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Ineffable

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Barry opened his laptop and turned his attention to his coffee as he waited for the device to boot up. He still hadn’t finished this research paper, and it was due by midnight tonight. It wasn’t for a lack of trying to get it done on time, way too many of his teachers had decided to give him essays with deadlines of today.

Whoever said college was fun was a liar.

He rubbed his eyes. thankful for once that Iris wasn’t working today. Not that he wouldn’t be happy to see her, but he just needed to get this paper done.

Suddenly, he was joined at his table. Barry looked up in confusion.. The someone was a total stranger who looked to be a similar age as Barry, he had brown hair and brown eyes to match with a smile that looked like a smirk all wrapped up in a bomber jacket that looked decades old.

“Uhm, uh, Hi?” Barry stuttered.

“Hey. Hope you don’t mind me sitting here, there’s nowhere else.”

Barry looked around and confirmed there wasn’t a single open table, “it’s fine.”

The stranger studied him for a few seconds, “Hal. Hal Jordan.”

Barry blinked at the hand in front of him. He realized that the man was introducing himself.

“Barry Allen.”

Hal had a strong grip. Barry dropped his hand and went back to his essay. His tablemate was silent for twelve seconds.

“So, where’s the best pizza in Central City?”

“Feli’s.” Was the automatic answer.

“Probably won’t be as good as Coast City’s but it’ll do.”

That caused Barry to look up, “you’re from Coast City?”

“What? My valley girl accent didn’t give it away?” Hal grinned.

“No, it didn’t,” Barry laughed.

Hal’s grin turned wolfish, but before he said anything he took a drink of coffee.

“So, Barry, want to head over to Feli’s tonight?” The line was delivered as though it had been rehearsed a thousand times.

Barry, on the other hand was momentarily lost for words. He had never been asked out so casually (it says a lot about the people he’s dated previously) or by a complete stranger. Surprising himself, he almost gave an affirmative without thinking it through. Most of the time he ignored offers because he was still holding out hope for Iris to return his feelings.

“Are you asking me out on a date?”  He didn’t want to assume, even though it was hard to misunderstand the intentions.

“Or two guys hanging out, your pick,” Hal shrugged, watching.

Barry had always been apprehensive about talking to strangers, Joe’s stranger-danger talks had been more than sufficient in warning him in about what could happen if he was too trusting. There was something about Hal that made him feel courageous enough to do this. Barry also had a feeling that he would miss out on something amazing if he declined.

It also wasn’t like he was any closer to to confessing to Iris, maybe it was time to move on. This date was worth a shot.

“Date. definitely,” He can sound smooth too, or try to at least.

Hal grinned, “Awesome. Meet back here at seven?”

“Why here?” He raised a brow.

Sheepishly Hal rubbed the back of his head, “I can only get to here and the airfield from where I’m staying.”

“Yeah, okay. Sound good,” Barry scrambled for a pen and a napkin, “here’s my number.”

Hal took it carefully, studying the digits as if memorizing them before sticking them into the pocket. Then he turned his attention to his coffee finishing it off.

“Carol will kill me if I’m late. Gotta run. See you tonight!”

Barry couldn’t help himself, “Carol?”

“My boss,” Hal gave him one more wave.

Waving back himself Barry stared at the door before looking at the half finished essay and sighed.

College didn’t care if he had a super attractive date.


 

    Somehow Barry finished his essay and felt proud about the finish product. Hal had texted him at lunch just to confirm numbers and complain about his boss yelling at him even though he hadn’t been late.

As a result of how good the day had been he wasn’t subtle when he walked into the house.

“What’s got you in such a good mood?” Iris asked from her spot on the couch.

“I think I nailed that anatomy essay and I have a date.”

Barry realized his mistake when Iris got that gleam in her eye.

“With who? Do I know them? How’d this happen?”

Really, she was going to be an amazing journalist. “No you don’t know him. I met him at Jitters today and he very smoothly asked me out.”

Iris shifted so that she was looked at him better. “What’s his name?”

“Hal.”

She pursed her lips, “When you get home I want full details on this Hal guy.”

Barry raised his hands, “Agreed, but you have to help me find something to wear.”

She popped up from her spot, “If this goes well, you should tell dad.”

“Tell him what?” His voice rose in pitch.

“Your preferences.”

He winced. Joe was an easy going guy, and Barry knew his foster father wouldn’t judge or disown him for something like having attractions towards males and females. The problem would be how long he had waited to tell, Joe thought he was told everything. Iris only knew because she was there for that crisis when he figured it out (not the previous one where he figured out his feelings for her) and then again when he was bullied for the first time. Joe didn’t know about that either and he hadn’t told Iris of the other times after.

If it goes well, I might consider it.”

Iris lead him to his room, “Why now? You haven’t had a date in months.”

He shrugged, “It sounds crazy, but I felt like I was going to miss something if I said no.”

“Miss what exactly?”

“Something amazing.”

Iris grinned, “Barry Allen the romantic.”

He blushed, “We’re going to Feli’s. Should I go with casual or dressed up?”

Gently his like-a-sister pushed him onto the bed, “Knowing you, you’ll end up in a sweater vest.”

“Hey!”

When Iris was in his closet he made a face at her.

“I know you’re sticking your tongue out,” she called back.

He made another face. Iris came out from where she was digging and and raised an eyebrow, “Are you really twenty-two?”

“Yes.”

Rolling her eyes she held up her finds. It was a light gray button up and a vest that was a darker shade of gray. He looked at them for a few seconds before giving her a thumbs up. She tossed the clothes at him and began looking through his closet again coming out a lot faster this time.

Triumphantly she held up a pair of  stonewashed jeans, “Wear your black sneakers, the low ones with the white laces. Use some cologne and style your hair and you’ll be perfect.”

He smiled at her, “Thanks.”

“Remember our deal.” She laughed as she left the room.  

Barry spent the next couple of hours getting ready and by the time he deemed himself presentable it was already twenty to seven.

He bolted out of his room and down the stairs, cursing his lack of time management. Joe was barely out of the doorway when he came barrelling down.

“Whoa, where’s the fire?”

“Barry has a hot date,” Iris chirped from the kitchen.

Joe raised his eyebrows, “really?”

“Yeah, we’re supposed to meet at seven and I’m going to be late!”

Joe watched for a few seconds, “do you want me to drive you there?”

Barry hopped his face didn’t show how appalled at the idea he was, “no I’m good. Don’t wait up. Later!”

He was out of the door before either of them could say anything. With all of the practice that he had running he would’ve thought by now that he could put out some decent speed.

But then again when has anything worked out for him? Hopefully this date would go well. He wasn’t expecting much Hal lived in Coast City and he doubted a long distance relationship would work out between two strangers, they hardly worked out when the people have been together for years.

Focus on running Barry. Don’t be too late.

He slid to a stop in front of Jitters, barely avoiding crashing into another person. Barry looked up surprised to see Hal holding his hands above his head, grinning.

“I’d apologize for being late, but you were too, so let’s say our meet up time was...” He paused to look at his watch “7:17.”

Barry laughed and rolled his eyes. “Have a habit to show up late to first dates?”

“Only when the person is special.”

The statement caused Barry to roll his eyes harder. What was with this guy?

He took advantage of the few seconds that they were catching their breaths to observe Hal. He was still in that bomber jacket of his with a white v-neck t-shirt hanging loose over a pair of -much to Barry’s surprise- skinny jeans. Hal had dog tags hanging around his neck.

“You look nice,” He commented.

“Thanks, you’re not bad yourself,” Hal winked, “so where is this pizza place?”

“About ten blocks that way,” Barry pointed down the street.

“Walking distance. Alright.”

Hal gripped his hand and began walking, Barry let himself be dragged.

After they past the first block in silence Barry spoke.

“So what brings you to Central?”

Hal hummed before speaking, “the company I work for is putting finishing touches on the airfield that’s going up outside of town.”

“Wait you work for Ferris Air?” Barry asked incredulous.

“Yeah?”

“What do you do there?”

Hal grinned widely, “I’m a test pilot.”

Barry laughed in surprise. “Seriously? You’re a pilot?”

“What did you think I did?” Hal turned towards him.

“I don’t know, a mechanic or something.”

“No, I can work on engines though.”

Barry was brimming with questions, Ferris Air had to improve certain fields of science to even begin working on some of their newest planes, “a test pilot, what you fly in simulations?”

“Sometimes, most of the time I’m taking those birds out into the sky for real.”

He couldn’t believe it. His date was a pilot for one of the best aerospace companies in the world. This was so much better than he could’ve hoped.

“Wow, that must be something.”

“Nothing like it,” Hal agreed, “what about you?”

“Oh in college right now. Studying to be a forensic analyst.”

“Really? That’s an oddly specific goal.”

Barry shrugged, “yeah, well, it makes sense to me.”

Hal shrugged, “hey, it sounds like a cool job. Just never met anyone that wants the dirty jobs.”

“Well, what did everyone want to be in Coast City?”

“They wanted to work for Ferris Air,” Hal replied, “mostly as pilots. Not many did.”

“But you did?” Barry prodded.

“I’m a damn good pilot,” there was something strained in Hal’s tone that made Barry drop the conversation.

They fell silent until the next stoplight. This time it was Hal that broke the silence.

“So what do you do for fun in Central?”

Barry shrugged, “Iris and I, we always go bowling.”

“Iris?”

Internally he winced. Rule one of dating don’t mention your kind of crush to your actual date, “she’s like my sister.”

“Ah,” Hal seemed appeased, “where is this bowling alley?”

“Not far from Feli’s,” Barry replied.

Hal raised an eyebrow, “It seems like everything in Central is within walking distance.”

“Pretty much. It's nice, I think.”

“Don’t drive?” Hal pulled him closer as they passed by a  large flow of opposite traffic.

“No, don’t need too. Like you said everything is in walking distance,” Barry pressed slightly closer.

“Coast City is spread out, a car is necessary,” Hal’s smile turned wistful, “getting on a flat highway and pushing it as fast as you can go, it’s one of the purest feelings in the world.”

Barry was starting to realize that  Hal was ruled by sensations and feelings. The way he talks about experiencing things and why he enjoys them. He can understand that, sort of, he’d never done anything like Hal said. The only thing that he thought could be close was the speed he felt when he was taken from his home and put twenty blocks away, that wasn’t exhilaration. That was terror and confusion.

The rest of the way to the restaurant they talked about small things, favorite food, sport, book, etc.

Barry was unsurprised to find that Hal wasn’t much of a reader, but he had read several good books in his lifetime, he was also unsurprised to learn that Hal’s favorite food was pizza and surprisingly he wasn’t much into sports. They had a few things in common.

“Wait,” Hal dropped his hand and moved to hold open the door, “after you.”

Barry smiled and walked in, smelling the fresh mozzarella, “I haven’t been here in a week.”

Hal laughed, “that’s a long time. There’s this small place in Coast City, I kid you not is like eating a slice of heaven. I have to go there at least once a week. Sometime I’ll have to take you.”

“Sounds fun.”

Hal was on a roll though, “we could grab one for lunch and head to this little spot where you can see all of the planes taking off from the airfield.”

Barry watched him, Hal was grinning waving his hands animatedly.

Suddenly the other man stopped himself, “that is, assuming that this date goes well.”

“Assuming so. But so far it hasn’t been awful.”

Hal practically crowed, “okay, what do you like on your pizza?”

“Pepperoni, mushrooms, and pineapple,” Barry counted off the toppings.

“Seriously, pineapple on pizza? Who hurt Central City to make that a thing?” Hal gripped at his chest.

“Dude, it's actually more popular than you think.”

“Not in Coast City.”

He crossed his arms, “all right pizza expert. What goes on a pizza?”

“Your main three meats: pepperoni, sausage, and ham. Then you have extra cheese. As for vegetables its olives, onions, mushrooms and green peppers,” Hal finished looking smug.

It didn’t sound bad, if Barry was completely honest. Besides he wasn’t a picky eater so anything was fine with him, “Compromise? Instead of extra cheese we get provolone and mozzarella and nix the peppers.”

“That’s doable,” the other man said as he walked over to the counter and rung the bell.

A short italian man walked out from the back room, a flour smug on his nose and apron covered in the dust.

“How can I help you?” Feli pulled out a pen and paper.

“One large pizza, with mozzarella and provolone, topped with ham, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, and onions. Oh and two drinks.”

Feli scribbled down the order, “everything comes to ten dollars and seventy-five cents.”

Hal turned and looked at him and mouthed ‘wow’, Barry grinned and mouthed back ‘I know’.

They paid and sat down at a table. The restaurant was mostly empty, so Barry got to sit at his favorite table, the one right next to the window.

Several minutes later their pizza came and they dug into it. Barry was actually impressed that the amount of toppings didn’t mess with the actual taste of the pizza and Hal agreed that two cheeses was better than extra of one.

Conversation was sparse between them while they ate. Despite that, this was the most pleasant date Barry had had in a long time.

Finally the finished the last slice, which they had a squabble over with Hal coming out on top.

Their conversation stopped for a few minutes after that.

“Hal?” He waited for acknowledgement, “how long are you in Central for?”

The pilot leaned back thinking. “The rest of the week, we head back on Sunday.”

Barry nodded. It was tuesday today. He swallowed, he’d never been the best at asking people out on dates, “how about Friday I show you the bowling alley?”

Hal grinned, “so this date went okay?”

“Yeah,” Barry grinned back.

Chapter Text

Barry ran a hand through his hair again. He had started pacing again He was failing spectacularly at not showing his nervesa. Iris watched him from the couch trying to hide a smile.

“It won’t be that bad,” she commented.

“I’ve seen how Joe grills your boyfriends. He’s going to do the same, and Hal isn’t exactly respectful to authority,” Barry stopped and faced her.

“Well you have a few things going for you. One, your not Dad’s kid by blood. Two, you’ve been dating Hal for over a year and there hasn’t been any horrendous fights. Three, Hal is military. Dad will like him.”

He nodded at the wisdom of Iris’ words, “but you haven’t even met him, how can you say Joe will like him.”

Iris stood up and placed her hands on his shoulders, “Barry, I think there’s very little chance that I’d dislike someone that makes you smile every time you look at your phone.”

Barry blushed.

Iris pursed her lips, “if he isn’t as into you as you are to him I might have a problem, but if the stories you told me are true, then he is. Relax.”

He took a deep breath. His kind-of-sister was right. Hal and him and been dating since his visit to Central, it was hard managing a distance of 600 miles, but they made it work. Every three months, one of them went to the others city, and every friday they had video dates. Honestly he was surprised at how smooth everything was going, they acted like best friends that had known each other all their lives.

Not to mention, Hal was enough to turn his attention from Iris, an achievement in itself.

The problem was Joe wanted to meet Hal. Barry hadn’t ever had a problem introducing his previous girlfriends to his foster-father, but they never worked out and the meet and greet had been a few weeks into to relationship. Not a year, and not nearly as meaningful.

The entire week he had been coming up with the worse possible situations. Hal didn’t do well with authority, he’d seen it when Carol interrupted one of their dates for something important, and Joe was authority. Thankfully Joe didn’t know half of the things that Hal and him had done for dates, really his boyfriend needed to learn a little fear.

The worse scenarios ended with Hal being thrown out or threatened with a gun. Hopefully it wouldn’t happen, but it happened with one of Iris’ more questionable boyfriends before.

“So when is Mr.Topgun getting here?” Iris spoke softly.

“I said to be here about 6:30, so he’ll arrive at 6:45,” Barry laughed.

“At least you found someone with your sense of time.” Iris giggled.

“Yeah,” Barry sighed and began pacing again.

Iris made a face and returned to her spot on the couch and grabbed a book, “it’s only 5:00. Don’t wear yourself out.”

Joe walked out of the kitchen where he was preparing dinner, “should I be nervous that you’re so nervous?”

Barry shook his head vigorously,“no!”

Joe gave him a disbelieving look, “okay.”

He returned to whatever he was making for them to eat. Barry blew air out of his nose.

“I’m going to take a shower and get ready.”

Iris nodded, “you do that, better than making me dizzy with your pacing.”

He left the room choosing not to respond to the comment. Iris always had a way to give him back perspective. Though, tonight was too important to mess up.


The doorbell rang at 6:30, Barry jumped down the last few stairs to get it before anyone else could.

In the living room he could hear Iris snickering.  He sent the back of her head a sharp look. Taking a deep breath he looked through the eyehole making sure it wasn’t someone else.

Hal was standing on the porch, standing with his legs apart looking calm and collected. Thankfully dressed up better this time, he was wearing a green shirt and dark pants. His usually wild hair was tamed and only a little wave was shown at the front.

Quickly he opened the door, “hey, right on time.”

Hal smiled, “didn’t want to be late. Seemed like a big deal that I needed to be on my best behavior.”

Barry grinned and pulled Hal into the house, kissing him softly on the cheek.

Iris cooed as she stood up from the couch and walked over. She smiled as she ran her eyes over Hal.

“Iris West,” she stuck her hand out.

Hal took it and kissed the back of it, “charmed. Hal Jordan.”

“Too much,” Barry muttered.

Hal winked, “jealous? I can kiss your hand too.”

Joe picked that moment to walk in and he rose his eyebrow at the scene.

Barry had to stop himself from banging his head against the wall. Not how he thought this night was going to start out.

Hal dropped Iris’ hand and walked over to Joe and stuck his hand out, “Hal Jordan.”

Joe took the hand and gave it a firm shake. He looked impressed at the grip, much like Barry was.

“Joe West.”

They dropped hands and looked at each other. Iris sent him a glance and Barry shrugged helplessly.

“Dinner is almost ready. Barry help me set the table.”

Barry followed Joe into the kitchen grabbing the plates.

“That’s the guy you’ve been dating for a year?” Joe asked suddenly.

“Yes?” Dread filled his stomach.

“He doesn’t seem like the type you would get along with.”

Barry looked at him confused, “why?”

“He’s just different. In the past you’ve dated girls that were quiet and awkward. Hal is neither of those.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

Joe shrugged, “we’ll see how the rest of dinner goes.”

Barry prayed Hal would actually be on his best behavior. Then changed it to getting through the dinner with minimal disaster. Hal was never on his best behavior.

Fifteen minutes later they were sitting down to a simple meal of meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans. They were silent and Barry kept looking between Joe and Hal, wondering when the interrogation would begin. Iris looked content to see how it would all play out, and on top of that she hadn’t done anything to indicate how she felt about Hal.

That wasn’t to say he’d stop dating him if they didn’t approve. It’d just be easier if everyone got along.

Joe finished his piece of meatloaf and set his silverware down.

Here we go. Barry took a drink.

“So Hal, what do you do for a living?”

“I’m a test pilot for Ferris Air,” Hal replied with a smile.

“Oh, do you like your job?”

“Love it. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, ever since I knew what a plane was.”

Barry nodded. They had that discussion one night. Hal had asked about his interest in forensics and he had told him about his mom’s murder and his father’s wrongful imprisonment. In return Hal had spoken about the day his father had died, Barry couldn’t fathom wanting to do something that had taken a family member.

His boyfriend’s answer had been simple, the love he had of flying triumphed over everything.

“That’s good,” Joe nodded.

Hal took the response as an opening for him to ask his own question, “Barry tells me you're a cop?”

“A detective, but yes.”

“How do you like that?” Hal seemed like he almost talked with his mouth full.

Huh. Generally he doesn’t mind talking with his mouth full. Maybe he really is taking this as a big deal. Barry thought.

“Its busy, but a good job,” Joe gave the typical response.

“I couldn’t be a cop.”

Barry winced. Strike one.

Joe shifted slightly. “Why’s that?”

“For one I can’t see myself doing another other than flying,” he shrugged, “and the other thing is I don’t think I would be a good cop, you know?”

Joe looked at him, “would you be dirty?”

“No!” Hal looked appalled at the thought, “I don’t have the right temperament.”

Joe nodded. Barry mentally cheered, that could’ve ended very poorly.

“From the sound of it, you won’t change profession, but would you change cities?” Joe was back to interrogation mode.

Hal shrugged. “I mean, Carol would probably kill me if I tried to leave Ferris Air, but I’d considering changing cities. I love Coast though.”

“Carol... Carol Ferris?” Joe sounded surprised.

Barry had been surprised to learn that Hal knew her too, and more surprised to learn that they had dated on and off again since high school.

“That’s the one.”

Hal really didn’t like talking about her sometimes especially after they had a fight. Which they had a week ago, Barry couldn’t imagine what their relationship was like. Still she often came up in conversation because she was a big part of his life. She was basically Hal’s Iris.

“Huh,” Joe ate another piece of meatloaf.

It was the shortest interrogation that he’d seen in this house, and he didn’t know if it was a good thing or not.

The rest of dinner was quiet except for some random questions from either Joe or Iris.


They were all settling down in the living room. Iris had to take a phone call, so it was just Joe, Hal, and himself.

Barry chewed on his cheek permanently, ready to suggest that they turn on the TV and watch Star Trek: The Journey Home (he saw it on the TV guide earlier) when Hal sat up on the edge of the sofa.

Barry watched in apprehension.

“Mr. West, I know I’m probably not the easiest guy to get along with and if you knew half of the things I’ve done you would not approve of me. But I will tell you I value Barry, a lot, and I would like your blessing in continuing this relationship,” Hal’s voice had dropped to a serious tone.

Barry was surprised. He knew that Hal could be serious when he wanted to be, most of the time he chose not to be. His jaw dropped and Joe seemed to be taken aback but the bluntness of the request.

“Well, it's up to Barry, he’s the consenting adult. But you have my blessing.”

Hal turned to him and grinned before leaning over and giving him a kiss on the lips.

“I gave you my blessing, but please try to keep your PDA to a minimum.”

“No problem Joe,” Barry answered trying to hide his blush.

He could picture the answering grin on Hal’s face.

Finally Iris returned and Joe found a semi-decent action movie playing on the TV. Barry had tried to rally for the Star Trek movie but had gotten shut down by everyone.

Hal had also somehow moved so that Barry was pulled to his chest and had an arm laying on his waist.

Joe kept his eyes glued to the movie and Iris took pictures.

Barry couldn’t complain, he was happy. Hal was a great boyfriend, Joe didn’t threaten to shoot him, and Iris and him seemed to get along. Life was great.

Chapter Text

Barry watched as Hal skipped another stone across the pond. They had finished a rather energetic date at a local night club. He still wasn't used to how much livelier Coast City was, it was a nice change of pace sometimes but he liked the quiet Central provided most nights. Maybe he could learn to love the nightlife of Coast someday.

Hal handed him a stone and he pathetically managed to skip it twice before it sunk to the bottom, to show off Hal sent his next stone skipping out seven times.

He rolled his eyes and settled from his crouch onto his bottom. The grass was dewy from the night air, Barry closed his eyes listening to the subtle sounds of skipping stones and cars rushing past. Several minutes passed before he spoke again.

“What do you think of the Vigilante?”

Hal was likely giving him that look he got everything he mentioned something weird, a soft disbelieving sadness. Barry huffed internally, he was used to the look.

“I think he's nuts. Who wears a green costume and shoots people with arrows. No one sane.”

Barry opened his eyes. “Joe says something similar. He hopes they catch him soon.”

He was joined at his side. “What about you? What do you think about him?”

“I don't think he's a bad guy. He's only gone after people who have done something wrong.”

“Like a hero?” There was a note of incredulousness.

Barry nodded. “Yeah.”

Hal leaned over and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “That's what I like about you. There’s always something good in everyone to you.”

He quirked an eyebrow. “That's the only thing you like about me.”

“No,” Hal kissed him on his lips.”These are pretty nice.”

Barry smirked, making a ‘go on’ gesture. Hal obliged, kissing him on his forehead, nose, eyelids. Very lightly, a ghost of a touch. Eventually Hal ended back at his lips and kissed them again, deepening the kiss.

They had never gone much further than shirtless making out, Barry hadn't been interested in the physical aspect of a relationship but there was something about the mood that struck him right.

Gently he pushed Hal off of him, which the other leaned back with no complaint. Taking in a deep breath Barry asked, “Want to head back to your place?”

“Do you?” Hal tilted his head.

“It's late and cold, so yeah.”

Before he could move Hal was on his feet holding out a hand to help Barry up. He got into a crouching position before he grabbed the hand just to prove that he wasn't a damsel in distress or that old. Despite the small age gap between them Hal loved to tease him about being an old man endlessly. His usual rebuttals include that they were only two years apart and sweater vests were very comfortable.

They made their way through the park slowly. Barry twitching nervously, something that didn't go unnoticed by his boyfriend.

“Barr?”

“When we get back you want to try taking it further?”

There was no question what it was. They had had this conversation early on in their relationship. They would wait until Barry said he was ready. He'd been worried, especially after what Carol told him about Hal’s past. But they'd survived, and as far as he could tell Hal would be content to wait however long it took. Maybe never if it came down to it.

“You're serious? Are you ready?” Hal had stepped in front of him.

“Yes.” Worked to answer both.

Surprisingly their pace didn't change, they slowly wandered back to Hal’s gaudy orange car. He remembered the first time that he saw it, there has been a sense of mortification at riding in it, but now it had several good memories attached to it and he learned to tolerate it.

Like usual Hal opened the door for him before climbing into the other side.The car started and the quiet sounds of 80s ballads trickled through the speakers. Keeping one hand on the steering wheel Hal left the other on Barry’s thigh the entire way back to his apartment.


Walking into Hal’s apartment was far more nerve wracking than it had ever been, and for a few seconds he was tempted to call this whole thing off and find a movie for them to watch. But the more he thought about it the more he realized that he wanted this. Barry didn't think adding a physical aspect to their relationship would change it dramatically, it'd just be more physical. It was already pretty tactile with how Hal was always touching him -arm over shoulder, hand holding, and any other variation of friendly contact- and Barry always responded to the touch.

Joe’s comment about them being handsy ran through his head.

Behind him Hal came through the door, shucking off his jacket and kicking his shoes off. Barry did the same, before moving off into the living room.

He stared out of the window at the pinpricks of skyscraper lights. Slowly Hal moved forward, the other man never made any quiet movements he was perpetually loud, and wrapped his arms around Barry’s waist.

Naturally he leaned back, tilting his head to let Hal have access, the younger man nuzzled it before he started to softly suck on it. Barry moaned quietly at the ministrations.

He turned around so that he was chest to chest with Hal, the other man had to stop to let him turn around fully, and kissed him on the lips. His boyfriend was taller than him by a few inches. Hal took advantage of this fully, pressing harder and made Barry bend back slightly. He felt hands running through his hair and he returned the action.

Hal’s hair was nicer to touch, it was longer and far softer than anyone's he's felt before. The tugging turned sharper just before they pulled away for air.

Barry was panting, as was Hal. It was one of their most intense kisses, and that was comparing to the one they shared after Hal took him on a night flight (which fully cemented the fact that he did not like crowded flying spaces but with Hal it wasn't too bad) or the one after the kiss they shared after the first time Hal said ‘I love you’ (Barry said it first and it took Hal months before he could repeat the words, and that was after he flat out bolted).

Hal was grinning, his chest heaving, and a soft glint to his eyes.

Barry was sure he looked the same.

“Oh! I remember why I wanted to come this weekend.” Hal said, eyes wide.

“Yeah, I was wondering why you were adamant about this weekend.” Barry followed Hals gave.

He almost gasped. Outside of the window there were several streaks of light going across the sky. Barry couldn't take his eyes away from them, even as he heard the sound of a camera shutter. It was beautiful.

“So, what'd you think? I wanted to stay in the park to watch, but this might have been the better view.” Hal spoke softly, like he was afraid of ruining the moment.

“It's was incredible, I hardly get to make it to a good viewing spot.” He replied. “Thank you.”

Before Hal could make the snarky comment he was likely about to make Barry surged up and kissed him on the lips pouring all of his emotions into the kiss. He felt the same ones returned after a second of surprise.

The kiss deepened into one with tongues and barely a break for air. Hal was taking control of the kiss pushing Barry back before picking him up and pinning him on the wall. Barry responded by wrapping his legs around Hal’s waist and tugging on his hair.  

After a few minutes the new position got uncomfortable. Hal allowed Barry to get his legs underneath him again. He felt himself being pushed backwards in the vague direction of Hals bedroom. Nervousness struck him in the gut and he stumbled, which Hal quickly righted by placing a hand on his hip.

After a couple more seconds of Barry walking backwards they finally made it to Hal’s bed. Slowly he was pushed back onto it. The bed was still too hard for his liking, then again he had always bought the softest bed on the market. It was something he got from his mother, or that’s what his father said at least. He bet after he got his dad out of jail he wouldn’t want to touch another firm mattress in his life.

“Barry?” Hal lifted his head from where he had been making a mark on Barry’s neck. “You with me?”

“Yeah, sorry, let my thoughts wander.” Barry replied tilting his head back more.

Hal nuzzled it briefly before looking up. “So I’m not doing a good job at holding your attention?”

Barry tried to play it off, like his stomach wasn’t filled with a thousand butterflies and his thoughts weren’t whipping around a mile a minute, cranking his anxiety up to about twenty. He was pretty sure his grin failed.

Hal stopped what he was doing and locked eyes with him. “Hey, don’t feel pressured. There’s no need.”

It somehow calmed him down some. Reasonably he knew that Hal had accepted the conditions when they started becoming serious, and if it was going to be a deal breaker or if it was all Hal wanted he would’ve left before now.

“Just nervous.” He replied honestly.

“It's okay. Everyone has their first time. We’ll take it slow, okay?”

Barry nodded.

“And if you want to stop at any point, just say stop and we will.”

