, but cutting was half the enjoyment. Besides, she preferred to personalize...
She'd never realized that cooking *could* be enjoyable until Carly; the other woman had been determined to exchange help for help, and once she'd found out how helpless Shayera was in the kitchen, Shayera had found herself involuntarily enrolled in cooking class. "Survival skills, girl," Carly had said firmly. "Eating's just as important to staying alive as anything you do with that mace. And if I should be able to keep punks off my back, *you* should be able to cook." Cooking, Shayera had discovered, became a totally different experience with an experienced guide at hand--and Carly was not only experienced, but undeniably talented; in her hands recipes that had totally defeated Shayera became works of art, superior even to Thanagar's computer-produced meals. Even the not-infrequent disasters were less frustrating when Carly was there to laugh with about them. And gradually, they both increased in skill; the day that Carly actually took Shayera down--a lucky hit, but one that had unquestionably won the fight--Shayera had made her steak to celebrate. Shayera was still not much more than a second-rate cook, admittedly, and the idea of spending as much time in the kitchen as Carly did made her shudder. But being able to produce meals with your own hands did have a certain appeal to it-- and *eating* them was even better.
Gingerbread cookies, however, were a particular and unique pleasure. Carly had taught her how to make chocolate chip, of course, but they were just a little too sweet. The spicier taste of the gingerbread suited her better, and being able to shape them as she pleased had turned out to be irresistible. Carly had been slightly puzzled, at first, by Shayera's passion for the cookies, and Shayera had done her best to explain. When she was done, Carly was nodding in understanding. Maybe, she added with a wry smile, she'd try that herself sometime.
The gingerbread was ready for cutting, now, and Shayera went to work with a will, humming. *This* skill was an old one; she generally preferred blunt objects, but she'd been well trained with sharp ones as well. In no time at all she had her gingerbread men, and slid them into the oven to cook. By the time they were ready, she could feel the anticipation burning inside her. Yes, she'd definitely needed this. She looked at the first figure--perfect, and the other reason she didn't use molds; very few Earth molds had wings. She considered adding some artistic red frosting, but decided against it; she was hungry now. She pried the winged shape off the cookie sheet, and smiled.
"Run, run, as fast as you can," she murmured, and slowly, almost lovingly, bit off the figure's head.
One day, she would find him, the traitor who'd killed Katar and fled to Earth to escape vengeance. She would find him, and then it would be bones that would break and blood that would flow, not merely gingerbread and frosting. But until that day--she crunched an arm--there was nothing quite like making cookies.