He leaned back letting Hal have full access to him again, just trying to learn to enjoy the sensation of Hal pressing kissing against his ribs, followed by soft nips and then back to kisses. There was the movement of Hal’s hands slowly unwinding him from his tense state.

“I trust you.”

Hal looked up sharply, something flaring in his eyes before he shot up to capture Barry’s lips in a kiss. He pulled back and grinned. “I’ll take care of you.”

All he could do was nod, too swept away by the show of emotion to form coherent words. The nervousness and anxiety ebbed away to a manageable state and he was fully able to let himself go in the sensations.

Chapter Text

The winter air bit at Barry’s cheeks as he made his way to the train station. Hal was supposed to be arriving on the 5 o’ clock from Coast City. He was excited to see his boyfriend, as well as apprehensive. For some reason Hal had gone radio silent for the past couple of days. It wasn't unheard of, they both got busy and had lives- so he wasn't worried, but when they had a visit coming up they couldn't stop texting each other.

Barry shook his head. Hal probably had more things to do since he was staying for a week this time. Their second christmas as a couple was coming up and Hal was coming back Central this year. Hopefully next year it would work out that Barry went to Coast. Maybe convince Hal to take him up to Starling, see what the locals were saying about the vigilante.

The train station was approaching quickly (so said the announcer) and Barry picked up his pace. He could practically feel himself buzzing. It'd only been two months since their last in person visit, but any time he got to spend in person with Hal was great. Even Joe and Iris were looking forward to seeing Hal. It was still surprising to hear Joe ask how Hal was doing almost weekly, Iris had given her number to Hal the last time he visited and they became fast friends.

Things couldn't be better and if they kept going the way they were Barry could easily see a proposal in the near future, if Hal didn't freak out (Carol has been warning him of what could happen) and even though he was still young he really loved Hal.

Shaking his head he stood at the exit, ready to bolt to Hal when he saw the brown-haired man. The train was still twenty minutes out, this was one thing that he wouldn't be late for.

The train pulled up and he was bouncing on his heels. People flooded out and Barry craned his neck trying to pick out his boyfriend. Eventually  the last passenger walked off and the train doors shut before it started to pull away. He pursed his lips, Hal could've wandered around trying to scare him so Barry prepared for the hands going to grip his hips.

Twelve minutes passed and there was no sign of Hal anywhere. Barry  chewed his  bottom lip in thought. It was likely Hal missed the train. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened, to either of them. But no call? That was weird.

A bad feeling wormed its way into his chest and his stomach twisted. Something was wrong with Hal. He’d hoped he was wrong and this was some big prank from Hal. Which the pilot would be getting scolded for because this was not funny.

Barry thumbed his phone. He could call Carol, she always enjoyed spoiling Hal’s fun. If she did it this time it would serve him right. Though Carol might not answer him, she could be busy or they could’ve had a fight and was ignoring all things Hal again. His phone screen lit up in front of him, a text from Iris asking if Hal was in yet.

Biting his lip Barry unlocked his phone. He tried Hal’s number one more time before hearing the shrill beep of going straight to voicemail. His phone is completely off then? With no more hesitation Barry dialed Carol’s number.

Dread. That’s what he was feeling. He couldn’t place the feeling before, but now he remembers it clearly from when he was a boy going back to his house after the murder.

The phone rang three times before there was a click, “hello?”

“Carol?” Barry bounced his leg.

There was silence. “Oh my- Barry! How are you?”

His bad feeling got a lot worse, Carol sounded distracted. He shifted, “I’m fine I’d be better if I knew where Hal is.”

“Wouldn’t we all.” She mumbled.

“What?”

“What do you mean, Barry why do you- oh. Oh! I am so- Are you sitting down?”

Barry nodded before remembering that he was actually on a phone, “yeah. Carol, what’s going on?”f

“I can’t believe we forgot. I am so sorry, you should’ve been informed.”f

“Seriously, what’s wrong?” Barry’s chest tightened, he was near panicking.

Carol took a deep breath and let it out, “two days ago Hal was performing a test flight, it wasn’t even anything unusual just observing its low flying capabilities, then suddenly the communications went dead and we weren’t picking him up in the cockpit.”

Barry’s heart skipped a beat.

“The plane went down and when we went out there, Hal was gone. The seat wasn’t ejected and there was no sign that he even left the plane. He vanished.”

“What do you mean vanished? Like he was abducted in the middle of a test flight by aliens?” The panic was rising to the surface.

“No, no aliens. We don’t really know what happened. The authorities are confident he’s around where the plane crashed and that they will find him. He couldn’t have gotten far.”

“Do I- Should I- what-?” Barry stuttered.

“Barry, if you're going to ask if you should come help, stay there. If we need you or something comes up I'll call you. The police are searching for him. You know how they are about people interfering with their searches.” Carol's voice softened.

“But...” he trailed off.

“Barry I promise you we'll call you. I just forgot to call you this time because it happened so fast, and... it's Hal.”

He nodded, Carol was a childhood friend of Hal’s.  Barry imagined that Iris would be as frantic if not more so than Carol if he were to ever disappear.

“Besides you have something to keep you busy in Central. You'll just have more time to panic here.”

Barry pinched his nose, “You're right. Yeah okay, just keep me updated.”

There was a long pause and he thought that Carol had hung up, like she was wont to do with Hal when she was finished with the conversation. “I know how much Hal means to you, but I know he wouldn't want you needlessly worrying.”

“Needlessly?”

Carol chuckled, “valid point. If you have to come, wait until after Christmas. You have a family to celebrate with.”

Barry sighed, “I don't feel much like celebrating.”

“I understand. Just, go be with your family. I have to go.”

“Sure, yeah. Go ahead. Just please call me.”

“I will. Be safe.”

The phone line went silent. Barry slowly lowered it to his lap. Since the next train wasn't due for another 45 minutes the station was fairly empty. He groaned and bent his head to his knees. Why was it when he had something good the universe had to take it from him?

He wasn't sure how long he remained sitting there, but the station began to get busy with the people waiting for the next train. Barry sat up when his phone rang for the sixth time. It was Iris.

Knowing how Iris would be getting worried and if she got worried then Joe would get involved and he didn't think that he could handle that at the moment. But if he answered Iris would know something was wrong.

They both would if he went home without Hal.

So he choose the path of least resistance, and picked up the phone.

“Barry! Where are you? Is the train running late?”

He had pulled the phone away from his ear when he answered, “I'm still at the station.”

“Why? What's wrong?” Iris’ voice immediately became concerned.

“Hal is missing. Has been missing for two days.”

“Oh my God, stay there I'm coming to get you. Dad had to go back to the precinct for something.”

Barry ended the call. He knew he didn't have to tell Iris he wasn't going to move he knew he couldn't go anywhere. Too drained to think about leaving. He could only pray that Hal would show up alive.

Chapter Text

“I just have a little experience in liking someone who doesn’t see you the same way,” Barry cursed mentally as he said it.

He hadn’t thought about his crush on Iris in a long time, not since he had started seriously dating Hal. But Felicity was a nice girl and she looked like she could use someone to confide in. Someone who was a friendly stranger.

Realizing his mistake, Barry reached to start the stream of the Accelerator. Only Felicity raised her hand to stop him.

“How did it work out?”

The question was innocent enough, but thinking about the answer still made his heart twist painfully. His silence sent Felicity into a backspin.

“I didn’t mean to bring it up if it's still painful! I mean I figured since you offered. I’m sorry!”

Barry ran a hand through his hair, “no. No. That’s not it.”

Felicity looked curious but also concerned. Her head was tilted and her lips pursed slightly.

“That person and I never got together.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she meant it.

“I’m fine with that, really,” he knew he and Iris would probably never work out, “besides I met someone else that took my mind off of her.”

“So you had to get over that person by seeing another person?”

“Yeah,” Barry shrugged.

Felicity sighed, “that’s not exactly reassuring. There aren’t that many people like Oliver.”

He wasn’t going to point out the slip of the tongue, “the person I fell for? Was nothing like the other person.”

“Was?”

Of course she would notice the slip of the tongue. Maybe talking about Hal to someone else would ease the grief a little bit. An outside perspective. If nothing else maybe he could reminisce without the pitting looks he got from Joe and Iris.

“He went missing about six months ago. It went cold about two weeks into the search, it was like he hadn’t even existed.”

“I am so sorry,” Felicity grabbed his hand.

“Thanks.”

“You know, Oliver disappeared without a trace as well.”

It was a well meaning piece of hope, but Barry couldn’t find it in himself to bring himself to think like that. As the universe has shown him, he doesn’t get nice things.

Felicity broke the silence, “what was his name?”

“Hal Jordan.”

“The pilot from Ferris Air?” She gasped.

“That’s the one.” Barry answered.

He moved to turn the broadcast back on and this time Felicity didn’t try to stop him. She seemed lost in thought or was trying to push away the awkward feeling that had filled up the room. Hopefully they could wait for the results without having to bring up any more painful memories.


There was a lot more going on in Starling City than Barry had previously imagined when reports of a man shooting people with a bow had surfaced. It was a wonder that more people didn’t equate Oliver’s return with the rise of the vigilante.

Barry was actually (kind of) glad that Hal had playfully disregarded his attempts to get them to go on a vigilante hunting date. That would’ve been way too dangerous. It would’ve been like walking around Gotham alone when it was after dark while you looked rich.

Honestly even being in the middle of it for a time he hadn’t thought he got the full scope of things. Oliver kept a lot hidden and it was layers upon layers of evil plot to uncover.

Criminals were a lot simpler in Central.

Speaking of which, Barry was not looking forward to the triple team he was going to get from Joe, Iris, and Captain Frye. They would all somehow attack him on separate things. They had to negotiate it beforehand. It was too uncanny.

A door opened behind him and he turned to see Felicity making her way towards him. Judging by her nervous hand wringing Oliver still wasn’t back.

“I’m heading back to Central, I want to see the Accelerator go live.”

She didn’t seem that surprised, “we did solve the case after all, and you saved Oliver’s life.”

“You wouldn’t think I did with how he acts,” Barry chuckled.

“That’s Oliver for you,” she shrugged.

Silence fell over them, but it wasn’t awkward for once. The night was cold, and it made Barry miss Hal even more than he usually did. This would usually be the point in the night where they wander inside and curl up underneath blankets before falling asleep.

“You know, it wouldn’t be any trouble to keep an eye out for this Hal of yours.”

It was spoken surprisingly loud and Barry jumped before looking next to him. Felicity’s posture hadn’t changed, so she had obviously been thinking about this for a while.

“Why would you?”

“We owe you, and you’re a friend,” Felicity shrugged.

He barely knew them and yet they were friends? Barry supposed it had to do with having shared most of the deep dark secrets they all had. Heroes probably had to be extremely picky about who they let close. Oliver took it to an extreme it seemed. Surprisingly, he felt honored.

“Sure. Maybe you’ll pick up something the cops missed,” even to his own ears it didn’t sound like he believed it.

“I’ll let you know if anything shows up,” she straightened, “and if you want to catch the train back, you should probably leave now.”

Barry glanced at his watch and saw she was right, “Uh, thanks for everything. I have to go now! Bye!”

He ran past her and she was smiling slightly. Maybe in another time he could’ve flirted with her, ease both of their heartaches for a time. Only now his heartache was still to fresh and her’s couldn’t be soothed for the time being.


“Did you make it?”

Barry rolled his eyes to himself, “yeah I, uh, made it back in time but I missed the cut-off in line at S.T.A.R labs, but I was late as usual.”

There was a slight chuckle over the phone line. Barry smiled to himself, before inwardly groaning at the puddle forming on the floor. Really? He’d forgotten to close the vent again.

“But in the spirit of not being late again, if you ever decide Oliver Queen isn’t the guy for you,” he stuttered hoping to make his next words sound as he intended them to, “you should know that that guy won’t be late.”

She deserved that at least. Maybe long down the road if they both couldn’t get what they wanted, her Oliver and him an alive Hal, then they could work. Just. Not right now.

“Good to know.”

Barry hoped she was smiling. Which reminded him, “oh, and I left something for Oliver. Hope he likes it.”

“Bye Barry.”

He grinned, “bye Felicity.”

Finally, setting all his gear down he turned his attention to The Board. There was still a missing piece, and unfortunately Starling hadn’t given him it. New friends, sure, but his father had been in jail long enough for a crime he didn’t commit.

“We’re being told to evacuate.”

That caught his attention as he slowly turned around towards the screen. The storm was messing with the Accelerator? It was a delicate machine, but he hadn’t through that a thunderstorm could cause it any difficulties.

“Unable to regain control of any of the systems.”

Not good news at all. Just as he leaned forward to give the screen his undivided attention, the power cut out. He could feel something twist in his gut, just like he had before he learned Hal was missing. Slowly Barry raised his head in time to see the explosion.

Rushing over to the vent, in some vain attempt to keep the damage from the Particle Accelerator from reaching indoors, he grabbed the chains.

He realized three things in that instances. One, he grabbed metal in an electrical storm when he wasn’t grounded. Two, the chemicals were reacting to something in the air. Three, he was too late as the energy from the explosion and a lightning bolt struck him at the same time.

What did he do to get the universe so against him?

All he felt was a searing burn arcing down his chest, his muscles contracted. He couldn’t do anything, let go of the chain, scream, cry. It was like licking a battery, except way stronger.

His thoughts shifted, and he couldn’t pin them down. They were vague and abstract. Names and feelings. Iris. Joe. Hal. Pain. Numb. Pain. Pain. Pain. Numb.

He blacked out.

Chapter Text

// rewind to 2 weeks after Hal’s abduction//

Hal had been having a weird time. First he got abducted by a piece of jewelry, then taken freaking galaxies away, learned that said ring was actually a galactic cop badge, and then he got beat up by Kilowog(at least they were friends now) for training.

He really hoped Barry would understand. At the thought of his boyfriend his heart stopped. It had to be weeks after his abduction, he missed Christmas! Hell, he didn’t even know if Barry still wanted to be with him. That would be asking a lot, especially since he wouldn’t tell Barry what happened.

Sinestro had warned against telling people he cared about that he was a Green Lantern. Hal didn’t know what that meant, but it always sounded heavy when he said, “I am a Green Lantern.”

Honestly that was the only way he made himself believe it when he first arrived on Oa.

He really wanted to go home, try for a second chance with Barry.

“Jordan!” Kilowog yelled.

“Here!” Hal stepped out of his quarters.

“The Guardians want you to go on a mission with some of the senior Lanterns. Your final test.”

Hal deflated, “a mission? I already said I’d hand over the ring if they didn’t agree with the choice.”

“That’s not how it works,” Kilowog shook his head, “the rings haven’t been wrong. You’re the first Terran to be chosen, no one knows what your kind is capable of.”

“I just want to go home.”

Kilowog gave him a pitying look that usually would’ve pissed him off, “this is a great honor, a great gift.”

He had heard the speech before. Part of him wanted this, to be greater than just a reckless pilot, and the ring felt right on him. Its power surging through his veins gave him a sense of completeness. The type he only felt with Barry.

As much as he had raged against this responsibility, he knew that this was his purpose.

It didn’t stop him from missing lazy Sunday naps with Barry.

“If you pass this test you can return home.”

Hal whipped his head up to look at the large alien, “you’re serious?”

“Yes.”

“What changed The Guardians minds?”

Kilowog shrugged, “you’re a Terran, they’re a new species just discovering space.”

That didn’t make any sense to him, but Hal wasn’t going to complain. Space was far too lonely.

“So what do I have to do?”


The mission had gone ass up in a surprisingly short time. Hal growled as he dodged another yellow-light construct. It wasn’t actually that surprising, the whole mission had been a sham. At least one of the others was dead as he had seen a small streak of green fly to the nearest planet.

Sinestro floated in front of him gloating.

“A human in the corps? How far they’ve fallen.”

Hal looked around for any assistance, the others were either out cold or on the planet trying to stop the uprising that Sinestro had caused.

“Don’t underestimate us Humans!” A green fist shot from his ring.

Sinestro had to put up a shield, and Hal felt smug with the fact that it looked like it was a struggled before the fist dissolved.

“I control fear!” Sinestro yelled sending several lances out.

Hal dodged most of them, and had to put up a shield at the last minute. The tip of the lance was trapped, and he felt a slight curling in his gut.

“Fear?” Hal laughed, “how pathetic do you have to be?”

“Everyone is afraid of something!”

His mind went back to a plane landing roughly, black smoke trailing it. A man trying to climb out of it, on foot out. An explosion.

“What do I have to be afraid of? My worst fear already happened!”

Green burst out from his body and he focused into his ring. Instead of calling a construct he launched himself at the Yellow Lantern. Sinestro’s eyes widened and Hal was able to land the uppercut.

Sinestro flipped through space before righting himself. A split on his chin, purple blood oozed from the cut. A sinister snarl marred his face.

“You dare strike me?”

“We are fighting aren’t we?” Hal smirked.

Sinestro stopped trying to hit him with constructs, instead sending a volley of yellow light at him. He put up a green shield, but it was cracking under the strain. The hits seemed harder.

Is it because they’re not formed into something? The emotion?

He pushed the shield out, hoping to make a shockwave and surprised when he did so. Apparently will power trumped physics, Barry was going to be pissed. Hal laughed, but then sobered. Sinestro could still very easily kill him.

Hal tried to call hands to hold Sinestro still. The Yellow Lantern was flying at him at an incredible speed. Like a baseball that was on fire from that one cartoon he used to watch. Suddenly the hand changed to a bat and Hal swung out.

He knocked Sinestro out of the park, which he was pretty sure that only pissed the other off. Hal waited a couple of more seconds as he watched the yellow glow get dimmer and dimmer until it vanished.

Certain that he had a respite now he flew back towards the planet. He increased his shield as he flew from the atmosphere, considering it was thicker than Earth’s. The planet didn’t seem like it had been razed, and only the barest traces of smoke billowed above the capital.

Kilowog’s jaw fell open when he landed, “you’re alive?”

Hal grinned, “thanks for the vote of confidence.”

“And Sinestro?”

“Gone but not dead,” Hal replied, he wasn’t sure he’d be capable of killing.

“That’s a problem.”

Hal nodded, “Sinestro needs to be found, before he tries something like this again.”

Kilowog just stared at him.

He raised an eyebrow, “is there something on my face? I made sure Sinestro didn’t hit it!”

The alien shook his head, muttering something in his original language that the ring decided not to translate.

“Well, the situation has been resolved, we should head back to Oa and report Sinestro’s betrayal,” Kilowog flew up.

“Wait a second,” Hal caught up in a second, “Sinestro said something about Parallax when this started. What is that?”

“A question that The Guardians would be better suited to answer.”

“What about the fact that the yellow broke through your guys’ shields so easily...” Hal trailed off, “where is everyone?”

“They went back to Oa, I was waiting to see the result of the fight.”

“And what about my first question?” Hal pressured.

Kilowog glared at him, “wait until we get to The Guardians.”

Hal huffed. Evasive assholes, the lot of them. They should trust the people in the order more, or The Guardians should be more forthcoming with information. It’d bite them in the ass if they kept secrets.

Of course, he wasn’t going to listen to his own advice.

The flight back to Oa only took a couple of hours, but Hal was feeling drained. It was the first time he had used his ring in actual combat and flown with it.

“We’ll head around the binary stars of sector 97, you seem tired,” Kilowog said for the first time in hours.

“Thanks, I think,” Hal gaped, flying near stars. This was just crazy.

They fell silent again. He wondered how close to Earth he could get if he took off now. Kilowog didn’t seem like he was in the mood to chase after a rookie. Not to mention, he wasn’t even sure how to get to Earth from here.

“We’ll wormhole in a few minutes, once we get through the nebula.”

Hal looked around, before realizing there wasn’t enough light to show colors... not to mention it was composed of gases.

“Wormhole?” He asked.

“Its how we travel to places, but since our mission was within five light years, we just decided to fly.”

“Why are we doing it now?” Hal couldn’t believe it, they flew light years?

He shook his head, starting from right now he wasn’t going to be surprised by anything else that happened with the Corp. This was normal to them, and he was one of them now.

“You’ve never gone through one, its better to get used to doing them over small distances first.”

“Oh.”

In a few more minutes Kilowog’s ring chirped and a green hole opened in front of them. Since his companion didn’t slow down Hal kept his pace and met the circle. He felt pushed back, before the pressure disappeared and Oa’s green glow could be seen.

Kilowog was watching him, “you feel alright?”

“It wasn’t so bad, just like the G-force training I have to go through.”

“Why?”

“Pilot. So I don’t pass out during take off,” Hal shrugged.

“What is a pilot?”

Hal paused, “I fly machines.”

“That explains many things,” Kilowog replied.

“What?”

The alien shrugged, “I’ve trained many recruits, but not many had your spunk and even fewer picked up aerial combat or handled their first jump so well.”

He honestly hadn’t thought about it. On some level it made sense, though he thought it was due to how natural it felt to have the ring. Maybe it's because the ring picks people with the potential already and it feels natural to everyone.

While he was musing, Kilowog began to fly down to Oa’s surface. Hal grinned and took off.

“Race you!”

Kilowog sputtered behind him, but Hal assumed that the other lantern wouldn’t join in on his games. He had too much adrenalin from the fight, it sometimes happened after having a particular dangerous test flight. Sleep would evade him and he’d run around the block maybe ten times before flopping back into his bed... or he would call Barry.

God he missed the dork.

Kilowog landed behind him, “Hal?”

He tensed, “yeah? Don’t we have Guardians to report to?”

There was a grunt and Kilowog passed him, heading towards the large platform in the middle of the city.

I really should’ve guessed that place was important. I have a job, I can’t get melancholy right now!

The Guardians weren’t anything like he thought they were going to be. Tiny bodies, large heads, and even a larger sense of importance.

“The betrayal of Sinestro is unexpected, never once has a Green Lantern fallen!”

Hal looked at the one speaking, he was sure they had names, but he definitely didn’t know them.

“Pardon me,” he cringed when the argument ceased, “but what exactly is Parallax? Sinestro kept yelling about it between his ravings of ending the corp.”

Apparently he committed a transgression because several of the guardians scowled at him.

“Parallax is none of your concern!” One snapped.

“I’m going to be fighting Sinestro, one of your greatest I remind you. I need to know what exactly I’m going up against so I know how to win.”

That wasn’t what they were expecting either.

“You’re going to take on Sinestro?”

He shrugged, “he betrayed the corp, I’m a member of it whether you like it or not. I also fought him on equal footing.”

Another guardian, one that hadn’t scowled at him nodded.

“I will tell you. Fear is the greatest antithesis to Will. It overpowers the Will of many. Parallax is living fear. It feeds off of it and grows stronger. Civilizations fall to it. We locked Parallax away, but if Sinestro is talking about it, then he must’ve found it.”

That’s reassuring. Hal sighed.

Kilowog sent him a look that clearly said that he should mind himself.

“So we have to stop Sinestro before he lets this thing out or before it gets too strong?”

“If Parallax is released it is already too late,” the guardian replied.

“This is not your fight human,” another spat.

Hal sucked in a breath and counted to ten, before wheeling to face this Guardian.

“Again, you may not like that I’m in your corp, but the ring chose me. Sinestro was my friend and he betrayed me! This is my fight!” Hal glared, daring the guardian to speak.

Kilowog was giving him that look again. Hal ignored it, that was something he’d look into later though.

“What happened to you wanting to return to Earth?”

Hal paused. He wanted to go back, god he wanted to... but this was his responsibility. When he took that vow he became a Green Lantern, and while he didn’t know what that meant, he intended to uphold the honor of the title.

“What of your mate you left behind?” Another counted, seeing an opening.

“How do you even know that?” Hal cried.

“We know much more than you can fathom.”

Barry... Hal looked down to his feet. His Bear was so good and kind. Right now the entire galaxy was at stake. There would be no doubt about what Barry would tell him to do, hell he’d probably even come along.

He’d understand eventually, Hal would explain it to him and Barry would understand. The only thing keeping him from saying yes right away was because he wanted to go home, be with his partner.

He was a man of his word, Carol would laugh at him so hard if she ever heard that. His heart had to come second right now.

“I have a duty to do.”

There must’ve been something about the way he said it or looked like because The Guardians looked intrigued now.

“Aren’t you afraid?”

Hal grinned, “of course not, I wasn’t when I was face to face with Sinestro why would I be now?”

I’ll return home. I promise, Barry please wait for me.

Chapter Text

Since waking up from a coma, Barry hadn’t had much time to think about his personal life beyond, I have to let Iris and Joe know I’m alive. Then finding out that he had super speed derailed getting his plan of getting his life back together. On the bright side he still had a job. All in all, things weren’t going too bad.

Until Cisco told him to suit up while tossing a red blob at him because they were going to the Ferris Air Testing Facility just outside of town to run( ha, get it Barry because you run fast) some tests.

He had just stopped, or everything else did. With everything that had happened he had forgotten about Hal. Working with the assumption that had Hal been able to he would’ve been in Central City waiting for him to wake up, or would’ve called him because Iris can’t keep any good news to herself.

Pulling himself back to the rest of the world’s speed, he shot a grin at Cisco, “I’ll change when we get there.”

Cisco had shrugged and wandered off to help with packing some of the equipment.

Barry craned his neck to make sure that he was alone before running over to the computer and pulling up a search engine. Quickly he typed in ‘Hal Jordan’. The page loaded slower than he was used to and once again he realized that he was speeding himself up. Really going to have to work on that.

Once the page was finally loaded, several news articles filled the top results: Pilot still missing, Ferris Air has no comments about vanished pilot, Memorial to be held for missing test pilot.

The air rushed out of his lungs. He couldn’t believe it, people really couldn’t think about Hal being dead, could they? Realistically, he knew that the faster a missing person was found increased the chances that they would come home alive, they’d passed that point even before he went into the coma. Then the longer they went without a body decreased the chances of finding that between decomposition, weather, and scavengers.

But for whatever reason, Barry didn’t think Hal was gone. It just didn’t seem right for a life-forces as vibrant as his to just be snuffed out without any answers. Barry figured it was the grief talking. Maybe one more miracle would happen, and Hal would come back to him just fine and they could live their lives just slightly altered.

“Barry! We’re ready to leave!”

He nodded before he realized that Caitlin had only called him and not actually returned to the room. Barry stood and grabbed the gaudy red fabric and zoomed to the van, managing to make Cisco scream and Caitlin give him a blank stare that had a tinge of annoyance to it.

Once they were on the road, Barry let his thoughts drift. He remembered soaring down this road many times in Hal’s orange convertible, with plans to sneak onto the test site. Most of the time they just star-gazed, sometimes they flew. But every time Barry remembered thinking that Hal was a man who should never be grounded. He lived too much in the air.

The one bright side that Barry had found about Hal being missing is there was no way pictures of him in the spandex would ever find their way to the pilot. He hoped that if he decided to do what he was planning on doing, that his suit would be a tiny bit more stylish.

Cisco joked with him. Barry wished that this wasn’t the circumstance that he met the engineer in, but he was glad that they had met. It was rare for him to find someone he so easily got along with.

Caitlin came up to him after Cisco walked away. The same blank angry at the world expression on her face. He couldn’t help but stare.

“What?” She snapped.

“Nothing... its just I noticed you don’t smile much.”

She gave him a hard stare and it was enough to make him realize he should’ve kept his mouth shut. Where he and Cisco got along like two peas in a pod, he and Caitlin got along like water and oil.

“My once promising career in bioengineering is over. My boss is in a wheelchair for life. The explosion that put you in a coma also killed my fiancee. So this blank expression kind of feels like the way to go.”

Barry opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. While he wasn’t sure how to feel about the first two, he knew what losing your partner felt like. He wanted to let her know that he could help, but she walked away before he could finish the words. It would’ve been a stupid gesture anyway, they barely knew each other.

Doctor Wells called to him from a little further away, warning him to use restraint.

“Yeah,” Barry said it as a peace gesture. Truthfully he wasn’t sure what he was going to need to restrain and Wells was making this sound easier than it was.

He crouched down and summoned his speed. Suddenly he was rocketing over the asphalt. The air pushing against him, trying to push him over. He pushed through it and pushed himself faster. It was exhilarating and he saw a spark fly off of him.

The ground in front of him blurred and now he was eleven years old again and watching as some blur spun around his mother as she screamed. Everything was so clear to him know that he stumbled and crashed into the water barrels.

Pain bloomed in his wrist and head. Looking at his arm he saw that it was hanging at an odd angle. Oh.


He was running, though he wasn’t entirely sure where to.

You’re not a hero, you’re just some guy who got struck by lightning.

Barry was just angry, with Joe for not believing him again, at Wells because he was so dismissive and probably right, that Iris was keeping secrets from him, he was angry that the one person he wanted to see the most wasn’t around, and he was angry that he had first definitive piece of evidence of his dad’s innocence and he couldn’t tell anyone.

His jacket started to catch fire and he skidded to a stop, praying that he still had soles on his shoes. He flung his jacket on to the ground and looked up at where he was at.

Starling City, 5 miles.

Well, maybe talking to Oliver might help him or Felicity if he could find her.

The Arrow was the first one he found, perched on a building top like a gargoyle. Barry shifted his stride and ran up the side of the building, hopefully slow enough that he wouldn’t shatter the glass.

When he stopped he could see a tip of an arrow glinting in the moonlight and pointed directly at his face.

“Don’t shoot! Its me, Barry!”

Slowly the bow lowered, and Oliver’s face emerged from the shadows, the mask covering his eyes. Barry allowed himself a second of happiness that his gift was being used and another one because he managed to make the stoic Mr. Oliver Queen’s jaw drop in surprise.

“Barry Allen?”

He nodded.

Oliver removed his mask and just stared at him, looking for any signs that this was a hoax. Barry allowed him the moments, seeing if his friend had changed any in the months that had passed.

“I have something to tell you,” Barry blurted out.

“Sure, but you know, it’s polite to let your friends know you’re out of a coma.” Oliver quirked a brow.

Barry frowned, “I was pretty sure I sent Felicity a text. My bad, tell her for me?”

“What is it you need to tell me, other than how you climbed a building so fast?” The bow was slung onto his back.

“Well, I was struck by lightning at the same time the particle accelerator exploded and now I’m the fastest man alive.”

The look Oliver gave him was priceless, “you got struck by lightning and got super speed... are you a comic book protagonist?”

“Probably not, don’t they usually get the girl?” It was meant to be a light hearted joke, but was said a little too heavily.

“I’m sorry about Hal.”

Barry sucked in a deep breath, he still hadn’t had time to properly deal with that. It was probably going to have to be made a priority soon. After he exhaled, it was like a dam had burst. Everything spilled out from the night his mother was murdered to the day he met Hal, and he finally finished with the day’s events that landed him on a rooftop at some ungodly hour in the morning talking to a guy commonly thought of as a maniac with a bow.

Oliver, to his credit stood silently and listened not once interrupting. Below them the city moved on, unaware that their world was changing.

“All my life I wanted to just do something more, be more. And now I am, and the first chance I get to help someone, I screw it up,” Barry paused, “what if Wells is right. What if I’m not a hero? What if I’m just some guy who was struck by lightning?”

“I don’t think that bolt of lightning struck you,” Oliver paused to catch his eyes, “I think it chose you.”

Sentient lightning, what the hell anything possible now. But he could tell that he was seeing something not everyone saw, bone-deep honesty. Oliver was telling him the truth and not just what he wanted to hear.

“I’m just not sure I’m like you Oliver.” He meant it, every important part of his life had gotten messed up. Each time he felt like it was going to be the final blow that broke him. Oliver had been stranded and whatever else, but the moment he returned home he started his crusade.

Barry didn’t think he had that strength in him anymore.

“I don’t know if I can be some vigilante.”

“You can be better,” Oliver said it with no hesitation without missing a beat.

Barry stared at him, and he saw emotion brought up to the surface in Oliver’s eyes. He couldn’t help but be stunned, was this really the same man?

“Because you can inspire people in a way that I never could.”

It hit him then that Oliver believed that he could do this and that he would be good at it.

“Watching over your city like a guardian angel. Making a difference... saving people... in a flash.”

Oliver turned around then and Barry smiled. That had been the pep talk that he needed. Then Oliver turned back around.

“Take your own advice, wear a mask.”

He shared a smirk with the other vigilante before Oliver turned around and jumped off of the building. Barry was ready to sprint down and catch him, before he heard a twang and saw a green blur raise.

“Cool.”

Oliver paused and Barry took off down the building and towards the highway. He’d be a hero, and if he’d have to do it alone then so be it, but at least he had one person on his side.

Chapter Text

The Sinestro Crisis was far from over, Hal had a feeling that as long as he was a Green Lantern there would be Sinestro and his Yellow Lanterns, but they had reached a stalemate for the time being. Unfortunately the Yellow Corp had gotten a planet to be their base of operations, but considering the low-population the Green Lanterns deemed it a win. It sat heavily in Hal’s stomach, but even he wasn’t stupid enough to think that he could take the growing corp alone.

Besides, he was still nursing a broken rib that had slipped and punctured a lung. He wasn’t going to do much fighting. All he wanted to do right now was sleep for a month.

However, he was trudging up the stairs to the Seats of the Guardians. Apparently they had wanted to talk to him, which never ended well for him. Last time caused him to go and stop a meteor from hitting a prominent ally’s planet and destroying it.

As usual, the Guardians were arguing about something which went way over his head, but as soon as he stepped out into the open the argument ceased.

The most friendly Guardian (as in they didn’t openly show scorn towards him) nodded to him and Hal waved back.

“Lantern Jordan, we heard you were injured in the latest skirmish with the Sinestro Corps.”

“I was,” Hal raised an eyebrow.

The Guardian continued speaking, “a serious injury for you species. Yet you’re walking around like it is nothing.”

Well, I can’t ignore a call from the Guardians of the Universe. Hal thought. He was in significant pain from his rib and there were no painkillers that are human-safe on Oa and none of the doctors wanted to be the one to accidentally kill the rising star of the Green Lanterns. It was his personal goal to remember to bring ibuprofen the next time he came back from Earth.

That was if he ever returned to Earth. He shook his head, he’d go home again.

Another Guardian was speaking and Hal turned his attention onto them.

“Since we have determined that the Sinestro Corps have yet to find and awaken Parallax we have decided to lower our threat level.”

Hal stared unsure of why he was the one being told this.

“Due to the lower threat level, certain groups of Lanterns can return to their home worlds for rest. In your vernacular I believe the term is shore leave.”

He wasn’t sure he had heard correctly but his stomach filled with butterflies at the thought of seeing Coast City again.

“You have been selected to go on extended leave, however should we require your services you must return with all haste.”

“I get to go home?”

The Guardian that had been speaking looked at him with a blank expression, but Hal knew it to mean ‘are you serious? I just said that.’ He’d gotten that look a lot recently.

“How long have I been away approximately?” They probably didn’t know, but Hal had to know what he was going back to. It had to be months since he got his ring.

“One full cycle and half of another.” The friendliest Guardians answered.

Hal’s jaw dropped. He had been gone for a year and a half. Everyone had to think that he was dead. How was he even going to begin to explain this? It wasn’t like he could walk back into Carol’s office after going AWOL for a weekend. More than likely everyone he knew and loved had moved on. He was alone.

There was so much he had to think about. Staying on Oa almost seemed like the better alternative than opening long closed wounds. But, he sighed, they deserve to know I’m not dead at least.

He looked back up at the Guardians, “thank you. I’ll take my leave as soon as possible.”

The Guardians didn’t acknowledge him so he took his dismissal and groaned as he saw that he had to go back down the steps. Until he remembered that he could just fly back down to the ground level. I'm r eally going to have to remember that my ring has powers.

Kilowog was on the training terrace, throwing boulder sized constructs at one of the new recruits. They had been getting more of those as they older Lanterns fell in the battles against Sinestro. He was almost considered to be a senior Lantern due to how many they lost.

He veered towards his friend, who gave him a pop quiz by launching the boulders at him. Hal flew gracefully between them before sending baseball sized projectiles back. Forming the larger constructs in large numbers still exhausted him.

“Jordan has only been a Lantern a little longer than you lot and look at what he can do.”

One of the recruits, a blue-skinned femme with long dark hair spoke, “yes, but by many of the elder Lanterns he’s considered to be one of the greatest.”

Hal felt a blush rising. He’d heard those rumors as well. It was like when Carol praised his flying, he knew he was good but it was rare for someone to confirm it for him. Being one of the greatest Lanterns though? It wasn’t possible, he’d only briefly met the alien that he got the ring from and Abin Sur had been twice the man he was.

Kilowog looked at the trainee with an unimpressed glare, “that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from him.”

“Anyone can be great at something,” Hal finished lamely.

However, the recruits looked at him with awed faces. Deciding that he would deal with the hero worship later he turned back to his friend.

“The Guardians have given me leave to go home.”

“I’ll see you when you return,” Kilowog returned his attention to the trainees.

“I don’t know if I’m going to go back.”

That had the large alien turning back to him, “why? You spoke of it and Barry with great fondness.”

“It's been a long time, long enough that people think that I’m dead.”

Kilowog nodded, “you think that it would be unfair to let them know you’re alive knowing you’ll have to leave for a long time again?”

Hal wondered if this was a common thing in the Lantern Corps. At least many of the species had the advantage of knowing about the Lanterns. On Earth people who believed in aliens are the ones many people called nut jobs.

“Yeah.”

“All you can do is make the choice and live with the consequences,” Kilowog shrugged.

It wasn’t helpful, but in a way it was helpful. For months all Hal could think about was going home and what he would do when he was there: he’d comfort his mother with the thought that he was happy doing what he did even if it killed him, harassing his brothers again, telling Carol that it wasn’t her fault because she would somehow twist it around like that, and showing Barry that not everyone he loves leaves him.

God. He had to back home, if only to give everyone closure.

“See you later Kilowog.”

The big alien put up a hand in a wave. Hal shot up in the air, leaving Oa’s atmosphere in record time. When he got to the safe zone to make the jump, he turned back around to look at the planet of green. It also looked so cold from this distance.

Steeling himself he put his fist out with his ring glowing softly, “sector 2814, Earth.”

A green wormhole opened and he flew through it. The forces pushing and pulling against him. By the time he emerged he was half ready to lose his lunch. A few short breaths later and the nausea died down. He turned around to make sure that he had arrived in the right place when he caught sight of Earth.

He felt like he had been punched in the gut. Earth was right in front of him, like an image straight out of the Hubble data banks. Blue water contrasted greatly with the green-brown landmasses. Hal saw a gathering of clouds that looked like the start of a storm in the middle of the ocean.

Out of all the planets that he had visited during his short tour of duty as a Lantern, Earth was the most beautiful he had ever seen.

A satellite whizzed by him and Hal remembered that someone was going to detect him if he stayed hovering like he was. Thankfully there weren’t any instruments sensitive enough to pick up his wormhole.

Flying through atmosphere’s was always uncomfortable, even through the barrier provided to him from his ring and shielding from the suit he could feel the heat. He entered cautiously, not wanting to get struck by something or be the one striking something. Once he saw a commercial airliner he knew that he had to make his descent to the ground quickly or someone really was going to notice.

Out of luck, or subconsciously, he had actually flown right about California. The only way he knew that was because of the Starling City, 5 miles sign. He groaned because Coast City was almost 250 miles away. Hal was about to take off, his plan was to fly low and dim and pray that his luck held until he got to his mom’s house, when his stomach grumbled.

After a few minutes of internally battling himself between letting people know he was alive and getting actual Earth food not just synthetic Earth food, he took off towards Starling. His argument should he get caught was that it was late at night and he didn’t want to disturb anyone’s rest.

And he really wanted pizza.

What he hadn’t counted on was how difficult it would be to get into the city without being seen. So he went to the least lit part of the city hoping that it meant it was the least populated and landed.

It looked like a war zone. Hal had seen enough to know what one looked like. Cranes and construction equipment lined the street next to partially built or mostly destroyed buildings. What happened while I was away?

He turned off the ring and pulled his trusty bomber jacket around his shoulders. Thankfully the day he’d been abducted he had forgotten to put his wallet into the locker. So while he was sure most of his cards were expired he still had fifty dollars and some change on him. Not to mention a really sappy picture of him and Barry, from their first Christmas together he had stuck the bow from his gift onto Barry’s head and in retaliation Barry had begun wrapping him the in giftwrap scraps, Iris had snuck the photo and gave him a printed wallet sized version.

It was his most treasured possession these days. He returned the picture to his wallet and began wandering down the streets looking for some place to eat. It was apparently later than late at night as the only places open were bars, and most of them looked like he was going to get stabbed for walking in.

Eventually he stumbled across a bar near a loud club called Verdant. It looked respectable enough, and when he entered he could smell wings. Hal could’ve cried. The bartender looked at him with a raised eyebrow before gesturing in a way that meant he could sit where he wanted.

He picked an end of the bar. The bartender eventually wandered over.

“What’s your poison?”

Hal blinked, it was so bizarre to hear regular Human spoken English, “just a coke, and hot wings.”

“This late?” The bartender raised an eyebrow but wrote it down.

“I just got into town, I’ve been traveling for a long time.”

“Ah.”

Just as quick he was left alone, and Hal closed his eyes and let the sounds of Earth wash over him. He didn’t think he would miss the planet that much.


“Oh my god,” Felicity murmured looking at the computer screen.

None of the other heard her and she turned to the table next to her to see that both Oliver and Barry had left their earpieces in an effort to not be disturbed. She doesn’t even know where to begin to look.

Diggle looked over at her and raised an eyebrow something we have to worry about? He seemed to be asking.

Felicity shook her head and Diggle turned back to the conversation. Part of her wanted to know if there was a tracking device in Barry’s suit she could hack to get his attention. He had to hear this, but something made her pause. What if it isn’t him, but someone that looks exactly like him?

The software was outdated, she had programmed it the week after Barry fell into the coma. Mainly so that should Hal appear she could let him know about what was going on in Central. After so much time she had forgotten about it and just let it run.

So she was surprised to see it ping, and even more surprised to see that a man identical to Hal Jordan had walked into a bar in Starling City and was literally a ten minute walk away.

Her life was crazy. Now if only she could get ahold of Oliver, if she told him then he would be able to check out Hal and make sure it is him before they tell Barry. The speedster really couldn’t deal with another heart break.

Even if keeping Hal a secret from him was only going to piss him off.

Chapter Text

    Felicity waited a week before confronting Oliver about the potential Hal situation. Ever since the two heroes ran off to “punch each other” any mention of anything Flash related caused him to scowl and walk away, but evidently Barry was currently the same.

“Hey, Oliver do you have a sec?” The patrol had been quiet so she hoped he was in a good mood.

“Yeah,” he said as he hung up his quiver, “what’s up?”

Now that she was about to talk about it, Felicity couldn’t find the words. She wasn’t even sure if he would even care. But she couldn’t backtrack now, and someone else had to know.

“The first time Barry came to Starling, before he was the Flash we talked about an old lover of his. The Ferris Air pilot that went missing?”

Oliver raised an eyebrow, “he was declared dead, the trail went cold.”

“Well, I created a program back at that time, before he was declared dead, because Barry just looked so sad and...”

“Felicity, what is it?”

She did a half shrug, “about a week ago the program picked up a match.”

There were several seconds where Oliver didn’t say anything. Felicity could actually see the realization dawn.

“He’s alive?”

“Or he has a twin?”

Oliver walked away and then sharply turned around, “does Barry know?”

Felicity shook her head, “I couldn’t tell him, if this guy isn’t him and with everything that’s happening to him right now.”

“Where is he? I assume you’ve been tracking him,” he grabbed his quiver off the rack.

“Back in Coast City, I’ll send you the address,” she turned to her computer and pulled up the program.


 

Hal’s ring chirped seconds before and arrow whizzed passed his head. Next to him the shaft shook from the impact with the wall. Something briefly stirred in his head before a figure dropped down in front of him.

“Hal Jordan-”

“Who are you?” Hal clenched his fist, ready to summon a construct.

“Are you the Hal Jordan of Ferris Air?”

He tilted his head, “again, who are you?”

“Just answer the question.” Suddenly he had an arrow pointed in his face.

Oh, this is the vigilante from Starling, probably. He used a bow right?

“I know I’ve been gone for awhile, but it's acceptable to openly threaten someone with a bow?” Hal cocked an eyebrow.

The Vigilante muttered something that sounded suspiciously like: “this is the guy? Really?”

“Now, why are you bothering me? I’m nobody, just a guy that’s no longer missing,” Hal frowned, “how did you find me anyway?”

“You were important to a friend of mine, and I just want to make sure that you aren’t going to hurt him again.” The Vigilante growled.

Hal narrowed his eyes, “who are you talking about?”

“Barry Allen, stay away from him. For now.”

His jaw nearly dropped. Hal realized that he had been back on Earth for nearly a week and hadn’t gone to see Barry, and then he realized that Barry was apparently friends with The Vigilante. Of course he is.

“What right do you have to warn me to stay away from him? Joe, I understand. Iris, I understand. You? You’re a guy in a mask with a bow.” Hal pulled himself up to his full height.

The Vigilante did the same, “he’s going through a lot. You know nothing of his life anymore.”

Hal realized that it was true. He didn’t know anything of Barry’s life anymore, and he didn’t even know if he would be welcome back into that life. He wasn’t going to let this guy know that.

“I can’t just stay away, if Barry found out I was back and didn’t tell him?” Hal rubbed his face, “I do want to still be in his life.”

He looked back at the other man, the Vigilante’s face was covered by the hood so Hal couldn’t get a read on him.

“Barry’s life is not the same. Besides it's been a week since you’ve been back and you haven’t once reached out to him.”

This is ridiculous, he’s a stranger.

“I haven’t reached out to my family yet, I need to adjust.”

The Vigilante reached out and clapped a hand to his shoulder, “you should go to them. No matter how long it’s been they’ll want to know you’re alive.”

“Speaking from experience?” Hal snorted.

“Yes,” the Vigilante began to move away from him, “just, give Barry a little while longer to adjust.”

Hal took a step forward, “you keep saying that, but what does he have to adjust to?”

“He has to tell you that himself,” the Vigilante shot at the roof of a nearby building and a cord was attached to it. He was suddenly lifted into the air.

“Wait!”

His ring started to power up and Hal stopped himself. He couldn’t reveal his identity in such a short time, to a guy he barely knew. At least he knew that Barry was still alive and healthy, even if his life was at a weird point.

Hal watched The Vigilante as he swung to another building. The rebellious part of him wanted to fly to Central City and sweep Barry into his arms and kiss him until the morning light filters through the blinds. But he couldn’t even tell his mom and brothers that he was fine. It wasn’t because he was scared of their reaction, he just didn’t want to hurt them again when he had to go back into space.

So he would wait a little long before he went to see Barry, and he would go and catch up with his family. He powered up his ring and made his aura dim before heading towards his family home. It was Sunday, so they’d be having family dinner. There was really no better time.

Chapter Text

Hal knew this was a bad idea, but the Vigilante’s words had been haunting him since the confrontation a few months ago. Coast City was blessedly the same town, no metas or people trying to take over the city, and he hadn’t started helping out with the small scale crimes. A space cop tackling a purse thief down seemed like overkill.

So he had taken to keeping tabs on the Vigilante and his team, waiting to jump in and save the day. Yes, he was still a little bitter about that night. Now he was heading out to Central City, and Hal wanted to know why. Not to mention he wanted to see this Flash character in action.

He followed the Vigilante to S.T.A.R. labs. From his vantage point he could see two men talking on the ground below.

“Ring, amplify.”

It took a couple of seconds before the ring focused on the conversation.

“-you went to such great lengths to keep those people from harm. Ever the hero, huh, Barry?”

Hal almost dropped from the sky. Barry? Please don’t say it’s my Barry. He inched closer, making sure to keep the aura dim. The last thing he needed was one an arrow coming at him, although, he doubted it could pierce his armor. Huh, I’ll have to test that.

“You’ve hurt enough people.”

Hal did have to land on the roof, he hadn’t heard that voice in almost two years. He missed that voice so much, and he almost flew down and hugged him. That would probably get them killed. Instead, he tuned himself out of the conversation, he wouldn’t understand any of it anyway.

Until the guy on fire landed next to Barry.

“This is crazy,” he whistled, before glancing superstitiously at where the Vigilante is-was. He only saw the man jump down onto the ground level to join the other two heroes.

“Welcome, Mr. Queen.”

Oh, Oliver Queen is the Vigilante? Hal couldn’t believe it. A billionaire moonlighting as a superhero? It sounded like something out of a comic book. He didn’t have much room to talk.

There was some pre-fight taunts and suddenly he was watching Barry as he was  running towards the other guy with lightning arcing off of hiTm, the other guy also had lightning surrounding him. Speedster thing?

The fire guy and Queen stood to the side waiting for the opportunity to strike. Suddenly the lightning cyclone stopped and Barry was pinned to the fence before he was thrown into the sign. Fire Guy flew up into the air and Queen shot arrows. He would make fun of the archer for missing but Yellow Dude was dodging them easily, and man I’m starting to hate the color yellow.

Fire Guy came from above and shot fire, which saved Barry’s life temporarily but he was flung away by tornadoes coming out of Yellow Dude’s hands. He really needed to catch up on what happened in this city, because this definitely wasn't a thing that happened before his GL days.

Still, his hand was tipped, he could get flung hundreds of feet away and be fine, but he wasn’t sure about people made out of fire. He activated his ring and made a catcher’s mitt. He carefully put the Fire Guy down to see the awed looks on everyone’s faces.

He landed just in time to see Yellow Dude’s vibrating cut out.

“Nanites, courtesy of Ray Palmer,” Queen growled, “they’re delivering a high-speed pulse that’s disabling your speed.”

Yellow Dude pulled the arrow out from his leg, which ow.

“You’re not going to be running around for quite a while.”

Queen flung his bow to the side as Yellow Dude charged him. It was rather undramatic, in comparison to the fireworks display from earlier. Barry joined the fray after Queen got knocked back and he and Fire Guy just shared a look, unsure if they should join in. Only once when the Yellow Dude was flipped onto the ground he started seizing and a shimmer formed above him.

“Are those the nanites?” Hal asked.

“Yep.” Fire Guy responded.

There was a red flash and Queen was being pinned against the pavement on the far side of the compound. Barry took off after him, but Hal lassoed Yellow Dude and swung him into the wall.

“You can’t stop me, Flash. And you never will.”

Hal hadn’t seen him get up. He was grateful that there was another speedster on the same frequency.

“And you, the first Green Lantern. Finally back on Earth?”

“How do you know me?” Hal clenched his fist.

“History.”

Oh. He’s from the future... is that a thing?

Barry and the Yellow Dude shot up to the roof of the building. Hal double checked that Queen was still breathing and turned to Fire Guy was flying towards the sky.

“Now!” Barry yelled.

Hal jumped in surprise, he had forgotten that he amplified the ring’s sound. He looked up to see Yellow Dude had been flung from the roof. He was vibrating again, and without thinking Hal sent out a bed construct to catch him before wrapping it around his arms.

It was strange because he felt the construct shaking with the Yellow Dude so he kept having to reforming it to keep him from phasing out of it. There was a twang of an arrow and a grunt from his prisoner.

Barry skidded down to them and Fire Guy landed next to Queen. Hal felt a little out of place so he floated next to Fire Guy.

“Thanks fellas and... stranger,” Barry said.

“No problem,” Fire Guy replied.

So he wasn’t the only one that was stunned by everything that was going on.

Barry turned to Queen, and Hal just noticed that the hood was off and that was definitely Oliver Queen.

“Nice hair cut, I see we’ve abandoned the traditional green.”

“Trying something new, and I see I’m not the only one in green any more.”

Like that all eyes were on him and Hal was grateful for the mask, even with the limited protection it provided.

“Uh, hi.”

“Dr. Wells knows this guy, at least his alias,” Fire Guy looked between Hal and Barry.

Hal realized what he was being accused of, “I’m not with him.”

“You’re not with anyone,” Queen snapped, “how do we know we can trust you?”

He caught Queen’s eyes and he could see the distrust in them, Barry’s were curious and Fire Guy looked mostly like he wanted to leave. He agreed with the last guy on that part. This isn’t how he wanted to do his heroic reveal.

“You know, I’m new here but I assume we don’t want this guy regaining his powers and running off?” Hal tried his most charming smile.

“He’s got a point,” Barry shrugged.

Queen looked like he didn’t like that, but he sighed, “put him in the pipeline, and you don't go anywhere.”

“I’m attached to him,” He moved to lift his left hand before he realized what a tell it would be.

However, it looked like Queen noticed, Hal sighed. The guy was eagle eyed, which explained why he was such a good shot.

They moved Wells inside, or rather he moved Wells inside and the others kept shooting wary looks between him and their prisoner. When they reached the “pipeline”, they were joined by several more people. Hal felt his stomach drop when he noticed Iris and Joe among them. The other two were complete strangers.

He imagined that wary look was well practiced. So he tried to smile at them and that just made the boy look more closed off. Awesome, I’m already behind and I haven’t even said anything.

There was an open cell and Hal put Dr. Wells into the cage, letting him drop the few feet which he hoped would be enough time to shut the door if the guy got his powers back. Since he wasn’t vibrating he assumed that he didn’t have his speed back, but people were very good at faking.

Once the door was shut all eyes were on him, again. Which Wells didn’t seem to like, as he started banging on the door yelling something Hal couldn’t bother to listen to. He crossed his arms and looked out at the gathered crowd. Iris had her eyes narrowed like she was thinking very hard about something.

“I think we should move this upstairs?”  Joe said.

“Are we sure we shouldn’t just put this guy in the pipeline? Haven’t we had enough betrayals by people who have helped us?” The kid cocked an eyebrow.

Hal raised his arms in a gesture of peace, “I don’t know enough of what’s going on to even thinking about betraying you. Which I wouldn’t, and I don’t feel comfortable talking about this in front of our-your enemy?”

“Upstairs we go.” Barry grinned.

He walked next to Joe on the way up, he felt like even in this suit this man might be an ally in what he assumed what would be an interrogation headed by the kid and Queen. Barry might side with him as well, and he still had one trick up his sleeve.

They arrived in the main room and immediately fanned out, blocking his escape and giving them room to move should this become a fight. It was a smart tactic.

“So, who are you?” The kid started.

“Green Lantern, GL for short,” Hal grinned, “do I get to know your names?”

“Maybe,” Queen widened his stance, “what’s a Green Lantern?”

“Yeah, are you a meta?” The kid followed up.

It was an impressive interrogation and for the sake of not getting shot, punched, and barbecued he went along with it, “I don’t know what a meta is, I’ve not been on Earth in a long time.”

“It’s a... human with abilities,” Barry shrugged.

Hal raised an eyebrow, “so you?”

“Yeah, and most of the ones that we’ve met haven’t been friendly. So we have to be careful,” Barry shrugged.

“I don’t have powers,” Hal started and raised his hand when the kid started to protest, “not like they’re a part of me. An object gives me the power, I don’t have that and I can’t be a Green Lantern.”

It was an opening for them to exploit a weakness, but it would let them lose some of their iciness hopefully.

Queen cleared his throat, “so back to my question. What is a Green Lantern?”

Hal shrugged, “I’m a, for lack of a better term, space cop?”

The kid dropped his arms and looked like he was going to say something but closed his mouth quickly.

“A space cop?” Joe’s eyes were wide, “they have those? Why?”

“Space is very big, very old, and sometimes planets need a little extra help in solving their disputes.”

“That’s why you’re here then? To help solve our disputes?” The girl who wasn’t Iris said.

“No, I’m actually Human and from Earth. I’m on shore leave.” Hal replied easily.

“They have that?” Joe chuckled, “good to know space cops need breaks too.”

The kid steered them back on track, “so you’re here on Earth, and you just happen to come to our aid?”

“I’m bored in my own city, and I know Central has been getting interesting. By the way what’s up with these guys, they’re new.”

“Particle accelerator exploded, irradiated the city and some people, like The Flash, powers.” The girl said

“Oh, when did this happen?” Hal tilted his head.

“A year ago,” the girl frowned, “how long were you gone?”

“Just about a year and a half,” Hal leaned against the wall, “can I please know who I’m talking to?”

Finally, Barry seemed to take pity on him, “I’m the Flash.”

“Iris West,” Iris smiled and held out her hand, “you remind me of someone.”

Hal took it and shook it softly, “do you know many roguishly handsome pi- space cops?”

“Joe West, and that’s my daughter.”

He was very familiar with the look, it was on Joe’s face a lot when he was dating Barry. That was something that he would have to solve.

“Right, sorry,” Hal let Iris’ hand drop.

“I’m Ronnie,” Fire Guy said, “I’m new around here as well.”

The last three all looked like they would rather do anything else than introduce themselves to them.

Finally, the girl broke and held out her hand, “Caitlin Snow.”

Hal took it and shook it, biting back the usual name that goes with introductions. That was not the can of worms that he was going to open at this moment.

The kid spoke after Caitlin stepped back, “Cisco Ramon. I’m watching you.”

“Understood,” Hal wondered what exactly happened here.

Oliver Queen introduced himself last, “Oliver Queen, but do not tell anyone about this. Not even your cop friends.”

“Who would I tell?” Hal wondered. The people that he would tell were already in the loop and there was no way he was going to tell his mother or brothers. He winced, they hadn’t enjoyed him suddenly showing up and Jack had actually punched him.

“I don’t know, I don’t know you,” Queen replied.

He almost dropped the mask to have the best ‘well, actually,” moment but he stopped himself.

Iris was still looking at him like she was trying to put a puzzle together.

“So, are you going to help out?” Cisco asked.

“If you need me, but I doubt you will. You’ve been doing fine without me, and I’m a heavy hitter.” Hal shrugged.

“We’ll keep you in mind, where are you staying?”

“Coast City.”

That’s when the temperature in the room shifted. Like he had said something offensive. Barry got this distant look in his eyes like he when he remembered the night of his mom’s death. Hal realized that he was missing something.

“I had a boyfriend that lived there,” Barry said as an excuse.

Hal wasn’t sure what he felt when heard Barry refer to him as a boyfriend it had been too long since he’d had any affection directed towards him.

“I see, what happened?”

“He vanished, no one found him.”

He winced, it was said in that clinical type of way that Hal knew was that he was trying to deal with the grief. Queens warning made a lot more sense now. About how Barry had to deal with many things, apparently metahumans and his speed were top on that list.

While he wanted to, he knew at this very moment, he couldn’t tell Barry he was back. It would be too hard of a blow so soon after whatever the hell was happening in Central.

“Well, anything else I need to know?” He chuckled, “I think I might need a crash course.”

Chapter Text

Life was never going to be normal again, Barry accepted that after he talked about becoming a hero with Oliver. He didn’t expect to be able to live like he had before, but like it had when he met Hal, his world had tipped on it’s axis.

The multiverse was real, and people were able to cross over from it. Not only that, but he had an evil speedster from Earth-2 trying to kill him and another speedster from Earth-2 training him to fight the evil speedster. He was in over his head, but there was no one he could talk to. Oliver was dealing with the fallout from the explosion in Star City (he was also mad about the whole, “hey I’m dead, no I’m not” routine Ollie pulled) and GL was off-world.

That was another thing that was bothering him. GL, when he showed up in their fight against Reverse-Flash, Barry couldn’t help but find something familiar in him, but it was hard to pinpoint what it was between the metas and his off world missions which had been four out of the six months they knew each other. Iris felt the same so at least he knew that he wasn’t crazy.

Barry turned around when he heard familiar cursing. Sometimes GL sounded so much like Hal he could swear they were the same person, the face and personality matched, but Hal was gone. At least he finally got a breather to deal with that.

“Welcome back,” he peaked around the corner.

GL grinned from where he was clutching his foot, “hey Barry.”

“How’d the mission go?” The stories he heard were always interesting and he was glad they weren’t his problem.

“Good, until the Sinestro Corps showed up and convinced the Xan Republic Army to coup,” Hal sighed, “I seriously think that dude follows me. 90% of my missions turned out to be caused by him.”

“Sorry, can’t run in space, otherwise I would help,” Barry laughed.

GL’s face softened and Barry filed that away, “what’s new in Central?”

“An evil speedster wants to steal my speed.”

Finally GL dropped his foot with an eyebrow cocked, “can he- is that poss- what?”

Barry shrugged, “Jay lost his speed to him, so I guess it can happen to me. Oh, by the way the multiverse is real.”

“Whose Jay? Another speedster?” GL asked.

“Wait, I tell you the multiverse is real and you settle on the person?” Barry shook his head, “typical non-science geek.”

GL laughed, “I’m a Green Lantern, the multiverse was confirmed on day 1 of boot camp.”

It was Barry’s turn to be speechless, “you knew?”

“Yeah, apparently a lot of Lanterns end up in different universes because of interference with the wormhole jumps.”

He couldn’t believe this, “one of these days, GL, you’re going to tell me everything you know. Since you don’t know what to do with that information.”

“I feel like you insulted my intelligence there,” GL playfully shoved him before wandering into the cortex, “but yeah, one day I am going to tell you everything Barry.”

Sensing an opportunity Barry caught up to the other hero, “maybe you can start with telling me your name?”

“Not yet, wait until I know I can handle Sinestro. I don’t want him exploiting people I know and care about.”

Barry knew that feeling so he dropped it, but he was still curious and Cisco had started claiming that the identity was a mystery because he was going to double cross them. Caitlin was maintaining that it was because they had only known each other for two months. Iris seemed to think he was hiding something but not out of any malicious intent.

“Oh Starling is now Star City.”

“Are you kidding me?” GL turned around.

“Nope,” Barry said popping the ‘p’.

“Earth can stop changing at any point.”


 

Things kept getting crazier, Iris knew they would when she signed on to help Barry fight crime as a guy who could break the sound barrier by running, but this was absurd. Letting Harrison Wells help them again, after the last one betrayed them and got Eddie killed.

At least GL was in agreement with her. GL, she huffed, he knows all of us, a little too well for only being here for two months, but we don’t even know his name. We barely know he’s Human!

But the GL was a problem she was working on solving, even if she was pretty sure she was wrong. He showed up before the breaches, which meant that he is, more than likely, from Earth-1. Then again time travel wasn’t off of the table. So, she was going to use all of her journalist prowess to try and weasel the truth out of him. If she was right, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do.

“Hey, GL, heard you were back on Earth,” she smiled warmly holding out a cup of coffee, “extra cream, extra sugar, and two espresso shots.”

GL turned around, “thanks Iris! My favorite, how did you know?”

“Someone who reminds me of you used to drink that every time he came to Jitters. We joked that he was going to die from a caffeine induced heart-attack.”

“That guy from Coast City?” GL raised an eyebrow.

Iris observed him for a few minutes. While the mask didn’t cover a lot, it left enough room for her to doubt her observations, but everything else matched. She wondered why her Dad hadn’t come to her and asked her about GL. The height, hair, and personality were all his .

“Yeah, Barry was really messed up after he went missing,” she saw the wince go across his face, “but he didn’t have time to come to terms with it you know? Being struck by lightning and then the coma. He came back and he didn’t ask about him right away, but you could tell it was hurting him.”

“Must’ve been some guy,” GL sipped on his coffee.

Iris sighed, “I think he was The One. You hear these stories about childhood friends becoming lovers and I can’t tell you how many times we joked about that, but after Hal? I don’t think it was even a possibility.”

GL had pressed his lips together, Iris frowned. Maybe she was wrong? She shook her head, she still had one more tactic to try.

“You know, he’s the one you remind me of. Out of that mask you’d probably look really similar to him.”

He looks like he’s about to say something when she gets a text. Looking at the screen she frowns noticing that it’s from Francine asking if they can meet.

“Sorry, I have to go. We can talk more later?” Iris stands.

“Yeah, sure. Later.”

There was something off with that guy and Iris was going to find out what. After she solves her own family problems. The last thing they need is Hal showing up out of the blue galavanting as a superhero and not telling them.


Joe was recovering from his brush with Grodd when GL walked in. The Lantern gave him a half salute with a smirk before wandering over to the shelf. It was such a familiar move that Joe was struck still from it. He hadn’t seen that in almost two and a half years.

All of his years of being a detective and he had missed all of the signs of something so easy. GL lived in Coast City, although you wouldn’t know if from the amount of time that he spent in Central and then working in space. There was also the refusal to share his name or take of his mask in their presence.

The biggest hint was when Barry confronted Zoom. As soon as Barry’s broken body was being broadcasted, GL was out of the room and rushing towards where Zoom was before any of them could even ask what he was going to do against the speedster. Apparently he had made a construct to grab the slowing serum.

That fight had been impressive, none of them had seen GL fight, truly fight, before. His constructs were beautiful in a very painful way. He managed to keep Zoom from doing any further damage, and even launched the serum using a bow shaped construct. Joe tried very hard to not laugh at the obvious mockery of Oliver.

GL had saved Barry, and Joe couldn’t thank him enough for that, but it's what he did for Barry when they found out that he couldn’t feel his legs. The Lantern had stayed next to him and talked to him. It was heartwarming, and at the time something else that Joe couldn’t place. Now he knew what that feeling was, nostalgia. Once before he had seen Hal dote on Barry after he got the flu. This guy hovering over the Barry was almost a mirror image.

Joe could smack himself for being so oblivious. At the same time, this could also be a trick or a desperate reach because everyone seemed to be coming back to them after being gone. He knew in his gut that he was right, and that’s all he needed. It was down to him confronting GL and getting the truth out of him. Which was easier said than done, he remembered how smooth of a talker Hal was.


 

It finally reached the tipping point, as everything seems to happen these days. Everything all at once, Henry had said. They were on Earth-2, Hal had insisted that he went along because they weren’t sure Barry could handle Zoom on his own and GL was the best chance they had at leveling the playing field. The team’s doppelgangers had been a surprise and it was an even bigger one that they were evil. They were left scrambling for any strategy that didn’t end with them hurting their friends, or their likenesses.

Ronnie had sent a fireball towards Barry, which Hal knew that realistically he could stop it with a construct (or Barry could dodge) but his feet moved before his brain made the connection. He slammed into Barry and felt the fire make contact with his aura and then push through it.

That’s... probably not good. Was all he thought before he dropped to the ground on top of Barry. He rolled over and made sure that he kept the uniform summoned.

“What the- GL are you okay?”

He winced as he moved his shoulder, “singed but not dead.”

Of course that’s when Zoom showed up. Something about not killing speedsters and suddenly Ronnie and Cisco were heaps on the ground. Hal looked up at the black-clad speedster.

He could only react to the the blue lightning and summon an unformed construct to slam into Zoom. Behind him Barry groaned as he tried to find his footing. It was only a momentary distraction as Zoom regained his senses in seconds and bull-rushed them for the second time.

Hal only felt searing pain burn through him. He looked down and saw that there was a gaping hole in his abdomen, shit.

The only thing he could do as he fell backwards was turn and look at Barry as Zoom hauled him up by his uniform. The scarlet speedster was too out of it to make an effective counter attack. He saw Zoom look towards him and he the only reason he knew that he had been taken somewhere was because he found himself locked in a cell. Zoom was talking to Barry and the blood loss was finally taking its toll on him as he passed out. His last thought was I forgot to set the ring to not deactivate my suit.

Waking up was less fun. There was a pulsing throb where his gallbladder should be. It thumped in time with his headache.

“GL, c’mon please don’t be dead.”

He groaned in response.

“GL! You’re alive!”

For that Barry got a weak arm raise.

“Not to alarm you, but your suit is gone. It vanished.”

That should’ve made him stop and think about the situation they’re in, that this speedster can go through a Lantern’s aura. But it didn’t.

“Yeah, it does that when I lose consciousness.”

“Hey, GL, can you look at me? I want to make sure you don’t have a concussion.” Barry asked.

It was a clever trick for him to look over with his mask off, but the joke was on Barry because when he moved to turn his head he remembered the burn he had gotten saving Barry from Ronnie.

“Hurts.”

And he lost consciousness again.

Yelling woke him up, and unsurprisingly the pain hadn’t eased at all because the universe hated him.

“Grab GL, we have to go!”

“No one can carry him!”

“I can,” Barry’s voice was clear.

Hal knew his mask would reappear to anyone he didn’t want to know his identity, but it wouldn’t last long once they were moving. The jostling would cause him to lose whatever concentration he was using to keep it active not to mention he would be too focused on not making any sounds that would give away their positions. The length it did last however, should be enough to keep Barry moving. If he found out that little secret before they left, they probably wouldn’t make it off of Earth-2.

The trip to the breach was about as enjoyable as Hal thought it would be. Now that his mask was off Cisco and Harry were taking their time in staring at him. They wouldn’t know who it was, or maybe they were looking at the alarming amount of blood drenching Flash’s suit.

At least it was red.

“Caitlin! GL is hurt! He got burned from Deathstorm and Zoom pulled a Reverse-Flash through GL’s abdomen!”

“Get him to the infirmary!”

Hal wasn’t sure if Barry saw his face, but Caitlin was rushing in and pushing Barry out, so he doubted it between everything that was going in, but Hal blessedly fell unconscious again.


 

Caitlin had studied Barry’s file enough times when he was in the coma that she knew who she was working on. She was sure that no one else had noticed in the rush, and Cisco probably hadn’t had the time to actually realize it yet.

Dying in front of her was undoubtedly Hal Jordan. She really hoped that this wa the Earth-1 version, because she wasn’t sure if Barry could handle someone who looked like his late lover right now. Either way, Caitlin was a professional and she would deal with that problem after she salvaged the organs she could. The burn was probably going to scar, but luckily it was only on his rib cage and not very bad.

Four hours later she had done what emergency surgery that she could. Hal would live. Now came the unpleasant part: everyone would be outside of the infirmary waiting for the news. On the bright side the news on his condition was positive, she was unclear on how the identity would be received. Everything was simpler before the particle accelerator blew up. Caitlin squared her jaw, she could do this.

As expected everyone was waiting outside for news of their teammate, Harry was next to his daughter, but even the tension was clear in his shoulders.

“He’ll live, and he should heal just fine. There will be some scarring, but nothing too terrible.”

Barry grinned, he had changed out of his suit into one of the many S.T.A.R. lab sweatshirts they had laying around, “great when can we see him?”

Caitlin bit her lip and Iris frowned.

“Caitlin?”

“About that, his mask is powered down...”

“I think we’re entitled to know who he is,” Cisco stopped fiddling with his phone.

“Well, it is his call to make, but... I know who he is and I feel like it’s fair to warn you,” she was wringing her hands. She was stalling, but Barry was just getting over Patty leaving and this might be too big of a blow to deal right now.

“Cait, who is it?” Barry’s smile had fallen.

Iris and Joe had strange looks on their faces, and she wondered if they suspected. Inhaling deeply, she picked a spot on the wall to look at and spoke, “his name is Hal Jordan.”

The room was deathly silent. She could see Harry was puzzling over how that name was so important. Cisco was looking at her with a face that said ‘the Hal Jordan?’, she nodded. Iris’ hand moved to cover her mouth while Joe just stared and his lips were pressed together.

Barry on the other hand was just frozen. His face was still in that look of confused concern, but Caitlin could tell that his mind was working a hundred miles per hour and trying to piece together the entire thing. Oh, this is not going to be pretty.

“I have to see him,” Barry said suddenly rushing past her.

Belatedly she noticed that he hadn’t used his super speed. She looked to Iris and Joe for help, only they had mirror looks of helplessness. They seemed rooted to the spot. The door had already shut. Barry needed this, so Caitlin would let him talk to Hal before she let anyone else in.

“Okay, who is Hal Jordan?” Harry asked finally.

“Hal’s heart twinged, he hated that he hurt Barry and he was going to kick Queen’s ass the next time they met for talking him out of his plan.

He’s Barry’s former lover. We all thought he was dead,” Iris responded automatically.

“This makes so much sense, but why wouldn’t he just tell us who he is?” Joe muttered.

“Let’s give him and Barry some time together?” Caitlin stepped off the step, “I’m sure they have a lot to catch up on, and then you can ask him about his reasons?”


 

Hal was just pushing himself up when the door opened back up, on reflex he looked towards it and saw Barry striding in. He stilled before swallowing. This was bound to happen eventually, he just wished it was on his terms.

“What the hell, Hal?” Barry yelled.

Oh, he’s cursing, not good.

Barry started pacing, “you’re alive? A superhero?”

“There’s no excuse, I’m not going to give you one,” Hal bowed his head, ”please hear me out though.”

“Why? You haven’t said anything and you’ve been back for at least two months.”

“I’ll get to that, just please listen,” Hal was begging, which he never did.

Barry looked conflicted as he continued to pace, finally he sped over to the chair and sat down. His arms were crossed in a weak attempt at a wall, “okay, talk.”

Hal sighed, wondering how he was going to explain this. It was the first time he’d be talking about his experience to anyone that didn’t understand what he was saying. There was so much to cover and he doubted that even Barry’s patience would begin to wear thin. The beginning would probably be best.

“I was performing a low altitude test, it was going smooth, only a minor shimmy in the tail. That’s when there was a blip on the radar, it was coming in faster than any aircraft could ever possibly go, even experimental,” Hal shifted, “I thought it was a glitch in the program so I went to radio it in. But before I could I saw a green light and then it burst through the windshield. I was pulled from the plane in this green light and yanked me half-way across the desert. At speeds that you probably put the Flash to shame I might add.”

“A green light,” Barry scoffed.

“It gets weirder,” Hal assured him, “so after I land, there’s an alien ship and a mostly dead alien by the name of Abin Sur. He tells me that I was chosen.”

Barry half sits up but doesn’t say anything.

“He says the ring would give me 48 Earth hours maximum to get my affairs in order, but when that time ticked down it would take me to Oa. I didn’t have a choice in the matter, it auto accepts the invitation.”

“Oa?” Barry asks, “you had 48 hours and you didn’t say goodbye to me?”

“I would’ve, god, I would’ve spent as much time as I could’ve with you,” Hal’s voice went tight with emotion.

“Why didn’t you?” Barry’s hands were gripping his arms tightly.

“Because A.R.G.U.S. showed up and tried to shoot me. The ring hijacked me, to save my life. It pulled me into a wormhole and suddenly I was on Oa which is the Green Lantern homeworld.” It really did sound crazy.

“The ring is sentient?”

Hal shrugged, “not exactly, its... an extension of the Guardian’s knowledge so it can act on that, but it doesn’t have its own set of morals.”

“Oh-kay. Do you realize how crazy this sounds?”

“Yeah, if I didn’t live it I wouldn’t believe it,” Hal fiddled with the ring, “so I arrive at Oa and get a very brief introduction to what was happening to me before they start arguing about how ‘humans are unfit to be Lanterns’.”

“Has there never been a Human Lantern?” Barry asked.

“I’m the first one, apparently.” Hal paused, “first one to be chosen by the ring, there was an honorary Lantern from the 50s I think. He used magic.”

Barry stands up and starts pacing again.

“The ring is always right, so they claim and they let me go through the training, which sucked because Kilowog is big.”

“You get trained?” It got Barry to stop pacing at least.

“It's a very loose term for it.”

The speedster gave him a look that said he wasn’t making this any less confusing.

“There’s not much you can teach someone how to use their willpower, how to manifest it and concentrate to keep constructs active, they don’t even tell you what the ring can do,” he paused, seeing that Barry apparently didn’t care about the details yet, “so anyway my final test was a mission with a group of senior Lanterns.”

He bit his cheek, thinking about that mission. It still pissed him off, “on this mission one of our own betrayed us. Turned yellow. I was the only one able to go toe-to-toe with him.”

“So, I stayed and tried to take him down. Only it didn’t happen in a couple of weeks. Sinestro won’t stop, and I’m doing what I can to stop him, but it wore me down I think. That’s why the Guardians gave me a break.”

“And then you came back to Earth a year and a half later.”

Hal winced, Barry sounded bitter, “I didn’t know I had been gone that long. It’s hard to keep track of time that far away. Oa is in a galaxy that astronomers don’t even know about.”

“Okay, so it’s fair that you lost track of time, but when you came to Earth, what happened?”

“Queen shot at  me with an arrow and warned me to stay away from you,” if he was going down he wasn’t shouldering all of the blame, “claiming something about you not needing something else major in your life.”

Barry looked up sharply, “Oliver? How did he even find you? Know about you?”

“Did you tell anyone about me?”

“Felicity... she kept her eyes open for me.”

Hal didn’t know what that meant, but Barry seemed happy about it.

“But you listened to a complete stranger after he shot at you?”

“I was going to wait, but not as long as I did,” Hal met Barry’s gaze before he dropped it, “that night I went to see my family, my mom and brothers. Only that didn’t go so well since I couldn’t tell them why I was missing for so long. Then I got to thinking, that since I didn’t know when I would be called back, it would hurt less if you didn’t know I was back.”

“So you family they just kicked you out?”

Hal chuckled, “Jack did most of the kicking, but we’re working getting back into the swing of things. It was just shocking to them, I think.”

Barry crossed his arms and sat back down, “anything else?”

“I missed you every single day.”

“Hal, don’t do that,” Barry just looked tired, “I’m going to have to talk with Oliver.”

“Take me with you, I want to see that smug grin get knocked off his face when he learns I’m a space cop... I’m a cop now, Joe isn’t going to shut up about it,” Hal is grinning.

Slowly a smile crept onto Barry’s face, “yeah, he’s not going to shut up about that.”

Hal swallowed before he spoke again, “where do we stand?”

Barry’s smile died and Hal realized that he should’ve waited a little long before dropping that question. But he was a man without fear, so he wasn’t going to back out now.

“Give me a little time to get used to you being alive again then we’ll go from there,” Barry caught his eye.

He nodded, it was better than he thought that he was going to get. Now all he had to was prove to everyone that he wasn’t going to disappear again and leave Barry hanging.

Whoever was running interference let the rest of the West household rush in.

“Hal!” Iris cried and ran to him to hug him.

It hurt, “ow! Don’t have super healing here!”

Iris backed off, “sorry.”

Joe was hanging back with his arms crossed, Hal knew that look well.

“Hi, Joe.”

“Not planning on running off anytime soon?”

Hal smirked, “not without a note at least.”

Chapter Text

    Hal watched from his spot on Barry’s bed as he got ready for the day. They had upgraded to letting him spend the nights, even if they weren’t together romantically it felt like it was heading that way. Though right now Barry was dealing with losing his speed, and helping him deal with that was more important than anything else.

    His stomach growled, “hey, Barr, I’m gonna go make toaster waffles. You want any?”

    Barry jumped, “yeah sure.”

    Hal rolled onto his feet, giving Barry a long look. He looked miserable since losing his powers but there was no way Barry would’ve let Iris die. At least Hal was there keeping the metas from going wild while they worked on a way to get Barry’s speed back, or they adjusted to life without it.

    Joe was sitting at the table and raised his glass as he entered, before looking up and lowering it back to the table.

    “Don’t you have your own couch to crash on?”

    Hal couldn’t tell if he was serious or joking so he settled with a neutral answer, “my apartment got foreclosed on, I don’t have a job because I haven’t talked to my former boss yet.”

    “Why haven’t you?” Joe sounded accusing.

    “With everything going on here, I couldn’t leave you guys high and dry.”

    “And you didn’t before?”

    Hal sighed, he’s been having the same conversation ever since they found out he was back, “I didn’t have a choice. With Sinestro running around and the surprise abduction.”

    “You couldn’t have gotten away for two minutes to make a call?”

    He knew it was a fair argument and informing people that he was alive hadn’t been on the top of his priorities after Sinestro’s betrayal.

    “I think I was outside of my cell coverage.”

    “Hal,” Joe’s voice was stern, “this isn’t a joking matter. People thought you were dead, you hurt Barry.”

    “Joe,” he mimicked, “I didn’t want to hurt Barry. I honestly didn’t know I was gone for that long or that people would think I’m dead. There are some people that wish I stayed dead.”

    “It’s not that I wish you stayed dead Hal, I just don’t know your plans,” Joe followed him into the kitchen.

    Hal looked him in the eye, “my plans are to stay for as long I can, do my duty as a Green Lantern and come back home.”

    He turned back around to make the waffles he promised Barry.

    “I believe you Hal, do I have your word one cop to another?”

    “Really, you’re still on the cop thing?” Hal looked back at him.

    Joe chuckled, “the first time I met you I clearly remember you saying that you didn’t think that you could be a cop?”

    “I was young then, and a space cop is a little bit cooler,” Hal laughed.

    “Really? I get to stop metahumans with my son,” Joe wandered back into the dining room.

    Waiting for the waffles to cook Hal wandered into the living room and turned on the TV. He changed the channel to the local news, not that he wouldn’t know if something big went down in the city. It was probably just a good habit to get into to keep tabs on Star City, Coast City, and anywhere else.

    The news channel was playing cell phone footage of what looked like a plane crashing into a building but the video looked like it froze, until it zoomed in and there was a man holding up a plane.

    “Barry!” Hal yelled.

    He heard thumping from upstairs and noises that sound suspiciously like someone falling down the steps. Barry appeared next to him.

    “What’s wrong?” He sounded out of breath.

    Hal pointed to the TV screen, “look.”

    By this time Joe had joined them as well, and he could see mirror expression of confusion on their faces.

    “Is that a man stopping a plane with his bare hands?” Joe asked, “is that the new thing now?”

    “This is in Metropolis, I think Iris has a friend that works there, maybe she could tell us more about this meta,” Barry responded.

    “I don’t know if I can handle him, I’m good but he stopped a plane with his bare hands,” Hal muttered.

    “Maybe he’s one of the good guys?” Barry clapped him on the back, “the waffles are burning.”

    “What-Oh shit!” Hal took off towards the kitchen.

    He managed to salvage most of them and he took the worst burned ones for himself and brought Barry’s plate to him. The former speedster was on his phone, texting furiously.

    “If it’s not one thing its another, eh?” Hal handed the plate to him.

    Barry took them and started eating them without any syrup or butter.

    “Dude, dry waffles?”

    “I used to eat fast enough it didn’t matter so long as it was carbs,” Barry shrugged.

    Hal leaned into his partner, stabbing his own very doctored up waffle. Barry shot him a worried look.

    “Dude, you’re going to get diabetes.”

“Did you know,” Hal twirled his fork with a flourish, “that out of the 19 different planets I’ve been to, only Earth has refined sugar. What’s up with that?”

Barry looked excited at the information, “maybe its the atmospheric conditions keeping  the atoms from bonding regularly or a lack of one element.”

“Oh now you’re going to science my sugar, Barr?”

“Someone has to take away your fun,” Barry chuckled.

“Trust me, the Guardians have that covered. Do you know how many rules there are? Its worse than the Air Force.”

Barry was staring, “I forgot you were military.”

“Yeah, four years and out. That was the agreement I had with Ferris Air,” Hal shrugged.

“Do you think Carol will take you back?” Barry asked suddenly, then stammered, “I mean at the company?”

Hal smirked, “don’t want me dating my ex?”

“If you want a chance with me again you won’t,” Barry responded.

The weird thing even though it was said in a mostly joking tone, it was enough to make Hal’s heart soar. He had a chance to have the best thing in his life back again. It was exciting.

“I’m on the straight and narrow now, people look up to us space cops.”

Barry jumped up suddenly, “speaking of cops I have to get to work!”

“Later, I’ll meet you at S.T.A.R. Labs!” Hal called after him.

“Can you call Oliver about the strange meta?” Barry yelled from the porch.

“Sure,” he said before muttering under his breath, “I don’t know if he’ll pick up though.”

Hal waited a little longer, watching the news report all of the way through. It kept playing the same scene, but with different angles. All he could make out from the figure is a blue and red suit.

“Some people are calling the figure a Superman,” one announcer said.

Superman, huh. Wonder if he’s as star spangled as they’re making him out to be?

After that they switched to the latest extortion victim from Gotham. Apparently Doctor Death had approached the Drakes, who had given in. Rumors had it that the next would be the Wayne kid. Hal snorted, as if Bruce Wayne could stop chasing tail long enough to even care about his city.

It was something that Queen had going for him at least. Barry was talking about them spending times outside of their suits and bonding. Hal wasn’t sure how well that was going to work out for them, but Cisco had money on arrows flying first.

Speaking of Queen, Hal leaned forward and grabbed his phone before scrolling through and finding the contact titled “Greenie.”

“Who is this?” Queen’s voice snapped across the line.

“Hal Jordan, you threatened me with an arrow a little while ago.”

“I remember, what do you want?”

“Barry told me to tell you about the meta that just popped up in Metropolis this morning. Guy can catch planes.”

“Barry, you talked to him?” Oliver growled.

Hal smirked, “yeah, I’m hanging out with him and his team, helping out.”

“Whatever, this meta is in Metropolis you said?”

“That’s the place,” Hal paused, “should we care about what’s happening in Gotham?”

“What do you mean, Jordan?”

“I mean, the guy is threatening chemical warfare. That’s your schtick right? Stopping would be city level coups?” Hal really wished he could see Queen’s face right about now.

“Did Barry tell you?”

“No, I was there one of the times you didn’t have your mask on,” Hal paused, “sorry, Joe’s calling for me gotta go!”

“Jor-” Hal hung the phone up.

So that probably wasn’t the best way to get on the Green Arrow’s good side, but it was fun for him at least. Now to see what Cisco and Caitlin have to say about this Metropolis meta. Oh, alliteration. Fun.

He grabbed his bomber jacket on the way out and then made sure that he had his ring on him. Since getting back to earth he kept leaving it in odd places. Maybe he should do what Barry suggested and put it on his dog tag chain.

Time to try and be a superhero.


He was ready to kill this Wells, trying to be a hero be damned. Barry had died because of this guys crazy idea. Hal knew he wasn’t fast, but even then he’s managed to push Zoom back he’d just have to do what everyone else was doing on this crazy team and get better.

Though he wasn’t sure he had it in him, because Barry had been guiding him to actually do anything on Earth with his powers. He wasn’t as naturally good as Barry was and he didn’t have the morals that Queen protected his city by. Hal knew that he didn’t have that, but he was still chosen to do something with his life.

So killing Wells was off of the table. Instead he turned his attention to Iris and Joe who were using each other for support, and he began to walk over to them. Find comfort from them if they would offer it. Henry was still hanging onto the rails, and he couldn’t help but realize that Barry’s dad didn’t have anyone. Hal adjusted his course, they didn’t know each other well but as they had been largely absent while Barry was being The Flash they had that common ground.

Henry slid down onto the steps and Hal moved to join him. He didn’t say anything, there was nothing to say, Barry was gone. The speedster hadn’t been knocked somewhere. He wasn’t on Earth.

“Henry, Wells’ daughter is upstairs her heart stopped beating.”

Hal could see the hesitation line his face, the unwillingness to move. To just stay and do nothing because what’s the point? Or I could be projecting, he thought as Henry finally gave into Joe’s pleas.

It was just Cisco, Caitlin, and himself left in the sparking disaster of one of their incredibly brilliant plans that were actually pretty stupid.

“Ramon, what are you doing?” Hal forced out, seeing Cisco move towards the remains of Barry’s uniforms.

“I saw him,” he said after touching the suit, “I saw Barry.”

Hal perked up, “what?”

“He’s alive.”

After that things moved in a blur for Hal. He was hovering on the outside of the team, Barry was his connection to them until Joe and Iris fully warmed up to him again. When they found Barry and brought him back he knew that he was going to have to talk to Barry again. See if they wanted to take this thing back to where it had been.

“We got a new problem,” Cisco cried as he rushed into the room.

Hal turned his head towards him.

“Our accelerator experiment seems to have reanimated one of the dead metas in the morgue.”

“You keep them?” Hal interrupted, more that a little disgusted.

“Evil Wells experimented on them,” Cisco said in reply.

“So why are they still there?” He cocked an eyebrow.

“Wait,” Joe stepped between them, “you said reanimated? Like brought back to life?”

“Life-ish. Ever seen The Walking Dead? It's like that without higher brain function and with major rage issues. Still unclear if brains are on the menu, though?”

“Which one?” Joe asked.

Hal was still stuck on the fact that there were dead people in the building so he had to give it to Joe for just rolling with the punches on this one.

“Tony Woodward,” Cisco answered.

“Wait, didn’t he bully Barry?” Hal questioned, “he is- was a meta?”

Cisco stared at him, “yeah, like one of the first ones that we took down.”

He raised his hands, “noted, this is old news.”

“History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, then as a farce,” Wells mumbled from Jesse’s bedside.

What does that have to do with anything? Hal was almost ready to rescind his throttling decision.

Joe seemed to understand, so Hal had to give him another point in the dealing with Barry’s disappearance category. Briefly he wondered if this is what people felt when he vanished. Just a sense of numbness, like he couldn’t believe the world kept on turning while Barry was missing.

I have to apologize for that again. Jesus, I fucked up.

“Let Henry take care of your daughter, me, Iris and Hal will take care of this Girder situation-”

Hal looked to Iris who was nodding along with what her dad was saying. He wasn’t sure why he was included in the meta hunt, but he wasn’t going to turn down a chance to do something.

Wells started handing out orders like he wasn’t just falling apart thirty seconds ago. Hal really needed to take coping mechanism courses from them. They might come in handy out in space or in the future because he had a feeling this wouldn’t be the last time something like this happened.

“Now we just need to find Tony,” Joe turned towards Iris.

“Yeah, hopefully before he kills someone.”

Joe walked past him and clapped him on the shoulder, “c’mon Hal. You’ve never been good at sitting around doing nothing.”

“You called me Hal,” he whispered, “you don’t do that anymore.”

“Right now, if we want to get Barry back, everyone has to be included. He’s forgiven you and you don’t seem inclined to vanish again so I’ll trust you too,” Joe was staring him in the eyes.

Hal grinned, “hey I made that cop promise right?”

Iris rolled her eyes and walked into the cortex.


He hadn’t done a great job of stopping Girder. Anything he did the zombie brushed off, since he didn’t feel pain and apparently didn’t care that he had two shattered legs. Hal sighed as they ran into the breach room, he flug more bolts towards the meta-zombie.

“Plans A through G did not work!” Cisco yelled.

“Wait, I thought Lantern-”

“I tried. He’s brushing off the attacks. I win on physical damage, he doesn’t care about that,” Hal turned around and put up a construct to halt Girder until the doors fully sealed.

“Is there any other way out of here?” Joe asked.

“No the breach room was designed to be sealed off,” Wells answered.

“All right, look if it’s me that he wants,” Iris exclaimed, “I’ll just lead him away.”

“No, you won’t,” Joe cut her path off.

“Iris, I can’t stop him. You won’t make it past those doors,” Hal said.

Iris looked like she was about to argue, which Hal was ready for because he wasn’t going to let anything happen to her.

“Wait,” Cisco spoke up suddenly, “I saw Barry, he had this look. What if we couldn’t get him out of the Speed Force because he didn’t want to come back?”

That thought hurt a lot. Hal turned and was about to argue about it, when he realized that if the Speed Force was showing Barry something that he always wanted, why would he want to come back? Everyone here was dead or left him, Hal included.

Everyone was moving at once. Cisco to his headpiece and Wells to his laptop while Joe went to brace the door against Girder’s punches with one of the desks. Hal was left standing there in shock.

“When you look into the Speed Force can someone else see into it, too?”

Hal looked at Henry wondering where he was going with this.

“Well, as long as you’re in physical contact with Ramon while he’s vibing, then, yes,” Wells answered.

“Let me do that,  I can get Barry to come back.”

“No,” Iris stepped forward, “let Hal do it.”

“Me?” Hal asked surprised, “but he and I- we’re not-”

“You can get him to come back, I know you can,” Iris responded.

Henry looked at him like he finally realized who was in the room with him, “you’re him. The guy my son fell in love with.”

“That’s me,” Hal replied, “wish we could’ve met on better circumstances.”

Seeing as there was no argument, Hal stepped over to Cisco.  All eyes were on him.

“Hal...” Joe called.

He turned around, wondering if Joe was going to say no to him doing this. Instead the cop stared at him hard before nodding. It was more approval than Hal had gotten from him before and it made his throat tighten. He nodded back.

Cisco grabbed his hand and they both turned their attention to the torn uniform on the desk. He squeezed Cisco’s hand and then the techie touched it. Hal’s vision was suddenly filled with something indescribable, like pure visible energy but it was something more than that. It felt like it was alive.

“Barry,” he called out, “Barr. Come back.”

Hal took a deep breath and outstretched his hand, “come back to me like I did for you.”

He could see the hesitation in Barry’s face before he turned around to look at something Hal couldn’t quite see. Then he was reaching through the barrier clasping onto his hand. Hal held tight, it felt like the Speed Force was pulling Barry back.

There was a flash of lightning in Barry’s eyes and then they were back in the real world.

“Barry!” Henry and Iris cried at the same time, the latter running up and hugging the speedster.

Behind them Henry and Joe hugged each other. Hal just stared at him, like he was seeing Barry for the first time. It was an ‘oh’ moment, Hal knew he wanted to do nothing more than spend the rest of his life by Barry’s side.

“I am so glad that you’re back!” Cisco sounded cheery before pointing at the door, “because we’re about to die.”

Barry whipped around, “wait what?”

“So Girder came back to life and he’s all Young Frankenstein now,” Cisco stammered and then proceeded to ramble about the situation.

“All right, I got it, uh... Hal couldn’t you do anything?” Barry raised an eyebrow at him.

Hal shrugged, “physical damage only does so much to him. We have to shut him down.”

“Okay, we’ll find a way to lure him back to your workshop and turn the power back on.”

Harry and Cisco shared a look, “plan H!”

That’s when Girder punched the door off of the hinges. Hal knocked the door to the ground with a mallet construct before it could slam into anyone. He then made another wall.

“Any ideas?”

Barry grabbed Iris and rushed past him.

“Hey Tony!” Iris yelled.

The pair took off down the hallway.

“He’s taking them the long way, let’s go.” Cisco and Harry ran out of the room.

Hal flew after them, he could keep them from harm should Girder suddenly switch targets, or help them with anything they needed with the magnet. He wasn’t an engineer but he had a power ring and physical strength so he could do something.

Harry and Cisco were rushing around the magnets, flicking switches and threading wires.

“I hope you guys are ready, he’s almost here!” Barry yelled.

“Nope, not ready!” Cisco yelled back.

Hal tightened his fist, ready to stop Girder at a moment's notice.

“The power needs of these two electromagnets is too much for this wiring to handle!” Harry yelled.

Cisco elaborated, “we’re going to need a really big extension cord.”

“All right I’ll see what I can do.”

“Don’t you put off electricity when you run? Can’t you like proximity charge?” Hal frowned.

Everyone in the room looked at him. He was about to raise his hands in defeat, after all he almost failed freshman biology in high school the science can be left to the smart guys.

That’s when Girder came in. Barry charged him and Hal pulled Iris behind him, he waited until Barry was flung into a wall before slamming a fist construct into Girder.

“You guys get those things charged, I’ll play with Girder!”

He landed in front of the meta, the room was too small if Barry wanted to do something with his speed, so Hal knew he had to make this a close quarters fight. Thankfully he was pretty good at being in fist fights.

The first punch was easy to avoid and Hal ducked underneath it and did a cheap shot to Girder’s solar plexus. Which hurt his hand more than it slowed the other guy down. Girder raised a closed fist and Hal made a rope construct to wrap around the meta’s ankle before pulling it tight and yanking it.

Girder went down loudly, and Hal looked up to see that Barry had started running around him. The magnets started glowing blue and Girder started getting back up again.

“Hal you better hope you don’t have metal on!”

Actually, he wasn’t sure what the ring was made out of. Guess we’re about to find out.

Girder made it to his feet again as Barry stopped running. The meta made eye contact with someone (presumably Iris) before falling to the ground and not so much as twitching.

Barry was next to him, doubled over and panting hard, “sorry I got lost.”

“It’s okay,” Hal said, “I got lost, too.”

“We found you,” Iris finished.


Hal knew that he could be doing something productive but instead he was hanging out in the Breach Room. Everyone had partnered up to deal with the situation in their own way, leaving Hal alone. Which he knew that he shouldn’t be, because while he played the Lone Wolf card a lot, he was so much better around people. Regardless of what Jack said about his people skills.

Soft footsteps could be heard coming down the hall and Hal turned towards the doorway. He would leave if he needed to, but not a moment sooner.

“Caitlin said you were hanging out down here,” Barry’s hands were in his pocket.

“Yeah, considering what happened here, people would probably want to avoid it,” Hal shrugged.

Barry chuckled, “except the man without fear?”

Hal grinned at the reminder of what he claimed once when they were on a date, “it’s true. You can’t be a Green Lantern if you’re afraid. Fearless is a job requirement.”

“Fearless is stupid,” Barry sat next to him, “fear keeps you alive.”

“Well,” Hal shrugged again.

The room became quiet, but it was a comfortable silence. Most silences between them usually were, but this one felt super-charged as well.

“You came after me, in the Speed Force.”

Hal wasn’t sure what he should say to that, “someone had to.”

“But it was you,” Barry turned towards him, “Hal. Look at me.”

Against his better judgement he did.

“You said, ‘come back to me like I did for you.’ What does that mean?”

Now that he was looking into Barry’s eyes he knew that he couldn’t deflect or talk his way out of answering. Not that he would, but he liked having the option to.

“When I got leave, I thought about not taking it because I learned how long I was going to be gone. Staying out there would let the wound heal and I wouldn’t reopen it. But I thought that my family on Earth should know that I was still alive.”

Barry was watching him and Hal took a deep breath to continue, “and I wanted to see you again. So much. That was the tipping point, I couldn’t leave you like so many other people have.”

“Hal,” Barry breathed.

He shrugged. Emotions weren’t exactly his forte.

“I’ll always come back to you, as long as you come back to me. Or do everything in your power to.”

It was a confession. His eyes widened.

“I don’t know where this thing is heading between us again, but while I was in the Speed Force I realized everything that I had. You’re part of it, and we just have to figure out where you fit.”

Hal nodded, “Barry-”

He wasn’t sure what he was going to say, but he didn’t have to find the words because Barry grabbed him by the back of the his head and pulled them together. Their foreheads knocked together softly. They didn’t say anything more but sat like that for several minutes, enjoying the fact that they both came back to each other.

Chapter Text

He knew now that he shouldn’t have gone to the past. Barry learned his lesson and since all of the details seemed to just be intimate but not large. Still he couldn’t shake the one thing that pushed him to “fixing” the timeline.

In Flashpoint, that shimmy of Hal’s jet the day that he got the ring was more serious than it had been in the original timeline. The plane went down before the ring could reach him.

Now that he was back in the “right” timeline, he only had one goal. To see Hal, but he had gotten called to another solar system for some reason. Cisco hadn’t been clear beyond a spat out “space cop stuff”. It was very inconvenient. At least he had returned on the day Hal was supposed to be back, but he couldn’t stop his mind from racing. There were twenty worse case scenarios, but the most plausible one would be that the mission got delayed on there was another emergency.

He was pacing on the roof of S.T.A.R. Labs waiting for any sign of the green he had come to associate with Hal. Barry remembered his mother’s grief stricken face when he asked where Hal was.

“Mom, I can’t get ahold of Hal, do you know where he is?” He had asked at the breakfast table.

His mother had looked up with wide eyes and the saddest most understanding smile Barry had ever seen. His father pulled the newspaper tighter and his lips were pressed together so tightly Barry couldn’t see them. He looked between them his heart dropping to his stomach.

“I know it was only a few months ago, it's easy to forget, honey,” His mother reached out a hand a placed it on his shoulder.

Barry looked to his dad for an answer.

“Sudden death is hard to get over, Barry, it’ll take a few months but eventually you’ll get used to the idea. You won’t accept it.”

He couldn’t put together what his parents were saying. His eyes darted between them so fast he knew that he was using superspeed. His appetite was gone. So he made a hasty retreat out of the room giving an apology.

Though he couldn’t let the questions rattle around in his head, once he was outside, he pulled his phone out as he sat on the steps. Superstitiously he looked around for a green light, as if this was some kind of practical joke. He typed in Hal Jordan into the search bar. The seconds seemed like hours.

Finally the page loaded with the top results being month old articles. They read: Test Pilot Killed in Accident, Ferris Air’s Refusal to Comment on Malfunction, Grieving Family Doesn’t Blame Ferris Air for Accident.

Barry tapped the first one, the other two seemed more like human interest stories rather than the facts. As he read the surprisingly short article he checked the date. After some mental math he knew that it was the same day that Hal would have been chosen for the ring. Only the article mentioned the body found was confirmed to be Hal “Highball” Jordan.

He couldn’t breathe and it felt like Reverse-Flash had just shoved his hand through Barry’s chest.

When the memory finally faded he was trembling, that wound was still too raw to pick at an evaluate. Dusk finally fell and he spotted the first signs of it. Twenty minutes later Hal touched down on the roof.

“Barr-”

He couldn’t wait and rushed to wrap his arms around Hal. The Lantern took a step back to steady them from the impact.

“Barry? What happened? I told you I was leaving this time, right?” Hal gently pushed at him.

Logically, Barry knew that Hal was only trying to get a read on his face, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go yet. He held on tighter, and Hal gave up and just rested his hands on Barry’s biceps.

“C’mon, Barr, talk to me,” Hal whispered.

“You...died.”

Hal made a noise of confusion, “I’m alive, right here. Was it a nightmare?”

“No. I went back in the past and saved my mom.”

“She’s alive?”

Barry shook his head instead of answering verbally. Hal started rubbing circles with his thumb, in an attempt at comfort.

“She’s not? I thought-”

“I changed back the timeline, or tried to.”

“Hang on, I’m lost,” Hal said, “you went back in time to save your mother, and she was alive.”

Barry nodded.

“But you changed it back to one where she isn’t?”

Again Barry nodded.

“Why?”

“Everything was going wrong. The other speedster, some kid that looked like Iris wasn’t healing. I wasn’t friends with Iris, she barely knew I existed. Cisco and Caitlin weren’t a team.”

Hal tensed against him and Barry buried his face further into the Lantern suit.

“You were-you- in Flashpoint, the plane you were flying, the shimmy.” Barry broke down.

“The shimmy in the tail brought the plane down.”

Barry pulled himself away, because Hal’s voice sounded so strange. Detached. His face was a blank mask.

“Hal?”

“That’s just- was my Dad alive?” Hal asked.

“Yeah, I think so. Why?” Barry blinked.

“It’s what happened to my Dad, a shimmy in the tail caused by the fuel not being injected correctly. No external leakage, but with internal combustion, it doesn't need to be.”

After only a couple of seconds Barry realized what Hal was implying, “wait you flew a jet with the same malfunction as you Dad’s and you didn’t land it right away?”

Hal grinned sheepishly, “man without fear, ring a bell? What happened to my dad, that was one in a million.”

Barry stared at him. He realized that Hal’s nonchalance to death was going to be the death of him. Hal was probably going to die young, they both might, but he might last longer than Hal. That thought enough should cause him to push himself out of Hal’s arms and run somewhere.

Instead he pulled himself further into Hal’s arms. He paused for a couple of seconds before he pushed himself up and caught Hal’s lips with his own.

Hal didn’t respond for a couple of seconds and Barry wondered if he had read everything and then Hal was kissing him back. It was just like before Hal disappeared. That’s all he needed to know that he was making the right choice.

Eventually they pulled themselves away from each other. Barry fought down the internal panic, if he let Hal in again and he went missing again... he would put his faith in the Lantern. The kiss didn’t have to mean anything, but he needed to see where Hal stood on getting back together.

“You know, for the longest time I thought it was supposed to be me and Iris, and everything pointed in that direction. I mean in one future Iris and I were married and on Earth-2 we were.”

“Barr, is that really the appropriate thing to say right now?” Hal rolled his eyes.

“Hear me out,” Barry squeezed Hal’s hand, “that’s what I thought, but then I met you and everything changed.”

“I know the feeling,” Hal smiled.

They met each other’s eyes and grinned.

“Joe’s going to kill me,” Hal laughed and Barry joined in.

They would talk about this more later, but right now he wanted to enjoy the fact that Hal was alive. That he hadn’t destroyed one of the most important things to him. Everything else could be fixed, relationships could be repaired. Deaths couldn’t. He learned that the hard way.

Chapter Text

Julian working for Savitar had been out of left field, or rather Alchemy being his dual personality had. The team seemed to take the surprise in stride and used that in their fight against Savitar. Which he was all for, however it was getting exhausting being the last one in the loop.

"Hey thanks for covering for me while we worked out this Alchemy thing," Barry clapped him on the shoulder.

"No biggie," Hal grinned.

It hadn't been a big deal for months now. Hal had found that this hero business was getting easier. He still didn't think he was cut out for it, but it wasn't as big of a burden as he thought it would be. While he didn't carry the weight that Barry did, Hal was finding he was starting to shoulder it as well.

That's why when his ring chirped he wandered out into the hallway to see what it was telling him. Also to get out of H.R's presentation, but no one needed to know that reason.

The atmosphere breach warning? What?

"Hostiles detected," it chirped.

"Hostiles?" Hal asked it, but it didn't respond.

"Yo, Hal! There's a meteor heading towards Central City," Cisco called out.

"On it!" Hal activated his ring and shot out of S.T.A.R. Labs.

"Wait, you can actually do something about it?" Cisco said over the intercoms.

"Yeah," Hal saw where the meteor was and moved to intercept, "this is the easy part of my job."

"Easy?" He heard Joe say, it was muted from the distance.

Hal approached the meteor, it was moving much faster than it should be. If anything his ring should've given him an earlier warning. At least he would have enough time to divert it into the water; the damage would be minimal compared to the park it currently was aimed at.

As he neared it, he frowned. That was no meteor. It was on fire definitely, but not the type he's come to know that forms with a meteor breaching atmospheres. The flames were a mix of entering Earth and something chemical.

"Ring, scan for life forms,"

"Life forms?" Cisco was talking again, "this better be a joke."

"Confirmed. Five sentient beings aboard the ship,"

Hal was torn, the city would be damaged if he didn't do anything but if he put the ship in the water then the ones inside could die. He wasn't just responsible for a city or even one planet now, "ring where is the lowest concentration of human and meta-human life-forces?"

"Hal put it in the water!" Cisco sounded like he was panicking.

"The industrial park, 4 miles to the south."

He flew above the ship to get his bearings and saw that the ship had already passed the complex. Diverting there would be tiring but it was doable. Though he wasn't sure how to go about it.

An idea came to him and he wasn't sure if it would work, but he was running out of times. At the very least it would keep it from directly hitting the park, which he hoped was being evacuated now. He returned to the front of the ship and built a railway down to the industrial complex before he formed a locomotive.

"Here we go," he could already feel the exhaustion seep in.

The ship was coasting over an empty "cart" of the train. Hal created chains to wrap around the ship holding it to the train construct and pulling it into the path that he wanted it to go. He felt the construct start to go, and he reinforced it.

Eventually, the construct did break, but the ship was aimed towards the industrial complex where he could help guide it to a safe landing. He shot off towards the still falling ship and built a gradual ramp for it to slide down, with enough friction to slow the ship down to a survivable momentum.

Which was still enough to tear up the grounds and the buildings. Hal winced, Barry -or rather- The Flash was always pretty good about damage to the city, and he was sure that one of the more cynical reporters would call him out on this incident. In his defense, he hadn't mastered the finer points of ring constructs. That hadn't been Kilowog's thing.

"Hal?"

He was panting, "I had to put it down in the industrial park."

"Why, the water-" He lost the sound when he blacked out for a second and fell to the ground.

Luckily he recovered enough to gently lower himself the rest of the way. Barry was next to him in a second, asking if he was okay without saying anything. Hal held up a thumb in the affirmative.

"That's not a meteor," Barry said over the comms.

Cisco made a noise of confusion.

"We need to move," Hal said suddenly, "there are life forms present. I don't know if they're hostile."

The ship was unharmed for the most part, and Hal didn't like that fact at all. Barry started to move towards it and Hal grabbed him in a ring construct and pulled him back. He got a confused look and Hal gestured back at the ship, which one of the doors had opened.

E.Ts rushed out of the ship, Hal had barely been able to pull Barry down behind the rubble. One growled and continued to rush forward.

"Oh come on," Barry sighed, "aliens?"

"Aliens?" Cisco echoed.

Hal shrugged. This wasn't anything new to him but he wasn't sure whether or not these guys came in peace. He was leaning towards the no side of things.

"Get back to the Labs!" Hal tensed, prepared to fly.

"You're going after them?" Barry frowned.

"I have to make sure they aren't going to try something, like taking over the world."

Barry grabbed his wrist, "alone?"

Hal smiled reassuringly, "it's my job."

He took off in the air and used his ring's scan function. The E.Ts tracks continued on for several miles before they suddenly vanished.

"That's not good," Hal muttered.

At S.T.A.R. Labs they were already talking strategy with the A.R.G.U.S. director. Hal skirted around her to stand next to Barry, the last time he met with that organization it hadn't gone well.

Cisco's head was on the desk, and he was grinning, "Aliens. Are they "Alien" aliens or little green men?"

"Uh... yes?" Barry answered.

"Martians are actually green, well some of them at least... they're the nicer ones, and they're actually pretty peaceful. Rare off of Mars, however," Hal shrugged.

"Wait... Mars has life?" Cisco turned towards him.

"Why wouldn't it?" The Green Lantern tilted his head.

Lyla was looking at him frowning, "who is this?"

"Green Lantern," Hal stretched out a hand.

"You know about aliens?" Lyla asked.

"Naturally," and he left it at that. He wasn't going to have A.R.G.U.S after him.

Even if it was heading in a new direction now that Waller was dead. He still didn't like them, and he knew what they liked to do to people. Hell, he wouldn't be surprised if they kept Abin Sur's body. Hal frowned, he probably should do something about that.

Lyla seemed to take the answer for what it was and started handing out a paper, "since we found out about them, we've been calling them the dominators."

"That doesn't sound very peaceful," Cisco noted.

H.R nodded, "no, that's very aggressive."

"So how long have you known about the dominators?" Iris asked.

"Since the 50s," Lyla answered.

Hal sighed, which got him several looks. He shrugged.

"That was them, Redmont Oregon. It was a government cover up," Joe was pointing, "what? I watch the Syfy channel."

He couldn't take it anymore. Hal left the room. The information that A.R.G.U.S. had was probably sparse and while he wouldn't claim to be the star of diplomacy he knew how you were supposed to handle potentially hostile aliens. Not to insult Earth, but they had no knowledge of other world Diplomacy. They could barely handle each other who were the same species.

Lyla walked out several minutes later, Hal still had failed to contact someone on Oa to see what he needed to do. She walked straight into his space.

"Who are you and how do you know so much about classified information?"

Hal almost laughed at Lyla trying to intimidate him, "I told you. I'm a Green Lantern, the information I know isn't classified because it's my job to know about aliens. It's not my fault you guys cover this up."

"You could jeopardize everything!"

"If those Dominators attack? I'm probably your best hope," Hal replied, "also, you have an alien corpse locked away somewhere, he's a hero he needs to be shown the proper respect."

Lyla narrowed her eyes, "how do you know about it?"

Hal smirked and turned to walk back in the cortex.

"I will find out who you are," Lyla said, "and I will watch your every move."

"Why?" Hal spun around, "because I'm just doing my job and that's ruining your whole secret agency thing?"

He rejoined the group who were talking in low voices and stopped talking when he walked back in.

"I don't think she likes that I know more than her," Hal shrugged.

"I'll talk to Diggle about it," Barry sighed, "but you kind of antagonized her. She's doing her job."

"And whatever she didn't tell you could be what's causing the Dominators to come back. There are protocols involved for new species contact," Hal leaned against the wall.

"Okay, so what do we do?" Iris asked, "Lyla said you couldn't do this alone Barry."

"We won't," Barry said.

Hal knocked his head against the wall, "we're getting Queen and Co. aren't we?"

"Yes, to start with," Barry responded, "but we'll need more than them."

"Who else is there?" Joe looked around confused, "are there more heroes we're friends with I don't know about?"

Barry grinned, "there are more heroes."

Hal stared at him, "you can't be serious?"

"So you're on the same page?" Barry asked.

"Maybe it's because I'm new here, but I'm not on the same page," H.R chirped.

"Superman, The Ghost of Gotham, and the guy who releases lobsters on the East Coast," Barry counted off.

"Are we counting that guy as a meta? I thought it could be some animal rights demonstration thing," Hal raised an eyebrow.

"The water raised him from the ocean, at the very least he has impressive tech," Cisco interjected.

Hal threw his hands up, "I sent a message to Oa, but they haven't responded so I'm unclear on what to do since Earth has kind of butchered the protocol."

"We get ready to fight then," Iris said.

"I can pull up information on the species, but maybe when we get everyone together?"

Barry nodded, "that should work, but where are you going to get the information from?"

"Well," Hal held up his hand with his ring, "this is basically an encyclopedia of the galaxy."

"That is so cool," Cisco breathed.

"Right, so I'll go get Team Arrow," Barry suggested.

"I'll go talk to Superman," Hal replied.

"And the other two?" Joe asked.

Barry looked towards Hal, who shrugged.

"I'll have a better time finding the Ghost with my ring's scanners. Most of Gotham's problems are just humans."

"So I got ocean man..."

Cisco snapped, "Aquaman."

After that, the team dispersed. Barry bolted towards Star City and Hal made impressive time towards Metropolis. About half way his ring chirped indicating a message from Oa, he stopped.

"You called them the Dominators?" The head of the Guardian spoke.

Hal blinked, he hadn't expected that he'd get one of the big guys, "affirmative."


Barry winced as Diggle stumbled over to the balcony. He forgot that there were people that weren't used to his speed, everyone on Team Flash experienced it on a weekly basis it seemed like and Hal was used to high velocities from planes and space brawls.

"That was the Vigilante; we nearly had him!" Oliver snapped.

"You nearly had him, Ollie?" Barry laughed in disbelief, "he looked like he was about to "Scarface" you guys."

Oliver had that look like he was about to hit something, and Barry had the sinking suspicion that he was the one that was going to get hit. Felicity was making wild gestures next to him.

"Barry, is there something I can do for you? Another evil speedster to help you with or--" Oliver grit out.

"Maybe actually," Barry's thoughts flipped to Savitar, "that's not why I'm here, though."

Felicity came to his aid, "What's so urgent that you had to rush to Star City?"

Barry made sure he was looking Oliver dead in the eyes, "aliens."

"Aliens?" Oliver echoed.

"Aliens," Barry nodded.

Thea and Diggle both joined the conversation. Barry could tell he had stressed Diggle out more so now.

"I swear to God, Barry. My life was somewhat normal before I met you."

He wasn't going to be the one to break it to Diggle that he had been moonlighting as an archer's sidekick while he went on his redemption/revenge mission to save his city.

"I-," he turned around to see Oliver making a gesture of ‘what the fuck?'

"I'm sorry, I mean-" He took a step back to appeal to the whole room, "look they're real, and they're already here. And from what Lyla told us it does not appear to be for peace."

"Oh no," Felicity gasped.

"Lyla knows about this?" Diggle asked.

Barry found himself echoing Felicity mentally, "Lyla, yeah, she came to- where are you going?"

Diggle left the room. Barry winced, it seemed like he was pretty good at ruining everyone else's relationships lately. At least he and Hal were getting along.

Oliver took a step towards Felicity and Barry hung back. Now he just had to think of a way to tell Ollie that Hal/GL was going to help them out. Which wasn't going to end well, because for whatever reason the two green heroes could not stand each other.

"Count me in," Thea crossed her arms.

Huh?

"For what? I thought you retired?" Oliver asked.

"Yeah, but it's aliens."

Good point. Barry thought but wisely didn't say anything he didn't have to because Felicity finally hit the hysterical point.

"Aw, that is so cute. You guys are just going to get together and go fight some aliens," she raised her voice, "have you lost your minds? They're aliens, and there's only four of you!"

"Actually," Barry rubbed the back of his neck, "we have GL, this is his business."

"He didn't warn you about impending invasions?" Oliver scoffed.

"Well, no. I don't think he knew about it, but he has more knowledge on aliens than anyone else. We're not going to do this blind," Barry shrugged, "and we're recruiting some of the other heroes."

"Others?" Felicity asked, "you guys know more heroes?"

"Why wasn't I informed of this?" Thea asked.

Oliver crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow.

"I don't know them, I know of them. Hal's going to talk to Superman and that guy from Gotham. I'm going to talk to, I think we're calling him Aquaman on the east coast."

"The lobster liberator?" Felicity frowned.

Barry shrugged, "since the legends are unreachable at the moment they're the best choices we have."

"Why are you sending Hal to talk to someone?" Oliver asked suddenly, "shouldn't you send one the heroes to talk to another one?"

"Hal is Green Lantern," Barry rushed out.

"Of course he is," Oliver sighed, "makes sense."

"It actually does," Felicity shrugged.

"Okay, so, we're setting up a base in one of the old S.T.A.R Labs hangars."

Thea frowned, "won't we get in trouble for trespassing? Someone is bound to notice us. Think we're robbing the place?"

Barry chuckled, "I technically own it, so I'm sure I can smooth it out."

Everyone stared at him. Apparently, he hadn't sent that message out, that he was now the owner. Opps.

"I'll give you guys the address, and I'm off to talk to Aquaman."

Oliver gripped his shoulder, "want back up?"

"If you're up for some cross country running?"

They grinned at each other.


Hal landed on top of the Daily Planet, for being as indiscreet as he was, Superman was a hard man to find. He'd flown the city three times, and he didn't want to wait any longer. He was half tempted to start yelling and test out that super hearing of his.

A shadow covered him, and Hal looked up unimpressed.

"So you're Superman?" He said instead of a greeting.

"You must be the Green Lantern from Central City?"

"Coast City actually, but I help out The Flash."

Superman landed on the roof next to him, "a superhero team up, how does that work out?"

"Pretty good, actually, easier to take down the bad guys," Hal shrugged.

"So what brings you here to Metropolis? From what I heard something pretty big hit Central last night," Superman turned towards him.

Hal raised an eyebrow; he was getting a feeling from this guy, but he couldn't tell what it was. He probably wasn't human, maybe he was that mirror of Kara's cousin?

"I'm here about that actually," Hal replied, "turns out it had aliens on it. Non-friendly and in violation of a treaty."

"Surely you can take care of a few rogues? You've handled all of those metahumans."

"That was an RIF group, more are coming, I haven't had time to do a perimeter check for their main force."

Superman crossed his arms, "we're being invaded?"

Hal nodded, "it seems that way. The protocol has been tossed out of the window and I doubt they would talk even if it wasn't."

"What's the plan?"

That was easy. He's probably a boy scout, Barry is going to love him.

"We're gathering a team," Hal replied, "currently its Team Flash, Flash and myself. More than likely Green Arrow will be joining us with his team."

"Team Flash? Team Arrow?" Superman sounded confused.

"It's hard to explain, but if you're in we're meeting at an S.T.A.R. Labs hangar outside of Central. You should know it when you see it, only one of them should have people in it."

"Are you not coming with me?"

Hal shook his head, "I have one more to try and recruit."

"Who?"

"The guy in Gotham rumored to be dressed as a bat."

Superman frowned, "are you sure about him?"

"We're not sure about you either," Hal shrugged, "Only GA, Flash, and I have worked together before."

"That's fair," Superman leaped up into the air.

"Good luck, GL."

Hal watched him take off towards Central. His speed was impressive, and while he knew that Barry could probably outpace him, Hal couldn't help but wonder if he could beat him in flight.

It was something he'd find out at a later date. Right now he had to go to Gotham, which wasn't going to be fun.


Barry skidded to a stop and set Oliver down next to him. The archer was adapting to his speed pretty well; he only had to close his eyes for a brief second before he was ready to move on.

They weren't sure where their Aquaman was going to show up next, but this was one of the sea-side restaurants he hadn't liberated yet. Oliver moved to lean against the fence that was surrounding the place and crossed his arms. Barry made a quick circuit around the place.

"Everything seems normal," Barry said.

Oliver nodded, "so Hal is the Green Lantern, how are you handling that?"

"Well, he's off-world more than I would like, but he's back pretty quick. It's kind of like when we lived in separate cities."

"You're together with him again?" Oliver tilted his head, "why?"

Barry shrugged, "I do love him, and it wasn't his choice to leave or stay away for so long. But I hear it was because of you that he didn't tell me right away?"

At least Oliver had the decency to look ashamed, Barry wondered who had been the one to walk Ollie through what he did wrong, "I thought that you needed to adjust to your new life before he burst back in it. He was probably going to leave again, or that's what I thought."

"Ollie, thanks for looking out for me. But I am an adult, I've dealt with a lot of things, having him back it helps," Barry shot Oliver a reassuring smile, "I'm not that mad at you, I'll just beat you again."

"That time was a fluke," Oliver bumped into him.

Before Barry could disagree the sound of rushing water grew louder. He turned to see a pillar rising from the end of the dock and something falling out of it. Jumping, he amended. Oliver pulled back his bow, ready to shoot.

"How do you do that so fast?" Barry asked, "threatening him isn't going to make him like us."

Oliver shot him a look, "you talk, I make sure you don't die."

Barry sighed, he knew the bow an effective tactic in Star City but it might just make Aquaman attack them, and since they were in the dark about this guy's powers, he really didn't want to find out the hard way.

"Uh, hi," Barry began.

Oliver muttered something that he couldn't hear, but Barry was pretty sure it wasn't nice.

"You're Flash," Aquaman pointed to Oliver, "Arrow?"

"Green Arrow now," Oliver corrected.

Aquaman turned back to Barry, "surely two big named heroes aren't here to stop me from freeing my friends?"

Oliver gave him a look that clearly said are you serious?

"No, we can talk about that later," Barry said, "right now we need your help."

That didn't seem to change anything, Aquaman crossed his arms, "my help?"

"Last night, a ship crashed into Central City,"

"Your city," Aquaman took a step forward.

"Yes, but it's the fate of the world, that ship was carrying what we're calling Dominators."

He still didn't look impressed, and Oliver was starting to look like he was threatened. Which meant this conversation was going to be able to go on much longer.

"So, what?"

"We're assembling a team, to take them on, we want you on it."

"You don't know me," Aquaman straightened his spine.

"No, but I have a feeling that we can work together," Barry tried smiling.

"Then why is he still pointing that bow at me?"

Oliver knew it was his cue to lower the bow, "sorry, force of habit."

Barry hoped Hal was having better luck with Superman and the Gotham vigilante. Hopefully, Cisco will have a name for him soon.

"C'mon, it's the fate of the world."

Aquaman finally uncrossed his arms, "fine. I will help you, but I reserve the right to not join the team."

Oliver shot him a look and Barry shrugged, "okay, like I said we can talk about it later."

"Where do we go?"

"Hold on," Barry rushed forward and wrapped his arms around Aquaman before turning and grabbing Oliver as well.

He sped to their base and stopped just outside of the hangar. Oliver stumbled away from him giving him an annoyed look, and Aquaman just looked impressed.

"Fast."

Cisco walked out after that statement, "you have no idea. Hi, Cisco Ramon."

"Hello," Aquaman stretched out a hand.

"I hope that you don't mind, but we've kind of taken to calling you Aquaman," Cisco took it.

"It works."

Something crashed behind them and all of them turned around to see a man in blue and red.

"It's Superman," Cisco looked between the heroes excitedly, "oh my god."

"Hello," he nodded towards Cisco, "Green Lantern sent me?"

Barry looked at Oliver smugly, "told you he could do it."

Oliver rolled his eyes.

"Welcome," Barry smiled, "we're gathering inside. GL has yet to get back. Though I imagine everything is going pretty smoothly."


Hal cursed as the Dominator dropped the woman. He made a glove construct to catch her and then switched the construct to a plane and flew her to the nearest rooftop. Once he landed he dissolved the construct.

"Ma'am, are you alright?"

She glared at him, "oh great, another one."

"What?"

"I don't have anything. I dropped my wallet," she crossed his arms.

Hal raised his hands, " I don't want anything."

He flew off, she was safe for now and he had a Dominator to find. They were still taking people, so the loose one was taking priority over finding the other Vigilante. Several rooftops away he could see the Dominator swinging wildly at something in the dark.

As he got closer he could see that it wasn't just something, it was a man in a bat suit. The man was holding up surprisingly well against the alien, but the Dominator was much stronger. Hal wrapped a rope construct around it and flipped the Dominator into the industrial fans.

The blow staggered it enough that Hal could land next to the guy.

"What do you want?" The man growled.

Ooh, he can give Queen a run for his money for growlie vigilante.

"World peace," Hal joked.

The batman- Oh The Batman Cisco is going to freak at such a good name - narrowed his eyes.

Hal looked back equally unimpressed, "we're building a team."

"Who? Flash, Green Arrow, and you?" Batman dodged the Dominator, "I'll pass."

Hal gaped, "you're turning us down?"

"I work alone."

The Dominator recovering, Batman flipped to avoid the swipe but he wasn't going to be able to dodge all of it. Hal formed a bull construct and knocked the dominator out of the way.

"That so?" Hal smirked, "you know it won't just be Flash, GA, and I?"

"Let me guess, Superman, Arthur Curry?"

"How do you do that?" Hal flew in front of him, "listen, the world is in danger."

The Batman began to walk away.

"Answer this, what are your powers? You're a meta right?"

Batman turned around a smirked.

He is just a guy in a bat costume. Guess Gotham just needs a crazy vigilante.

Hal ran after him. He would have to try again. Otherwise, he'd feel like he didn't do all he could.

"Hang on," jumped and used his ring to lift him and landed in front of him.

The Bat tilted his head, "what?"

"This is the fate of the world we're talking about," Hal raised his hands.

"So what are you going to do about it?" Batman crossed his arms.

"We have a team. I have information, with that, we can work out a strategy."

Batman eyed him, "where are we getting the information from? A.R.G.U.S. didn't have much."

Hal was really trying to get used to the fact he was dealing with people who committed felonies for the greater good on a regular basis.

"From me, I'm a Green Lantern, which technically makes me the leading expert on aliens."

"We're doomed," Batman deadpanned.

He clenched his fist, "listen Spooky, you don't have to join. I'm here because Flash said you were worth asking, a good strategist."

"No deal."

Honestly, can't say I'm disappointed.

"We're camping out in an S.T.A.R. Labs hangar outside of Central City," Hal wasn't sure why he said that but it was too late to take it back now.


By the time he landed, Team Arrow had been beginning to unpack. Flash ran out to meet him, pursing his lips in confusion.

"Where's-"

"He's not coming."

"Why?" Barry asked, "everyone else agreed."

Hal tried to lower his voice to imitate Batman's growl, "I work better alone."

"He's not Oliver, Hal."

"No, I like Oliver much better."

Barry winced, "that bad?"

"Worse," Hal sighed, "everyone else is here?"

"Just finishing set up."

They walked into the hangar. In the middle there was a tech station, Felicity was tapping on a screen while Cisco was laying under the table wrangling with the wires. Caitlin was rigging up a minor infirmary. Queen, Diggle, and an archer he wasn't familiar with were off to one side. Superman and Aquaman were hovering on the edge, awkwardly.

"Great start to a team up," Hal whispered to Barry.

Superman looked up.

"He can hear us?"

"Kryptonian, super hearing?" Barry shrugged.

"Seriously?" Hal exclaimed, "that's so cool!"

Their Superman ducked his head. Hal chuckled, and Barry rolled his eyes.

"Excuse me," a woman's voice echoed through the hangar.

All of them turned around to see a woman walk towards them. She was dressed in red, white and blue and it looked to be some form of armor. A sword was at her side, as well as what looked like a lasso on the other side, and a shield slung across his back.

"Can we help you?" Queen recovered first.

"You are the force prepared to take back the Earth?" She responded.

"Who are you?" Queen switched his tactics.

"Diana of Themyscira."

Hal leaned towards Barry, almost touching his ear, "did that help at all?"

Barry shook his head.

"Good, because I did not want to be the only one out of the loop."

He chuckled.

Aquaman, who was evidently named Arthur stepped forward, "an Amazon then?"

Diana tilted her head, "an Atlantian? I thought your people swore off the surface world?"

"That's complicated," Aquaman deflected, "I thought Amazons forsook the world of men?"

Diana smiled, "that's complicated."

Hal leaned back up towards Barry, "how does he know that?"

"I have no idea, but let's hope she can use that sword," Barry responded.

The Amazon turned towards the rest of the group, "who is your general?"

Everyone including Hal turned towards Barry, who looked around before pointing at himself.

"You brought us all together," Queen shrugged.

"Right, okay."

Hal laughed quietly. Leave it to the heroes to pick the most awkward one to be put in charge.

"I am going to help you beat these..." Diana trailed off.

"Dominators," Superman supplied

Diana nodded and turned back to Barry.

"The more the merrier."

Felicity wandered over, "the computers are all set up -woah who are you?"

"Diana of Themyscira."

Queen made a face that looked like it said ‘later.' Felicity nodded and took off back towards the tech circle.

After that, all of the heroes moved to make a half-circle so that Barry could stand in front of them and have the map as a backdrop and to help elaborate strategy.

Just before Barry began his speech, someone dropped from the roof. Hal recognized the black cowl and only shifted to the side while everyone else seemed to jump in surprise.

"Now that's everyone," Hal said blandly.

Barry stared at Batman before he shook his head but then he went back to staring at him, "I'm sorry who are you?"

"Batman."

Wait, he totally stole that.

"He's the guy from Gotham," Hal answered.

He received an annoyed look from the Bat and Hal only grinned.

No one said anything for a few more minutes before Barry composed himself enough to start the discussion.

"Right so as you know, aliens landed on Earth about ten hours ago. They're called the Dominators. They've visited Earth before, in the 50s, but the intel we have for them is negligible."

Hal took a step forward, "however, you're lucky enough to be an acquaintance of a Green Lantern. We have information on all known species, and the Guardians know them all."

No one but Felicity and Cisco looked impressed.

He cleared his throat, "ring access data on species Dominator."

The ring glowed and pulled up the equivalent of a stat card of the species. Hal spent a second looking it over, before deciding that they should know all of it even if they didn't understand some of the Corps terminologies.

"Moniker of Earth, Dominators. Neutral to hostile standing. Their primary goal is to gather information to assess threat levels of planets," it read.

Hal poked at the ring to change the stat card's language to English and then slid the data onto the computer's hard drive. Felicity turned and looked at him, moving her jaw like she wanted to say anything.

"Continue."

"They are psi-null, but a primary weapon is of a telepathic nature. Increasing hostility of  the subject so that they are susceptible to target suggestion."

"What does that mean?" Diggle interjected.

"It's a weapon that's going to mind blast you into fighting your friends," Cisco explained.

"What does it look like? We need to know so we can avoid it," Superman said.

Hal was already tapping on the ring screen trying to pull up any image data. It took a couple of seconds before he found the right option and the ring suddenly projected an image of the weapon.

"That's some "Alien" looking tech right there," Hal heard Cisco mumble, "also am I reading these stats right?"

"The farther the bar is going towards the right, the higher the stat is," Hal explain, "can you put that on behind me?"

Cisco switched the screens, and Hal walked over to them. He pointed to the top one, hoping that he was reading the Guardian's language correctly, it was a mix of four different dead dialects from planets that no longer existed. It was barely comprehensible, and he had it fed into his brain.

"This is their strength; they're only slightly weaker than a yellow sun powered Kryptonian," Hal shot Superman a grin, "their speed isn't too shabby but we have the Fastest Man Alive on our side. Not too agile but annoyingly smart."

Diggle returned from wherever he wandered off to and his face was grim.

"The Dominators have the president."

Chapter Text

The heroes looked at each other, surprised that they would have to spring into action so soon. Felicity was already tapping rapidly on the keyboard and Cisco was looking over her shoulder nodding.

“Okay, I have the last place the president’s tracer gave a signal,” she said suddenly.

Cisco winced, “and it's at a creepy abandoned factory.”

“Isn’t it always?” Barry heard Hal mutter.

Oliver gave the Lantern that said he wasn’t impressed. Hal raised an eyebrow back at him. Barry seriously wondered what it would take to get those two to even be civil with each other. Not to mention the other heroes were picking up in the hostility.

Before anyone could say something Cisco pushed his way into the center, “I have something that might be helpful.”

“Which is?” Superman asked.

Cisco unclasped the lid to the box he was carrying. Inside were communicators that looked almost identical to the ones that Hal and Oliver wore. Barry was sure that if he took apart his suit he would see the same tech.

“These are closed frequency communicators, we can track you from here and talk you through things and you’ll be able to stay in touch with each other in the field,” Cisco explained, “Green Arrow, Spartan, Speedy, Green Lantern, and the Flash already have theirs.”

Barry didn’t miss the way that Cisco said his hero name. He made a mental note to try and talk to his friend again, about indirectly causing his brother’s death. Diggle as well, because he had messed with his family. Time travel was only fun until you had to face the consequences.

Each of the other heroes walked up and picked out their communicator. Diana and Aquaman looked at the tech before tentatively putting it in their ears. Superman took his with a soft, “thanks.” Batman looked at it before slipping it into a closed compartment on his sleeve. Barry could only assume that meant that he integrated it.

He’s the only one I don’t know anything about, and I doubt he’s willing to share if he didn’t even tell Hal that he was coming.

Speaking of the Lantern, he and Oliver seemed to have finally gotten out of their staring contest and rejoined the rest of them.

“Let’s make a plan based on what we see at the warehouse,” Barry suggested. They really were flying blind here.

Oliver didn’t seem happy about the lack of strategy, but didn’t say anything about it.

“GL’s ring can do scans, I assume that Superman has the same vision so it’ll be easy to do recon, and if anyone else has any abilities?”

“Same vision?” Superman frowned, “I do have x-ray and infrared if that’s what you mean, how did you know?”

Barry shrugged, he didn’t have time to explain everything, “long story short I know you cousin in another universe.”

The other heroes eyed him. Hal snickered behind his hand.

“Let’s move out, we don’t know what’s happening with the president and the Dominators,” Oliver said.

That got everyone moving. Thankfully the warehouse was easy enough to get to, by conventional means it only took an hour. Barry was on the perimeter first, getting there in a solid 7 minutes, which he could’ve cut down to five. Hal, Superman, and Diana arrived shortly after that. Green Lantern was the last one to touch down from the three flying heroes and he seemed miffed about that.

Barry placed a hand on his shoulder, tightening slightly. Hal understood what the gesture meant and he loosened his shoulders. He turned his head towards the warehouse. Diana stepped forward like she was going to charge the place, only to be stopped by a fist that Hal raised.

“Supes, let’s fly around and see what we can see,” Hal whispered.

The two heroes took off, both sticking out against the black of the night. Seconds later Barry lost track of Hal, who likely dimmed his ring and Superman was nothing but a silhouette. Diana stood next to him, staring after the others.

“Hiding is not the Amazon way,” she said finally.

“Well, it's the best way we have to not end up dead.”

Diana made a face like she found that acceptable and crossed her arms. Barry leaned against the tree and closed his eyes. He was trying to listen for the whine of the other’s vehicles. Oliver, Thea, and Diggle all had their motorcycles while Batman had agreed to take Aquaman in what Hal immediately dubbed the Bat-plane. Bats had called it a Javelin and that had shut the Lantern up faster than Barry had ever seen before.

He heard the quiet sound of the plane’s engines powering down. Where did he land that thing, and how did I not hear it before?

Minutes later they were joined by them and Barry could make out the form of Superman returning. Hal not being back yet made slightly nervous, but until they knew what they were up against Oliver ordered radio silences. Everyone seems to listen to him, despite me being voted in charge. Not that he was complaining, the Arrow had been the first mask, Oliver had the most experience and training.

Hal landed in front of them not that much later. His lips were pulled into a frown and he kept looking back at the building. Barry was about to ask him about that when he heard a branch snap. Diana unsheathed her sword and started towards the noise only for Team Arrow to stumble out of the woods.

Diggle raised his arms in a shrug, “it’s dark and I don’t have any powers to help me with that.”

Oliver looked at Barry, “well?”

Superman answered for him, “the president is inside. He’s standing, but I can’t tell much more than that.”

“My ring picked up one terrestrial life form, vitals are a little high, but that can be contributed to stress,” Hal paused his jaw tightening before speaking again, “a large energy source, and one extraterrestrial.”

“What?” Thea asked, “just one, well this is going to be easy.”

Hal shook his head, “it’s got trap written all over it, but I don’t know where it's going to come from.”

“But we can’t leave the president alone!” Superman protested.

“No one said we were,” Batman spoke up.

Several people jumped, Barry wondered if they hadn’t noticed him or forgotten that he was part of this team up.

“What do you suggest?” Oliver turned to him, “we go in and we walk into their trap.”

“If it’s an ambush, they’ll come from the outside in, my ring didn’t pick up anything else in the building,” Hal said, “did you see, or rather not see, anything that looks like it could be a hiding place?”

“No, everything looked fairly average, I couldn’t see our alien or where the energy is coming from,” Superman replied.

“Yeah, that thing is putting off too much energy for my ring to pinpoint it, too little of the Dominators are known to the Guardians.”

“Too little?” Thea sounded nervous.

Hal shrugged, “in comparison to the rest of the species that the Guardians know about, yeah. My ring can pick up a tumor as it starts forms. That’s how well they know about humans, couldn't treat it though.”

“So we know what the tech does, what it looks like, but not how it works,” Batman summarized.

“Pretty much,” Hal replied, “bet it won’t work if we break it into pieces.”

Batman and Oliver shared a look that Barry was pretty sure asking how Hal became a hero. But, he saw the merit in Hal’s idea, since they had the advantage of knowing what it looks like, breaking it would be easy enough to make a priority. Especially with Superman on their side.

“So if an attack does come from the outside what do we do?” Diggle asked.

“I say we split into teams,” Oliver said, “one on the outside as a guard and the ones on the inside as extraction.”

“My ring has an early warning, if something is coming I’ll know it,” Hal spoke quickly, “I’ll be on the outside.”

Barry raised his hand, “if its extraction I should go inside, I’m the fastest on here, I can pull the president out of any danger and run him to safety.”

“I’ll go inside as well,” Superman nodded, “we know of at least one Dominator. I have the best chance of being evenly matched with him.”

“Team Arrow will take the outside,” Oliver said, “we can ambush the Dominators if Lantern thinks he can get us a warning soon enough.”

“I want to go inside,” Thea turned to her brother, “besides there’s no one else that’s a long range fighter.”

Oliver looked like he wanted to protest, but didn’t. Barry agreed with Thea, if they had someone at a distance, maybe one of the exploding arrows could do the trick.

“I will go inside, the foe is more likely to be there and I am eager to face battle once more.” Diana declared.

“Outside,” Aquaman shrugged, “I’m near enough to water and these guys might need more than one person stronger than a human.”

Batman drew his cloak around him, “I’ll take the inside, see if I can’t get any more intel on them.”

It was a fair enough division of power, and if there really was an attack outside Diana could easily switch to the outside and so could he once he returned back from securing the president.

“Radio only if you need backup,” Oliver ordered.

The teams broke up. Barry knew that Hal would be airborne, so he’d have the biggest chance of getting the warning. Not to mention he did his best fighting in the air. He had seen Oliver and Diggle break up and go separate ways into the forest and Aquaman remained where they had met up.

His own team was much less organized. Batman had gone off on his own to make his own way inside, and stealth wasn’t in any of their vocabulary, outside of Bats and Thea. Although the bright red of her uniform limited that should anyone be looking at them. Superman was walking in front, not trying to conceal his presence and Diana was next to him in much of the same manner.

Barry hung back, he didn’t need to be that close, and the more distance he had the more momentum that he could pick up. He was sure that he had the speed to do something as simple as this.

How often have I outran a speeding bullet?

Superman threw open the door and Barry understood why Bats went off on his own. Any chance of getting useful intel other than how they fought would be lost when they noticed the intruders. They carefully made their way through the warehouse, sticking together but giving each other enough room to move.

“Still clear,” Hal’s voice came through the earpiece.

He must’ve been waiting for them to get inside. Barry checked around himself, he couldn’t see anything, but that didn’t mean much when they were dealing with aliens. The atmosphere was creepy though. Thea also seemed to be affected by it as she had dropped back next to him.

Suddenly a figure came stumbling towards them, Thea had her bow drawn and Diana her sword was pointing at the figure as well. He squinted and saw a familiar face.

“Guys, that’s the president,” he whispered loud enough that everyone could hear him.

He prepped his legs to run and tapped into his speed.

“Please, get me out of here,” the president kept stumbling towards them, raising his bound hands.

“Wait, here comes something,” Superman held out an arm.

Barry could barely make out the sounds of heavy footsteps on the metal grate above them. He looked up and saw one of the Dominators, it was standing next to a freaky looking piece of tech that Barry knew was their “dominator”.

“Guys, careful he’s by that tech,” Barry warned.

The others nodded, aware of it as well it seemed. Superman took a step forward, “release the president, if you do that we can talk.”

“He is not the one we want,” the Dominator said raising a silver device.

Barry slipped into his speed and saw the device begin to charge. He wasn’t sure what it was but he knew that he couldn’t let its beam touch the president. In milliseconds he was wrapping his arms around the president to try and not cause damage from the force. The beam was only halfway to the president by now and somehow he knew he was going faster than he had before. Instead of stopping at the other side of the platform he kept going, racing the president to the safe house they were instructed to bring him to. He was almost to the woodline by the time that anyone realized he had moved.

“Flash?” Superman asked.

“Here, the president is secure. I am taking him to the safehouse,” Barry responded.

“Good.”

That ended the transmission and Barry focused on making the run to the safehouse. Which was deep in Bludhaven, Barry wasn’t sure why he was putting the president that city, but at least no one would expect it. Also the Dominators had said that they didn’t want the president so he was probably in the clear. But they didn’t know who it was that the Dominators wanted.

Just as he reached Bludhaven’s border his comm crackled.

“Uh oh,” that was Hal’s voice.

“What happened?” Oliver answered immediately.

“Well, the dominator’s weapon went off, and it is mind control...”

Barry could picture Hal’s face when he said that, he’d be frowning and running a hand through his hair.

“And Superman and Diana were inside, along with Speedy...” Oliver sighed.

“I’ll deal with the Dominator,” Hal said, “you guys follow those two. Bats, you with us?”

“Yes, I was outside of its range.”

He let out a breath that he didn’t know he was holding. They still had most of the heroes on their side. The ones they lost however, that was going to be a problem.
“Aquaman, you stay with me and help fight, everyone else, make sure they don’t do anything they’d regret,” Hal ordered.

There were varying statements of agreements and Barry pushed himself to go faster. He could catch up with Team Arrow, and help even the odds. His speed might be able to compete with the super strength if he got enough momentum behind his punches.

The secret service agents jumped in surprise when he came skidding to a stop in front of them. Though as soon as they saw that he had the president with him they jumped into action. They grabbed the president from him and hurried him inside. One of them turned and nodded to him.

“The eagle is secure,” the other mumbled into his sleeve.

Barry gave them a half salute and then turned to leave the city.

“GA, where are you?” He asked one he was speeding alongside the highway.

“We’re heading towards Central City.”

Of course they are. Barry sighed and adjusted his course.

“Have they done anything?”

“Not yet, they’ve been consistently heading toward Central in the most direct path,” Oliver replied.

“Okay, I’ll meet you there.”

He pushed himself to go faster and lightning surged through his body. It was almost telling him that he could go faster, and he knew that he could. His mind suddenly shifted to the article in the time vault and how the tagline changed. He had to get faster and be able to sustain that speed.

Central City appeared in the distance, and there was no smoke or weird formations in the sky so he assumed that he was the first one back to the city or it just hadn’t happened yet. Maybe Hal and Aquaman stopped the mind control.

“How’re you guys holding up, GL?” He asked.

“Well-” there was an ‘oof’ and a grunt of pain, “we haven’t destroyed the device yet. The Dominator is doing a pretty good job of keeping us away from it.”

“It has to get destroyed,” Oliver said.

“I’m-” there was another grunt, “working on it. Aquaman watch out!”

Their comm link went suspiciously silent and Barry tried to keep himself from worrying. Hal could handle him and Aquaman more than likely could as well otherwise he wouldn’t have signed up to join this mission. Instead, Barry headed towards S.T.A.R. Labs. There might be something that could help reclaim superheroes minds.

He breezed in only to see Joe and Iris standing in the Cortex. They looked up relieved when they finally registered that he was there.

“Barry! Is it over?” Iris ran to hug him.

“Not yet, we have a bigger problem.” He returned the hug.

“Bigger than being invaded?” Joe asked.

“Yeah, the Dominators have control of Superman, Diana, and Thea.”

Joe’s eyes grew comically wide, “the Superman, as in the guy that can stop planes mid-air?”

Barry nodded.

“Well...”

He couldn’t finish that statement as Oliver’s voice yelled over the comms, “they’re here! And tearing up downtown!”

“Where are they?” Barry sprinted out of the Labs.

Once he reached outside he had to dodge heat vision coming his way.

“S.T.A.R. Labs,” Oliver answered belatedly.

A quick glance around the area let him know that Diana and Superman were in the air and Speedy wasn’t in any visible sight yet. He thought he saw metal glint that looked like it belonged to Diggle’s helmet. He sped over to them.

“Shit!” Diggle accidentally fired his gun.

Barry dodged the blast easily and looked to the ex-soldier for answers.

“Sorry, didn’t know it was you,” Diggle shrugged.

“So you adopted a shoot first ask questions later policy?” Barry might be heading into hysterical territory.

“Well, considering I am the slowest person right now? Yeah.” Diggle shot back.

It was fair, but also dangerous. Barry shook his head, he could deal with that later. Instead he turned his attention to Oliver who was peering around the side of the van.

“Have eyes on Speedy?” Barry asked.

“Not yet.”

Barry frowned, “Where’s Batman?”

“Roof,” Oliver pointed to a nearby skyscraper.

Barry looked towards it but couldn’t make anything out in the low light, so he could only assume Oliver’s words were correct. He wasn’t comfortable with not knowing where his team was, if something were to happen he wouldn’t be able to react fast enough to save them. Still, he could pull Oliver and Diggle away from the car that Diana just hurled at them.

He ran over to a wall that used to be attached to the facility and set them down gently. Diggle stumbled and threw out a hand for support.

“Stop doing that,” he grunted out.

“Sorry, it was that or be crushed by a car,” Barry shrugged.

Superman found their position and nearly got Barry with his heat vision, but he had just leaned away from the wall. He whistled at the close call.

“Lantern, we need you to destroy that weapon!” Oliver shouted.

“Working on it,” Hal replied, “I have to make sure I don’t set off a chain reaction and level half of this forest, Aquaman, and myself.”

Barry spotted an arrow soaring their way and he ran out to catch it. Once he did he tossed it to the side and looked at the trajectory. He saw a flash of red and he was off. Thea shot a couple more arrows that had no chance of hitting him, before she started swinging with her bow.

It was a lucky blow. Barry careened to the side rubbing his now bruised and possible cracked jaw. He tasted blood in his mouth. Thea only growled at him. Instead of trying to talk her down he grabbed her and sped her back down the S.T.A.R. Labs’ lawn. He set her down before he was tying her up. Once he was sure she couldn’t get out he rushed her into the lobby of that facility.

“Joe, Thea is tied up in the lobby, she is not friendly,” he yelled before speeding back out to rejoin the fray.

Everything was in slow motion has he tried to figure out what was happening. Diana hand landed and was swinging her sword towards Diggle’s head. Oliver was crouched with his hand halfway to his quiver with Superman baring down at him. Barry blinked and saw that even in his sped up perception Superman was still moving.

Holy crap. Not good. He looked between the two vigilante’s, there was no way he’d be able to stop both attacks. A voice inside of his head taunted him about not being fast enough. Barry tensed his legs and shot off. He pushed Oliver out of the way several feet before turning to do the same to Diggle.

Diana was inches away from cleaving Diggle’s skull in two. He surged forward, stretching out to his full length and shoving into Diggle with both hands. Once he made contact his perception sped back up to normal pace and he felt the sword slamming into his shoulder and a horrible sounding crack. For a second his arm flared in pain and he screamed out and then it went numb.

He hadn’t stopped running so he had run himself through, and using his good arm punched Diana in the stomach. Then his speed cut out and he went to the ground. Barry looked at his shoulder and only saw a mess of severed muscle and a lot of blood.

“Flash!” Oliver’s voice sounded far away.

Both Diana and Superman had recovered from their shock and readied another attack. To the side of him, he saw a black figure drop from somewhere and something flew out of his hands. Diana raised her arms to deflect whatever it was, only for it to stick to her bracers. Superman had caught it and then they were both being electrocuted.

Well, should’ve been. Superman brushed it off and the electricity never traveled beyond Diana’s bracers. At that point, Barry gave up on trying to follow the fight because his head was feeling way to fuzzy. Someone had wrapped their arms around his torso and he was being dragged.

Before he blacked out he saw both meta’s drop to the ground and heard a voice from the comm linking claiming that they had done it. A bright light came down from the sky, and then he passed out.


When he came to, Barry recognized the ceiling. For some reason, he was back in S.T.A.R. Labs. Iris was next to him, but her attention was in the cortex where there was a gathering. He groaned and pushed himself into a sitting position.

“Barry!” Iris gasped, “oh thank god.”

Hal perked up when he heard the noise, shot him a grin and then turned back to Superman, Diana, and Aquaman. They all made the lab look incredibly small, hell they made Hal look small. Barry swung his legs over the side of the bed. His shoulder was stiff but it felt like it had healed well.

“Your shoulder is fine,” Iris said, “we were more worried about the blood loss, you were losing it much faster than you can replace it or you could seal the artery. Your accelerated heart rate did not help matters.”

Barry half listened. He knew that he probably had been a little too close to bleeding out (especially since Caitlin was still back at the hangar). That much had been obvious when he started feeling the effects that fast. But now he felt fine and he needed to know how their battle with the Dominators is going.

Iris steadied him as he stood and then hovered by him as they made their way in the the Cortex. Everyone turned to look at him and Diana even smiled at him.

“Not many escape death from my blade,” she said, “I am relieved you did.”

Next to her, Joe made a face that said he didn’t approve of the statement, but Barry knew that it was said as a compliment and peace gesture.

“What’s happened? How long have I been out?” He asked settling in next to Hal.

“You’ve been out for about six hours,” Hal answered, “and our non-powered teammates have been abducted.”

“What? And we haven’t gone after them?” Barry raised his voice.

Hal placed a comforting hand on his bicep, “Felicity and Cisco are working on finding a way to track them. But since all of our fast travel was out of commission they had to use the old fashion way. Cisco is gonna try to vibe them.”

“Can’t you track them?” Barry tilted his head.

“If I was in central at the time, but I was still dealing with our lone Dominator. He’s in the basement by the way.”

“That’s... something.”

Superman looked like he shared the sentiment. Barry noticed that he didn’t look like he was any worse for wear, but he carried himself like he was injured. He must’ve been feeling bad about being taken over.

Cisco’s voice suddenly spoke through the speakers, “I found them. They’re in a stasis of some sort, and after trial and error and fighting a cyborg we’ve managed to find out where they are.”

“You fought a cyborg? With who?” Hal asked.

“Where are they?” Barry ignored him and asked.

Hal looked annoyed but Cisco was already sending over the coordinates. Barry was frowning they were negative. That means-

“They’re in space?” Hal shouted, “my ring didn’t pick up a ship!”

“Your ring can pick up alien ships?” Cisco asked.

“If they breach the atmosphere, which this one evidently didn’t. One of them must’ve tipped the rest off that there’s a Green Lantern on the surface.”

Barry looked at Hal and shot out an arm to grab the Lantern’s wrist. He knew that look.

“What?” Hal tugged his arm out of Barry’s grasp.

“You’re not going up there,” Barry crossed his arms over his chest.

“Do you know of any other way to get them down? Ask nicely?” Hal mirrored the stance.

“You’d be going against an unknown number of enemies on their turf,” Barry shot back.

“So I’ll engage them as little as possible,” Hal shrugged, “I know how to get onto a ship undetected. I do have to deal with smuggling and illegal ship modifications.”

“Really?” Joe asked, “like an actual cop?”

Hal nodded, “yeah, some stuff is illegal throughout the universe, which means the Green Lantern’s get to deal with that.”

“Back on topic,” Cisco’s voice was raised, “GL you think you can get up on that ship?”

“Easily.”

Barry narrowed his eyes. He didn’t like that no one was listening to his extremely valid concerns. Hal had trouble taking one down, and he had back up. A whole ship full was likely to get him killed.

“Okay, they’re circling the northern hemisphere, somewhere over... Central City.”

Everyone looked up like they were expecting to see Dominators drop from the ceiling. None did. The momentary distraction was enough that Hal was able to slip out of the lab.

“GL!” Barry turned on his comm.

“Don’t worry so much Flash, I got this!” Hal laughed.

Chapter Text

The ship sat ominously above the Earth, coasting along in orbit and occasionally bumping into a satellite, which broke it. Hal flew up towards it cautiously. He pulled out his ring to scan for any entrances that he could exploit without being obvious. Naturally, there weren’t any, but there was a docking station that had a ship attached to it.  Hal flew over to it, making sure that he wouldn’t be easily visible to any curious onlookers. The ship detached and Hal flew through the opening. Thankfully the Dominators hadn’t left anyone in the loading bay.

Once inside he dodged into an alcove to try and orientate himself. Again, anyone would over look him if they weren’t expecting someone to be there.

“Ring, is the atmosphere breathable for humans?” He whispered.

“Affirmative,” it responded.

With that Hal let the aura drop. Now he wasn’t that he wasn’t a glow stick he would have a better chance of not being seen. He leaned out of his hiding spot before turning back to his ring.

“Map of the interior?”

The ring glowed and a 3d model of the ship appeared, though it was only the part he was in. There was a blip that Hal assumed to mean where he was. It looked like he would have to do this the hard way. At least the ring’s scanner had a very large range. He frowned, an idea occurred to him.

“Playback,” he whispered.

Again the ring glowed and the docking bay was filled with soft green light. The Dominators walked away from the ship which detached. It then went on to play him climbing onto the ship, and once he dipped to where he was currently hiding the light faded.

Hal squared his jaw, wondering if this would work, “playback begin six hours ago.”

The room spun as things moved around, but then it settled. Hal watched as the transporters glowed briefly and several humans appeared. They stood before they crumpled to the ground but it was enough that Hal could tell one of them was Queen.

“Holy shit, this is so cool!” He grinned and the light flickered.

Once the light was bright again, Hal watched what happened to his teammates. Several Dominators appeared and picked them up.

“Take them to the pods,” his ring translated when one spoke.

The Dominators left the room, and Hal crept after them. They were bright green and weren’t doing anything for stealth but so long as he heard the approach he could make it disappear, he’d have to figure something out about himself.

For several minutes he watched the Dominators carry his unconscious teammates and it was a rather boring playback. Hal shrugged, it was much easier than having his ring become radar and beep when he stumbled across human life forms. Besides, what better way to learn how my ring works. He had it taught to him when he went through training, but putting into practice was another thing entirely.

It was so much easier to make constructs that hit people hard. Footsteps echoed down the hall and Hal canceled the playback with a flick of his hand. He looked around quickly trying to find a spot to take cover in. He found that he was in a straight hallway with nothing of use.

Shit. Wait. Dr. Light used light, she could become invisible... or was it a possibility... Hal shook his head. He willed his ring to form a shield around picturing light going around him. For several seconds he didn’t think it was working and suddenly things went dark for him. He frowned, he felt fine and didn’t think anything happened to him.

The Dominators drew closer and Hal scrambled to push himself against a wall. He kept willing the shield to exist as he heard them walk past. They didn’t attack him and once they were passed he let out a relieved breath and released the shield.

He could see again and he had to close his eyes against the light reopening them seconds later. Holy shit, I was just invisible! Hal laughed, unable to believe that he had actually done that.

Thank you, Dr. Light!

After that, he proceeded through the corridors at a much quicker pace. If he heard any Dominators approach he would stop the playback, push himself against the wall, and turn invisible. The switching between not seeing anything and seeing everything was giving him a headache. He’d need to be in a dim room for a month if he had to keep doing this for any longer.

Eventually, he reached a door and the Dominators stopped to press a code. Hal mimicked the hand movement and, like the playback, he entered the room. Inside there were six pods, but only four were occupied. He watched how they were put in, and once all four were strapped in he stopped the playback.

Knowing how they were put in was one thing, getting them out was another thing completely.

“Ring, scan device. What is its purpose?”

A green light flared out and ran over one of the pods before receding.

“A neurological containment device, with a neuromorphic interface,” it said.

Hal sighed, “clarify.”

“It traps the occupants in a desirable world.”

It’s messing with their brains... Hal walked over to Batman’s. He saw that there was something attached to his temples. After a quick walk around he could tell that it was the only thing that could possibly keep them in the dream world.  Bats twitched and his face turned into a scowl.

Not sure what else he could do, he held his breath as he yanked off the device. Quickly he back pedaled. No alarms went off and Batman was waking up. After a few seconds, he stumbled out of the pod, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“What...” He said when his eyes landed on Hal.

He grinned at the bat, “just saving your ass, is all.”

Reassured that there was no lasting damage he removed the others more gently and slowly, hoping to spare them the migraine that Batman was suffering. Which in itself was a weird thought. They each woke up slowly and stumbled out disoriented.

“Lantern, what the hell?” Queen said once he finally regained his wits.

“You got abducted, I’m the rescue team,” Hal shrugged.

“Just you?” Queen sounded doubtful.

Hal smirked, “I’m the only one that was able to make it into space, so yeah.”

Diggle inhaled sharply, “we’re on a spaceship, in space, surrounded by hostile aliens? My life was normal once, you know.”

Everyone ignored him.

“I only know of one way off of the ship, I should be able to make a shield around you guys so that the vacuum of space won’t kill you,” Hal said.

“Should?” Thea asked.

“I survive space with only the aura, so I think I can extend it to a construct,” he shrugged, “I’m a rookie here.”

No one seemed too keen on the idea, but Dominators could be heard approaching. Hal ducked behind one of the pods, “quick, act like you’re still caught!”

Just as Diggle laid back and closed his eyes the doors opened. The Dominator stepped in. Hal stopped breathing, he knew their senses weren’t any better than humans, but he didn’t want to risk it. After a minute the Dominator went back out of the room.

“Let’s move fast,” Queen said.

After that, Hal took the lead. He followed the same path as before, thankful that it was fairly simple to remember. Before they reached the docking bay, they ran straight into a group of Dominators. Hal stopped suddenly and other’s smacked into him.

He fell out into the open, but not before his ring was able to translate what the Dominators were saying.

“The weapon will be ready soon.”

The moment his face hit the floor the Dominators rushed him. He quickly rolled to the side and sprang to his feet holding out his ring, trying to intimidate the Dominators.

“It’s a Green Lantern!” One hissed.

“Kill it, take the ring.” The other said.

“I kind of like this ring,” Hal said before sending two unformed bolts down range.

The Dominators were flung backward and Hal ushered the group to follow him. They needed to make it to the docking bay before reinforcements showed up. He sprinted down the hallways, occasionally glancing over his shoulders to make sure that the heroes were with him. Belatedly he realized that Batman didn’t have his cowl on. He’d have to keep that in mind when he landed.

Their luck held as the docking bay was blessedly empty. The door shut behind Diggle, and Hal used his ring to melt part of it in place.

“That should hold them long enough,” he turned back to the group.

There was a nervous energy bouncing around the room. Hal sighed, he understood what he was asking them, but he didn’t understand why they were so nervous about it.

“Ready to get back on Earth?” He smiled.

“Are you sure your construct will, ya know, keep us alive?” Thea looked at the exit port.

“I’ve tried a lot of new things today, so I’m sure it will,” Hal replied.

That made Diggle look up and then back to Queen. Neither of them looked like they were going to be the first to volunteer. Queen turned to Batman and his eyes widened in shock when he saw the cowl was off. Before anything could be said there was a loud bang at the door.

“Time’s up, we’re going!” Hal formed the sphere around them.

He made it smaller, it barely had enough room for all of them, but it would let him have more maneuverability. It wouldn’t drain the ring as fast, which was giving him the warning that it was running low on power. Did I forget to charge it this morning?

The aura formed around him and he pulled the lever down to open the hatch, there was a strong suction and after a few seconds he went out making sure all of his focus was on maintaining the construct. He didn’t go far out of the ship, glancing down at his passengers.

They looked terrified but alive. Which was good enough for Hal at the moment. He took off towards Earth, thankful that they were right above Central City for once. The last thing he needed was to land in the middle of India.

That’s when the Dominators started dropping ships which were coming towards them. He tightened his jaw.

“Hold on!” He yelled, not sure if it would do any good.

The first few were easy enough to avoid, and their shots didn’t come anywhere near him. But more kept coming, and Hal pushed himself to go as fast as he could. Without the passengers, he was sure this would be cake to escape.

“They aren’t letting up!” Hal growled.

Instead, he suddenly shifted his course, one was on his tail and flew directly at another. Once that one started firing he dropped below it and saw as the Dominator ship that was chasing him blew up. He grinned and returned his course back towards Earth, with the hope that he was lost in the confusion of friendly fire.

He let out a breath of relief when he saw the ship hadn’t completely blown up but lost an engine. No matter how bad these aliens were, he wouldn’t feel right with their deaths on his hands.

As he approached the atmosphere he put more focus on strengthening the shield. His own aura would naturally protect him, he was sure. As he made his way through the outer layer he made sure to keep an eye on the construct. Fire funneled around it but it looked like it was holding.

He made his descent to Earth quickly and found a flat and remote place to land. The moment his feet touched the ground his ring gave one last warning beep and his costume dissolved as the ring died.

At least he had the mind to make sure the others were on the ground first.

“Well, that’s something I thought I would never do,” Thea said in an attempt at humor.

Diggle had fallen to his knees and was hunched over. Hal felt sorry for him, he knew how the man handled running with Barry, that probably was way worse. Queen walked over to him, only the tiniest bit unsteady. It was impressive.

“Thank you, for saving us,” Queengrit out.

Hal almost fell over, Queen -er Oliver- was thanking him? They couldn’t stand each other.

“No problem,” he said, “what are friends for?”

Oliver gave him a long look before sticking his hand out, which Hal took and they shook. Some sort of truce being made.

“Where’s your suit?” Oliver asked after a second.

Hal looked down at his bomber jacket, “my ring ran out of power, I need to get to the power battery.”

Diggle made a strange sound.

“Are you okay?” He asked.

There was no answer for several seconds, “I will be, so long as I never have to do that again.”

“Invasions of underdeveloped planets are generally frowned on, there’s actually a treaty about it,” Hal feigned innocence.

“That’s... reassuring,” Thea said.

“The abduction, and being hauled around in a snow globe,” Diggle choked out.

“Sorry, I usually fly better than that,” Hal shrugged.

“I need to get back to Gotham,” Batman said suddenly.

He took a second to look at Bats civilian form, but couldn’t place the face despite it being familiar.

“Well, I can’t fly you there, right now. We need to let them know that mission was successful,” Hal replied.

Oliver raised an eyebrow, “can’t you just call Flash? How is he, by the way? He was hurt pretty bad.”

Hal rubbed the back of his neck, “I kind of flew out of S.T.A.R. Labs without it, but Flash is fine, fully recovered.”

“We aren’t that far out of Central City, we can just walk,” Hal pointed to the city behind him.

Diggle eventually recovered enough to begin moving. They stuck close to the trees and away from the road. The last thing they needed was someone recognizing Oliver and Thea Queen and the “missing” pilot from Ferris Air.

He still hadn’t talked to Carol. When they saved the world he would mark a date to do that and tell Barry. Barry always made him do stuff that he really didn’t want to do.

The walk back to Central was pleasant enough, everyone was too worn thin from their time in the Dominator’s ship to be too talkative, and Hal was giving them their space. Only saying something in response to Diggle’s jabs at his flying. It hadn’t even been that extreme! No worse than riding an unsafe roller coaster, he imagined.

When they entered the city limits Hal dodged into the first police station that he could find. He tried to use his most friendly face at the front desk. She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Hey, I’ve been dealing with a stalker, and he just kind of approached me again, I was wondering if I could use your phone to call Detective Joe West, he’s in charge of the case?”

She eyed him, “isn’t he on the meta-human task force?”

“We think it’s an invisible meta, he just fwps,” Hal spun his hand, “away after he gets near me.”

That seemed believable enough, or she didn’t want to deal with him anymore as she was handing him the phone and the dial pad. He pulled it to the side and tried to put as much distance as he could between him and the secretary.

“Joe West speaking,” he said instead of a greeting.

“Hey Joe, good news I got them,” he kept his voice low, “bad news, we don’t have any equipment.”

The secretary looked up at him.

“I think we need a fast response, I’m at the station right on the edge of town,” he raised his voice enough that the secretary turned her head back to her work, satisfied that he was telling the truth.

“I’ll send him your way. Do you need anything brought to you?” Joe asked.

“Yeah, my power battery,” Hal went back to whispering, “Barry knows what it is and where it is.”

“Sending him your way,” Joe hung up.

Hal hung up the receiver and brought it back to the secretary. She took it back and set it down on her desk.

“Thanks,” he grinned.

“Do you need someone to drive you home?” She asked.

“Nah, I think the guy is long gone,” he winked.

The secretary didn’t look amused and went back to her work. Hal sauntered out of the station. Everyone looked up at him as he turned to go into the alley they were hiding out in.

“Flash is on his way, with my battery. So I should be able to get you back to Gotham before anyone else sees your face,” Hal said, turning to Batman on that last part.

As expected Batman said nothing. Hal rolled his eyes and leaned against the wall next to Oliver. Two minutes later, he heard the whistle of an approaching speedster. Barry skidded to a stop in front of them. Hal grabbed the battery that was cradled in his arms.

“Be right back!” He grinned and took off into the alley way.

While he took the oath seriously and wasn’t embarrassed that he had to say it. He didn’t feel comfortable charging in front of people. It was something personal, and he hadn’t even done it in front of Barry. Recited the oath sure, but nothing else.

He set the power battery on top of a recycling bin lid and held out his fist, “In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight, let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!”

It flashed a brilliant green, and Hal could feel the energy return to his ring. He felt the sear up his arm and settle in his chest. Hal grabbed the power battery and settled it in the pocket dimension until he could get it back home. Kilowog’s threats of what would happen if his power battery broke ran through his head.

The rest of the group were talking with Barry, he could tell that they were talking strategy. Oliver turned to him once he rejoined the group, and Hal made a show of powering up his ring so that his uniform formed.

“All right, so I’m taking Batman back to Gotham,” he said.

“At least to my jet,” Batman said from somewhere in the shadows.

Thea raised her hand, “do you think you can take me back to Star City? This is getting a little out of hand.”

Hal nodded, “meet you back at the hangar?”

Barry nodded.

They split and Hal wrapped a construct around Batman and Thea. He made sure that this flight was much more pleasant than the previous one. Batman had hidden the plane in the lot behind S.T.A.R. Labs. Once he uncloaked it, Hal nearly drooled. It was one of the super prototype Javelins. Carol had been trying to get involved with them before he left they had been nothing more than ideas on paper.

“Dude!” He exclaimed.

Batman had already hopped up into the pilot’s seat and Hal tried to not be that jealous. He wanted to fly one so bad, but Wayne Enterprise hadn’t seemed like they were going to partner up. Though he wasn’t sure if that was the case any longer.

“I can take Speedy with me,” Batman said.

Thea gave him a look, and Hal shrugged, “do what you want.”

“I don’t know him...” she trailed off.

“Don’t worry about it, flying to Star City doesn’t take that long,” Hal replied.

With that decided Batman closed the hatch and started the engine. Hal backed Thea away from the plane and it easily lifted off of the ground with minimal space as a runway. He looked at the plane sadly.

“Someday,” he whispered.

Thea was giving him a weird look.

Hal shrugged, “former experimental jet and plane test pilot, and that is one hell of a jet.”

“Oh-kay, I thought being nerdy was Felicity, Cisco, or Barry’s thing,” she laughed.

Instead of replying Hal wrapped her in a construct and took off. She seemed to be more relaxed than the first time, settling herself down and watching the scenery blur by. Hal set off at a decent clip, and he estimated he would be back in Central in about two and half hours if he kept up this pace.

Thea was grateful to be on the ground again once they reached the top of her apartment complex.

“You’re flying got better, but I think I’ve done enough of that for the rest of the year,” she grinned.

“How can anyone get tired of flying?” Hal said dramatically.

“Who knows, but you better get back. Aliens to fight and all of that.”

Hal gave her a mock salute before taking off back into the sky. Now he could really put pace on himself, but he wasn’t sure if he needed it.

“I dropped Speedy off, how do things look on your end?” He spoke once he turned on his comm.

“Not good, the Dominators gave us an ultimatum,” Cisco answered.

Hal heard the tightness in his friend's voice, “surrender or die?”

“Almost, surrender the Flash or all of the metahumans and 2 million humans will die.”

Oh. “Why do they want Flash? He’s not seriously thinking of giving himself up is he?”

“He’s a threat, and of course he is. GA is trying to talk him out of it, I don’t know how much success he’s having...” Cisco trailed off.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can, do we have a time limit?” Hal started to push himself to go faster.

“2 hours, and it's been about 40 since that option was given to us.”

   “Okay.”

Hal clicked the comm off and focused on getting to Central. He knew that he easily beat Mach 2 on his way back and maybe even touched Mach 3. Lanterns could almost travel light speed, but he had no idea how to even start going that fast. That seemed like it was a little too much.

He was almost to the Nevada-Utah border when his ring chirped.

“Atmosphere breach.”

Hal looked up and in the distance, he could see ships descending through the clouds.

“Wonderful warning!” He snapped at the ring.

“GL we have E.Ts!” Cisco yelled over the comm.

He winced at the volume, “I’m aware. Do we have a plan?”

“They’re just sitting, not doing anything at the moment.”

“So the moment we don’t give Flash over, they can attack. What are they supposed to be dropping?” Hal pushed himself faster.

“A... meta bomb,” Cisco replied, “not sure, but one sent us a very unfriendly IM.”

“How did you get an IM?”

“Our, friends, the Legends came to help us out, and we went back in time to see why and ask about it, and I stole a communicator...”

“When did you do this?”

“After we located where the others were?”

Hal ran a hand down his face, “okay. Okay.”

“Brightside one of them is working on a weapon to stop the Dominators.”

“See, this is why I thought we had a team, to communicate things,” Hal grumbled.

Cisco didn’t respond to that.

After a minute of radio silence, Hal spoke up, “uh, hello?”

“Sorry, had to stop Flash from doing something stupid,” Felicity said.

“So he’s not going to sacrifice himself?”

“Not at the moment,” Cisco chimed in.

An invisible weight that Hal hadn’t know was there was lifted off of his shoulders. He knew that he wouldn’t have been able to make it in any time that mattered.

“Do we have a plan yet?”

“No, where are you?” Felicity responded.

“About halfway through Colorado,” Hal guessed, “I’m increasing speed.”

“That’s good because we’re going to need you,” Felicity turned away from the mic suddenly, “and you have about an hour left before the deadline is up.


Hal made it back to the hangar in forty minutes. He was feeling drained and once this was over he was going to sleep for a solid three days because that’s how long he felt like he hasn’t slept for.

“You all right?” Oliver asked.

“I’ll be fine,” he said, straightening his posture.

That’s when a vaguely familiar old man waltzed into the hangar.

“I have something that may help,” he held up a tiny piece of tech, “when placed on the Dominators it will cause indescribable agony. Not the nicest invention, but this is war. The catch is if we set them off before we have them on all of the Dominators they’ll know what we’re up to.”

“So we have to do it fast,” Oliver said.

Everyone turned to Barry, “that’s the only way I know how.”

“I can help,” Superman floated down.

Hal almost forgot about the other heroes, which he felt bad about, but it's been one hell of a day.

After that, it was a flurry of activity. Each hero was given about 100 of the little discs so that they could tag their own Dominators. Superman and Barry were on cleanup duty, catching the ones that were missed. Hal looked at the little device.

“So this handles the ground troops, but what about that meta bomb?” Oliver asked.

“Batman and the Waverider are taking care of that,” Felicity chimed, “but, GL you’re on call for helping with that.”

He wasn’t sure what he would be able to do, but he nodded.

They decided that they would take on the forces in Central City, it was most concentrated and posed the biggest threat to Earth. Hal settled the few heroes that decided to allow him to fly them on the roof. Others joined them.

A group of Dominators was already waiting for them and they charged. Hal lost track of people during the battle, but he mainly kept his eyes on the ones that wouldn’t survive being thrown off of the building.

Like Oliver almost had been. He made a crane construct that caught the quiver before hoisting him back to the roof.

Each of his constructs struck home with one of the devices hidden inside of it, and he used his ring to keep track of the ones that didn’t have one.

Firestorm took off, and Hal took his place as major aerial support. Atom flew next to him taking a quick respite. He kept his ear open to see if they would need his help. Hal saw a group of Dominators charging Diggle and he sent a train construct barrelling towards them at the same time Oliver unleashed a volley of arrows towards them.

Hal switched the construct into a shield once he saw one of the arrows fly over the now fallen Dominator and straight at Heat Wave. He tried to not feel weird about saving a criminal from injury.

“Okay, we got the ones in Central but what about the rest of the country?” Felicity’s voice interrupted, “this looks like a job for Superman!”

Barry made an offended sound and "yelled" at Felicity, who corrected herself. The two heroes took off and Hal began picking off some of the stragglers with unformed blasts.

“Tell me when I can bring the pain,” Felicity’s voice cut in a minute later.

A couple of more minutes passed, “still waiting.”

Hal looked around, there were only about fifteen Dominators still standing, and the non-metas were looking fatigued. He nodded at Oliver who put his hand to his head.

“Do it!”

The reaction was almost instantaneous, the ones still fighting crumpled to the ground with horrifying screams. Hal touched down next to Oliver and watched the Dominators start to run. Now they just had to worry about the meta bomb.

Which judging by the panicked encouragement isn’t going too well.

“You guys need me?” He asked.

“Not unless you can stop this bomb!”

“I could stop the momentum temporarily,” Hal suggested, “buy you some more time.”

“Get ready to!” White Canary yelled.

Hal took off towards the sky and didn’t need to get far before the meta bomb came into sight. He flexed his fingers and loosened his shoulders. The meta bomb shimmered and then tons of water came crashing down and crashed into him. He was about to crash into the ground when Hal was finally able to form a construct around him.

The ground beneath him cracked, and the street flooded temporarily. Most importantly the shield held. He spat water out and ran a hand down his face. Once he could breathe without water in his lungs he tuned back into the comm channel.

“It's not just them it's the whole world,” Felicity breathed.

Several people let out strained laughs.

Oliver’s voice cut through them, “GL are you okay?”

“Soaked and my head is buzzing, but otherwise unharmed,” he replied, “tell a dude next time you’re going to drop a lake on him.”

“Sorry,” Firestorm responded.

Hal shot back up the roof.

“He did it,” Oliver said.

Barry stepped forward, “we all did.”

Hal touched back to the ground, and the other heroes looked at him. Barry hid a laugh behind his hands. Oliver clapped him on the back.

“Our worst causality is GL’s pride,” he heard Cisco snicker over the comms.

“Don’t tell me everyone saw that,” He looked around helplessly.

Everyone avoided his gaze which told him all he needed to know. He groaned and flopped to the ground dramatically. They laughed at him.


Hal shifted uncomfortably on stage. He was standing next to Barry who was directly next to the President. Which meant they were almost directly center stage. On the other side was Superman and he looked annoyingly at home getting honored by the president. His only consolation was that Oliver and Diggle weren’t enjoying this. He could see how tight the archer’s jaw was and he knew that Diggle didn’t like all of the attention. Diana and Arthur seemed to be taking the attention in stride.

It was hard to pay attention to the president’s speech, he was too busy hoping that no one would recognize his face under the mask. Other’s at least full coverage on their face, except for Diana and Superman, but those two could handle anything so their identity protection wasn’t important, that or they were actually nobodies.

Also, Diana lived on a remote island full of females, so there was that.

They had to stay and talk with several of the leaders but about an hour later everyone trickled out leaving the heroes alone. Hal claimed a spot by the wall, too exhausted to do anymore mingling, he was honestly surprised that he hadn’t crashed yet. Oliver wandered over to him.

For several minutes they stood in silence. Hal was nursing one of the flutes of champagne, he watched as Barry laughed with Superman. Mysteriously Batman had vanished.

“Thank you, for today,” Oliver said suddenly.

Hal raised an eyebrow at him.

“You save my team’s lives, my life twice,” he shrugged, “thank you for that.”

“No problem, it's what we heroes do,” he fought down the grin.

“I also owe you an apology.”

That time Hal’s jaw dropped, but he closed it quickly. He knew that this was a big thing for Oliver.

“I thought that you were an immature reckless person that was going to come back and hurt Barry, and I’m also sorry for thinking that you didn’t have what it took to be a hero,” Oliver wasn’t looking at him.

“Honestly, I didn’t think that I had it in me to be a hero and I won’t argue that I’m reckless and immature, but I didn’t come back to hurt Barry. I would never do something like that intentionally,” Hal replied.

His gaze was drawn back to Barry whose face was split into a large grin at a story Arthur was telling. He pushed himself from the wall.

“We should probably go and join them,” Hal gestured towards the group.

Oliver nodded and followed after him. They rejoined the group quietly and Hal wrapped an arm around Barry, mostly for support but partly for the comfort of having the speedster near him.

“So I was thinking,” Superman began.

Hal tilted his head towards the other hero. Curious to what he had to say.

“What if we formed a league of heroes? We saw what we could do together, and Green Arrow, Flash, and Green Lantern have proven that you can work together without stepping on each other's toes.”

Barry nodded, “and there might be more threats like this, maybe not an invasion but something more than just a few heroes can handle.”

It sounded absurd, earlier this week they were complete strangers to each other and now they were talking about forming some kind of hero club? Hal frowned but quickly made his face neutral. He looked to Oliver to see what he was thinking.

“So we’d be some kind of Justice League?” Oliver scoffed.

“Exactly!” Superman missed the sarcasm.

“I say we vote,” Arthur shrugged.

“All in favor,” Superman stuck his hand out.

Hal had the image of them all putting their hands into the circle and breaking like a high school sports team, saying something like “go heroes!” He hid his snickers in Barry’s neck who elbowed him, before placing his hand on top of Superman’s.

Aquaman was next to put in his hand, followed by Diana. Oliver and Hal shared a look before he slowly put his hand in.

“I don’t speak for my team,” he said.

“Same for me, if they want to come on as tech support that’s their choice,” Barry nodded.

After that brief exchange, Hal put his hand in. It wouldn’t be bad to have more hero allies, especially if he went off the planet and something big went down... or one of his enemies decided to visit.

“What about the Bat?” He asked.

“I’ll reach out to him,” Superman volunteered.

Hal raised an eyebrow, wondering if he missed a bonding moment between the two heroes. That would be a very bizarre friendship, they were on the opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Then again so were Oliver and Barry. He shrugged, whatever worked for them.

“So that’s it, we’re a team?” Aquaman asked.

“We can work out the details later, but yes we are,” Superman replied.

Barry looked at him and grinned. Hal was left breathless by the smile. This was all that Barry ever wanted, to be able to help people, and now there was a whole group dedicated to it that he was a part of. He was only barely able to hold himself back from kissing his partner.

When they got home that would be a completely different story.

Chapter Text

The weeks following the Invasion had been surprisingly calm. Hal was starting to get bored just alternating between Joe’s house, Jitters, and the lab. Barry had his work, even if Julian was an unbearable prick and the tech’s at the lab were more skittish and dodgy than they usually were. He’d even gone to the aviation museum in Central because he was so bored and it was free.

Which is what spawned this idea in the first place. Staring at the models of places had caused his skin to itch in the way it did when he was just forced to fly simulations. It’d been too long since he sat in the pilot’s seat and flown.

Flying as a Lantern was great, freeing in a way that a plane couldn’t be. However he decided there was nothing better than opening the throttle of a jet and tearing open the sky pushing it to see what it could do.

When he got home that day he made sure that there was no one else in the house before he dialed up Ferris Air. The secretary didn’t sound like the one he had known. It also took forever to even get a person to talk to with the automated call directory.

“Ferris Air, how may I direct your call?”

“I need to set up a meeting with Carol Ferris,” he said.

There was silence before the secretary replied clearly exhausted, “May I ask a name?”

“Jim Jordan,” Hal replied easily, he’d apologize later but there was no way anyone would believe him if he called the company up and said his actual name.

“Oh, Mr. Jordan! Certainly! Can I ask the purpose of your meeting?”

Hal made a face before shrugging, “I need her to look over a couple of documents, insurance just sent them, about Hal.”

“Of course,” Hal could hear her tapping, “there’s a fifteen minute opening tomorrow, would that work?”

“Sounds fine.”

“Okay, I’ve booked you for 8:15 to 8:30 tomorrow morning! Can I help you with anything else?”

“No, thank you!” Hal grinned, “again thank you for your time.”

He ended the call still smiling before he realized what he was going to have to deal with tomorrow. Carol was likely going to be furious, she had every right to be, and she was going to demand answers from him. The simplest way to handle this would be just to tell her the truth, it might make her more understanding. Though that would mean that he ran the risk of revealing Barry’s identity. With the other heroes he didn’t actually know who they were, and he didn’t help Oliver out enough for it to warrant any questioning.

Despite him wanting it to be a surprise to come back and say that he had a job, he needed to know if he had Barry’s permission to give out his secret identity. It was Carol and Hal trusted her with his life (and he knew he wasn’t thinking that lightly, every test flight he’s flown had to go through Carol to get approved he trusted that she wouldn’t risk him for the investors).

“Hey Hal, what’s up?” Barry picked up on the third ring as usual.

“Nothing, listen, are you away from prying ears?” He shifted nervously.

Barry’s voice grew worried, “yeah, Julian just stepped out to deliver a report. What’s wrong?”

Hal decided that he would work his way around to that question, “you remember Carol, right?”

“Your former boss slash high school sweetheart slash best friend from childhood?”

“That’s the one,” Hal picked at the label of his water.

“What about her? Is she in trouble? I can-”

Hal chuckled, “nothing like that. I have a meeting with her tomorrow and I was going to try to get my job back or at least a job from her.”

Barry made a noise of confusion, “wait you’re going back to work?”

“I’m going to try too, hopefully at some point our lives will slow down enough that we can have normal working hours and so that I can actually support you in part.”

“How long have you been thinking about this? Wait, Carol knows you’re alive?”

The worst part about having a speedster for a partner was that he tended to think faster than Hal could even begin to string a sentence together. Barry probably had gone through every past interaction they had in order to see if he missed something.

“I’ve been tossing the idea around for awhile, really since the invasion. But no, Carol doesn’t know I’m alive, which leads me to the purpose of this call.”

“She doesn’t know you’re alive? When she looks at her itinerary she’s going to see Hal Jordan and think its a joke!”

“Barry, I used Jim’s name. She won’t know it's me until I walk into that office. Which is hazardous for my health I know. So I figured that it would be better if I’m just honest about everything I can be.”

“You’re going to tell her?” Barry sounded surprised.

“I trust her. She won’t do anything with the information, and she’s really too high profile for most villains to go after,” Hal licked his lips. “But here’s my question to you, do you care if she knows your secret? I won’t tell her unless I have to, but if you don’t feel comfortable-”

“Hal, it's okay. You can tell her. I trust you and you trust her, so that’s good enough for me,” Barry paused. “I know how important flying is to you. Also, I’m really happy that you’re trying to reintegrate with society again.”

“Was I ever a functional part of it?” Hal laughed.

“I never used the word functional- ah, Julian is back got to go.”

“Later.”

“Bye.”


Hal had gotten up early to shower and make himself presentable for Carol. He was going to fly right from Central to Coast and thanks to the invasion he knew that he could make the trips easily. Thankfully he had enough common sense to purchase a couple of nicer outfits.

He selected a dark green button up and gray slacks. Barry was muttering sleepily from the bed that he should wear a tie.

“I’ll strangle myself, or it’ll give Carol something to strangle me with.” He laughed softly.

Barry stretched and the sheet fell down revealing part of his back and Hal was temporarily distracted by a line of freckles dotted around the lightning bolt scar.

“But I like you in a tie,” Barry was grinning, “especially since it means I can yank you down in a kiss.”

Hal decided to wear a black silk tie that Barry had. He fumbled with it for several seconds before he finally got the knot straight and it was actually the right length. There was nothing else that he needed to do so he walked back over to the bed to say a quick goodbye to Barry. Who kept his promise about using the tie to yank Hal down into a kiss.

Totally worth it if Carol murders him with the accessory.

“Okay, I have to go,” he whispered against Barry’s lips.

“Mmm,” he hummed, “if you survive Carol and somehow manage to get home before me, don’t get undressed we’ll go somewhere nice to eat.”

Hal’s lips quirked, “are you bribing me with food to make me forget how not upset you sound about my imminent death?”

“Maybe,” Barry said but it was muffled by the pillow.

“I’m wounded, really,” he said dryly.

Barry tossed one of the pillows at him, but it missed him and thudded against the door. Hal picked it up and tossed it back on the bed, and it landed on top of the sleeping speedster. Hal sent one more fond smile towards his partner before he crept out of the house, only stopping to put on a pair of black dress shoes.

He walked until he was out sight of most of the houses and powered up his ring. After a couple more seconds of waiting he shot up into the air. It was nice flying in the morning, the air was cool and still a little damp from the morning dew. There was also very little light in his eyes at this time.

Coast City was a serene as it always in the morning, he could see groups of people heading towards the beach and the first flights of the morning touching down on the airstrip. Hal was thankful that Barry had reminded him of the time difference, otherwise he would’ve gotten in way too early and probably wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from sneaking into the hangars to see the planes.

As it happened, he touched down at 7:52 and by the time he managed to work his way to the lobby of the main building it was pushing eight. So maybe he had milked the clock a little too much this morning. The receptionist looked up at him bleary eyed.

“May I help you?” She asked.

“Jim Jordan, I have an appointment with Carol Ferris at 8:15,” he smiled.

The receptionist blinked, “right. Uh, sign in please?”

He made sure that he signed Jim’s name in a flourish like he remembered his brother used to do. Hal shot another grin at the girl before she returned to worshipping her coffee mug. Since it was so early he gave her a break and decided that he would navigate his own way to Carol’s office. He’d been gone for awhile but he was sure that it hadn’t moved that much.

As he thought Carol’s office was still in the furthest corner of the top floor, she like being able to watch the usual coming and goings of planes she had told Hal one night. He couldn’t blame her, when her Dad still owned the company she had been with the pilots every day. Once you leave that, you tend to miss it.

Carol’s own secretary squinted at him when he arrived. Hal recognized this one, apparently she had been out yesterday. He vaguely remembered that she was called Betty, and she had her graying brown hair pulled into a fancy but casual up do.

“Jim?”

Hal winced, he was sure his game was up, “uh, yeah.”

“It’s 8:10,” her voice was scathing, “you know you should be here thirty minutes early.”

“Car trouble?” Hal shrugged.

Betty didn’t look impressed, “you’re acting more like Hal did, she’s ready for you, go on in.”

He smiled as he went by and that’s when he saw the light bulb go on. It must’ve been the bomber jacket that finally made her realize who she was talking to. As he closed the door he could see she was leaning over her desk to get a better look at him.

Carol’s head was down when he entered, she had a pen twirling absent-mindedly in one hand while the other thumbed the edge of the packet. Hal could see some differences right away, her hair was shorter curling softly around her shoulders instead of the middle of her back and her bangs were pinned to the side. She only looked up when the door clicked behind him.

She had her mouth open to say something, but lost the words when their eyes met. Hal could count on one hand the number of times that he had rendered Ms. Caroline Ferris speechless and they usually never ended well for him.

“I swear if you’re one of those metas that’s mocking me I will ruin you,” her voice was low and her violet eyes shimmered dangerously.

“So I get a free pass if I’m the real deal?” Hal grinned.

It took several seconds for Carol to fully understand what he was saying. The crease in her forehead smoothed out as her eyebrows raised in shock. Hal had forgotten what it was like dealing with people that expressed themselves with their face at normal speed.

“Hal,” she breathed. “You’re Hal Jordan?”

He softened his smile, “who else would be this irresponsible?”

Carol stood up and then bolted across the room to wrap her arms around him. She had to go on her toes and after a couple of seconds Hal was supporting the both of them as she tightened her grip around his back and neck. It was bordering on uncomfortable but Hal was hugging back just as hard.

Minutes later Carol finally dropped back down to the ground, she kept her hands on his arms though, as if he was going to disappear. Her eyes scanned his face.

“How’re you-What happened? It’s been years.”

Hal shifted uncomfortably, “it’s a long story.”

“Meetings run late all of the time,” she said, “today was a light day any way.”

“You haven’t changed at all,” he knew his grin was sappy but Carol was his best friend (so was Barry, but this was Carol) .

“Sit,” she gestured towards the leather couch in her office.

Hal was reminded of one night after a particularly bad business dinner shortly after Carol took over. He shook his head to clear his head, that was a ship that had long since sailed. Even before his space sabbatical. Still he sat down and Carol followed him, and once they were comfortable Hal noticed that their knees were touching.

“So, you were gone for three years?” Carol was still looking at him like he was a ghost.

“I surprisingly have a good explanation for that,” he thumbed his ring.

“Yeah? You’re offering it without me having to pry?” Her smile grew coy, “are you sure you’re Highball? Pulling teeth from a three year old was easier than getting him to explain why he was an hour late. Much less freely offering what happened after he disappeared from a flight midair years ago.”

“People change,” he murmured.

“I saw the start of it when you started going steady with Barry- does he know?”

“He does, we’re together.”

Carol smiled, “I’m happy, he was good for you.”

“Thanks.”

They fell into a silence. Carol didn’t seem like she was going to push yet and Hal wanted to study the slight changes in his friend for a few minutes.

“So, I was technically abducted by aliens,” Hal blurted.

Carol raised an eyebrow and her lips quirked in a way that told him that he was about to be yelled at.

“No really! It was just proven last week that we aren’t alone,” Hal held up his hands.

“Hal,” there was a warning hidden in that tone.

Instead of explaining Hal stood up and summoned his uniform. Carol’s jaw dropped again, before she stood up and started poking at it. Hal released his mask and gave her a sheepish smile.

“Told you.”

“You’re Green Lantern...” she sighed, “I honestly thought it was you when we got the first pictures of GL’s-your face. Your mask doesn’t protect much.”

He had wondered about that, but before he could finish Carol pressed her advantage.

“You’ve been based in Central City for what a year and a half? You didn’t think to call? Does your mom know? Your brothers? What about the other part of the time you’ve been missing? You told Barry though? And he knows that you’re the Green Lantern?”

Hal winced before starting to slowly answer the rapid fire questions, “Give or take a few months for off world missions. I wanted to call, but things got really weird and you deserved so much better than me running off to that city at a drop of a hat. The other part of the time I was in space, I’m a space cop for a lack of better term. Yes I told Barry, and he knows.”

“How did Barry take you galavanting around as a hero with the Flash?”

Something must’ve shown on his face because Carol was looking at him with her eyes narrowed suspiciously, “Hal?”

“He took it well.”

“Barry took you fighting extremely dangerous metas well? He could barely watch you fly!” Carol crossed her arms.

Hal sighed, he had tried to avoid this, “Barry is the Flash.”

“Of course he is.”

Carol tilted her head towards him. “So you’re here, alive, and mostly the same person. I have to ask, as a boss, what have you been doing for employment?”

“Nothing, my time on Earth was tenuous and a lot of crazy things happened in Central, but I think it’s slowed down for the time being, which is why I came back. Is there anyway I can come back and fly for Ferris?”

Carol’s lip quirked up and Hal was familiar enough to know it was the same expression she wore when she managed to get one of the rich guys to dump money into the company, “that can be arranged. After we do a medical exam and renew your pilot’s license, I trust you can still fly a plane?”

“How could I forget? I was born to fly,” Hal smirked.

“Perfect. Wayne Enterprise finally agreed to give us testing rights over the Javelins and I can think of no one better to prove to them that we can handle those birds.”

Hal didn’t make a victory pose but he was very close to doing that. Take that Batman! Carol was giving him a very odd look. He calmed down and tried to look dignified.

“So are you free? We can start the medical process early.”

“Until this evening, won’t that be a problem. Me being dead? And a media storm?” Hal tilted his head.

“Military or Witness Protection,” Carol shrugged, “we can do it quietly, likely no one will notice.”

“My birth certificate?”

That time Carol halted, she frowned, “well. We’ll figure it out. We can probably prove that you’re alive. Time for that later! I’ll have a plan by the end of the week.”

Hal watched as she stood up and walked to her phone. That was something he always admired about Carol, the way that she would take things in stride and bounce back from everything. Even after her father had died she had come back two weeks later and raised investor interest. He thought it had something to do with him taking the big experimental flights. After all no one flew them better and no one ran a company like Carol.

Not even Wayne, because even he had caved to her. Hal smiled at her, and she looked back at him and smiled. It was so great to see her again, he hadn’t realized how much he missed her.

She paused at put her hand to the receiver, “oh and Jordan? Don’t even think about leaving yet. We have a lot to talk about.”

The way she said that Hal felt shivers up his spine. Uh-oh. Definitely not off of the hook.

Chapter Text

Barry stretched his arm over the couch before he wrapped it around Hal and pulled him close. They hadn’t had time in recent days to actually pause and enjoy each other’s company, with the future hanging over their heads and Hal’s job(s) keeping him away. So they had to schedule date nights, at least until things got settled. Usually, they went out but Hal had been acting distant. Barry knew him well enough by now to know that there was something bothering him and that he wanted to discuss but hadn’t figured out how to start the conversation.

He didn’t press, he wouldn’t until it started negatively affecting Hal. Tonight was all about staying connected to each other, Lord of the Rings played on TV and the smell of popcorn filled the house. It wasn’t a glamorous date, but Barry figured that they were past having to go all out for dates anyway.

Hal pressed himself into Barry’s side and took a deep breath. The speedster turned his attention fully to his partner now, knowing that they were about to have a serious conversation.

“My mom called.”

Barry turned his head towards Hal, surprised by the statement. Last that he knew, the Jordans weren’t talking to Hal and Hal was respecting that. He had been trying to urge a reunion only because he didn’t want Hal to lose his family. They had all suffered enough with the loss of Hal’s father.

“And?”

Hal played with his ring, “it was nothing. She called and asked how I was doing, if I had gotten a job, and if I was seeing anyone. You know, basic conversation.”

He sensed that something else was at work here, the conversation didn’t sound bad. A few minutes later and Hal gave him that answer.

“She wanted to have a family dinner, she wanted me to bring the person I’m seeing.”

Barry froze, he had never met the Jordans. He realized now that he probably should’ve been concerned with that fact, but as far as he knewHal had problems with his brother and his mom tried to minimize their time together to keep their family from fighting.

“What did you say?”

Hal turned towards him and his brown eyes were unsure, “I told her that I would come and that I would ask him if he wanted to go.”

“Hal-”

“She caught the pronoun, I hadn’t ever told them my preferences. It wasn't like I was hiding them, and I never had a same-sex partner that warranted meeting the family. She got awkward about it but didn’t take back the invitation. So before you answer think about if you want to deal with however they react.”

Barry winced, he wasn’t sure how Hal’s brothers would react. He had never had to worry that Joe and Iris and his dad didn't love him unconditionally, but he couldn’t imagine the stress that Hal would be facing. His childhood was one thing that Hal didn’t talk about really, beyond the fact his brothers and he didn’t get along and what happened to his father.

Before he answered he grabbed Hal’s hand and squeezed tight, “I’ll go. We’re in this together.”

Hal’s face lit up and some of the worries dropped away from his face, “okay. Yeah, together. Dinner is on Sunday, seven their time.”

Barry was grateful that they both had the ability to travel across the country relatively quickly. He wasn’t sure that Hal would keep that type of thing in mind even if they couldn’t. It was nice that Hal could work at his dream job and come back to him at night and it was also a relief that they could come back to Central if this night ended up going south.

He didn’t think it would, but he didn’t have enough information to be confident about it.


The situation with Plunder nearly caused the dinner to be canceled, but Hal had talked him out of his funk and into going, because either way Hal wanted to reconnect with his family and he was not canceling the first dinner.

Barry knew he only said that because he was sure that he could put the future situation off to the side for the time being. That he needed to, but it was a close thing. He knew that if he didn’t get faster Savitar was going to kill Iris, he had seen that much, but he couldn’t help but wonder if that was the complete future that would happen. Killer Frost would go on the loose and he thought the next thing to scroll across the banner started with Gre.

“Barry! We’re going to be late!” Hal called from downstairs.

He shook his head, this was a night for Hal. Once they got through this he could go back to trying to save Iris. Barry squared his shoulders and slung his backpack over his shoulder. He would run to Coast City before changing into the appropriate dinner attire. Hal had it lucky with his suit forming over his clothes.

At the bottom of the stairs, he could see Hal leaning against the wall waiting for him. He was wearing khaki colored dress pants with a black dress shirt and a green tie. Barry kept making fun of Hal’s slow acquisition of green colored clothing items, but at times like this Barry couldn’t bring himself to tease. Hal looked damn good in green.

“There you are,” Hal grinned, “let’s go.”

After a quick farewell to Joe, Iris was working late, they headed out of the house. Barry took off towards Coast while Hal snuck around to get to a place that no one would see him turn into the Green Lantern. The run was boring, traveling across the mostly flat land between Missouri and the mountain range.

He stopped in the middle of downtown and quickly switched clothes in a nearby convenience store bathroom. Barry chose, or rather Iris recommended, a maroon button up with light gray slacks and a silver bowtie. The bowtie was mostly because Hal made fun of it and he was now wearing out of spite.

Several minutes later Hal appeared behind him, his hair was wind blow, but it looked deliberate which was good because they did not have time to try and figure out how to fix the bird’s nest that was Hal’s hair.

“Fancy meeting you here,” Hal joked, but he was playing with the ring again.

“Come here often?” Barry shot back.

Hal gave him a half grin and hailed a taxi. Their story was that they were arriving by train and taking the last one out, which is why they didn’t bring anything, rather Barry was taking the last one out, Hal had to do something at the main office at Ferris Air. He thought it would be easier to just come clean with everything thing, but Hal didn’t want his family to know yet. ‘I need them to not think that I’m just going to use being a superhero to blow things off’. Despite it not being the case now, Barry had no doubt that Hal four or five years ago would’ve done just that.

Hal’s childhood home was in a suburb several miles outside of the city. Barry wasn’t entirely sure what he thought Hal’s childhood home would be like, probably something small and comfortable for a woman raising three boys on a single salary. Whatever he thought it was, it wasn’t anywhere close to what the truth was.

The Jordans lived in a gated community, with very large houses and built in pools. Barry’s jaw dropped, and Hal looked away uncomfortable. He slid down in the seat to hide before the taxi driver told them that he couldn’t actually go inside of the gates.
Hal slunk out of the car and over to Barry’s door and opened it.

“Hal?”

“I’ll explain in a second, we have to confirm our identities.”

The guard was an old pudgy man who had probably been working the gates since they were built. Barry guessed that there hadn't been crime in the community for years.

The guard looked up in surprise at Hal’s license, which happened to be his pilot’s badge from Ferris because he still hasn’t been confirmed to be alive.

“Hal? Where in the devil have you been? Everyone’s been sayin’ you’re dead, even the papers,” the guard looked surprised.

“You know how the military can be,” Hal lied easily.

Barry wondered if that’s the story they were going to go with. He pulled out his own ID and showed the guard.

“See ya, Pete,” Hal waved, “say hi to Shannon for me!”

“I most certainly won’t!” The guard yelled.

“I dated her in high school for a couple of months, it was a mutual breakup but Pete doesn’t seem to think so.”

“Ah,” Barry nodded. He never realized that he knew so little of Hal’s previous relationships, “so this is a nice neighborhood.”

“I suppose so,” Hal responded but pushed his hands into his bomber jacket.

“How did your mom afford a place like this?” Barry couldn’t help but ask.

Hal looked irritated for a second before it faded away, “she’s on the board of Ferris Air, that’s how she and Dad met when she was working her way up. What she couldn’t afford from her salary, Dad’s life insurance took care of, and then Mr. Ferris helped out and paid whatever was left on the mortgage.”

“Oh, Ferris Air is kind of in your blood,” Barry laughed.

“I suppose so. What did you think my childhood was like?” Hal didn’t sound accusing.

“I don’t know, I mean you were raised by a single mother, so I thought that it would be that you grew up living paycheck to paycheck, while your mom worked two jobs.”

Hal barked out a laugh, “how stereotypical can you get? I guess I didn’t give you much else to work with.”

“No, so then these family dinners?”

“Mostly to look good to the neighbors, ‘oh my boys came back around for Sunday dinner’, type thing. She enjoys them though,” Hal shrugged.

It was strange to think of Hal growing up in a rich family. The image didn’t fit with him, but Barry supposed it was because he had spent so much time with Hal bumming off of his couch. Now that he had a salary again, maybe they could think of getting their own apartment. He shook his head, one emotional crisis at a time.

Several curtains closed suddenly and Hal sighed, “and the gossip wheel has begun.”

“Really?”

“Nothing happens here so when something does happen they know immediately. I swear they need to be our early warning system.”

Barry laughed, if Hal was making jokes that meant that the nerves were dying down. They fell silent and worked their way through the neighborhood. Every yard was well kept and the streets were pristine. He would never say that his neighborhood was bad, but it was easy to see the difference. In Central City, these houses would probably be worth a million dollars, but they kept heading into the older part of the neighborhood and Barry saw how much more impressive the houses were getting. They looked like they should belong to movie stars.

He was struck by the thought of Hal living in a house like Queen Manor and chuckled.

“What?” Hal asked.

“Sorry, I was thinking of Jordan Manor.”

Hal snorted, “we aren’t that rich, not even close to breaking a billion, besides our house is way smaller but more modern. It's worth less.”

“Wow, you really were a rich kid.”

“A rich kid that went to public school his entire life. You don’t flaunt how much money your family has,” Hal replied.

Barry could name at least three kids that always bragged about their parents' bank accounts and how they could afford the nicest and newest things. He knew that Joe couldn’t afford to buy new clothes for them every school year and it had made him a little jealous, and so he thought all rich kids were like that. Not Hal, but then again Hal wasn’t like everyone else.

They finally got to the Jordan household. It was more modern than he thought it would be, it was boxy with one wall made entirely of winds windows that was hanging over a large garage.

“Wow.”

“I thought it was nicer before the renovations,” Hal shrugged.

They walked up to the door, and the path was lit up by tiny running lights. Hal grinned at them with an odd smile, “when I was younger, my dad and I used to play on the path during the summer, we called them our running lights and we’d run down them and at the end of the path we’d jump. We were planes taking off.”

Barry tried to think of Hal being a child and playing with that game and thought it was adorable. He couldn’t have been that old, his father died when he was around nine.

“He’d always win, but then he’d tell me that I was getting better every time,” Hal smiled.

Barry thought that Hal’s father sounded like an incredible dad. He had Joe probably would’ve gotten along like a house of on fire. The relaxed set to Hal’s shoulders faded as he moved to knock on the door.

After a couple of seconds of hesitation, Hal finally knocked. It only took a short time for the door to open. Barry assumed the lady was Hal’s mother. She had auburn hair that was pulled into a low ponytail with streaks of gray running through it. Her face was still youthful with signs of wrinkles. Jessica Jordan was a very beautiful woman, and Barry could see several of Hal’s features on her face. More than he thought there would be.

“Hal!” She smiled and pulled Hal into a hug.

Barry realized that she was tall, the bottom of her head was just below Hal’s nose. No wonder Hal broke six feet, height was in his genes. Jessica pulled away from her son and ran her eyes over him, apparently she deemed his clothing appropriate and then her attention was on Barry.

“Ah, you must be Barry Allen,” she held out a hand, “Jessica Jordan, but please call me Jessica or Jess.”

“Hello,” he took the hand and noticed that her grip was firm.

“When Hal told me that he was seeing someone, I was surprised to find out it wasn’t Carol,” she admitted, “welcome to our home.”

Hal shot him a look. Obviously, he had thought the worse of his mother’s surprise and hadn’t considered it was just the who Hal was dating and not the what. They followed her inside of the house, which matched the modern exterior. The walls were white with splashes of color from art works lining the hall.

Barry could just make out conversation coming from the other rooms. Jessica lead them through the house with practiced ease, chatting with Hal about the changes.

“I recently got into contemporary art, the impressionism just wasn’t giving the house the right aura, too much going on.”

Hal looked at the paintings pointed out like he understood what was being said. Barry had to hide his laughter, because he was wearing the same expression he did when Cisco tried to explain science. The hall was long, but it finally branched off into an open floorplan between the living room and dining room. Further away he could see the kitchen and smell the food. His stomach growled.

The conversation stopped when they entered the room. There were more people present than he thought there would be. Two men were sitting in the arm chairs while a woman, who was pregnant, laid across the couch. Another woman was sitting on the arm of one of the chairs.

Barry swallowed, before squaring his shoulders and nodding to Hal that he was okay with this. Hal grinned and grabbed his hand before leading him into the room. The two men Barry assumed were Hal’s brothers, none of them looked identical but he could tell that they were siblings.

One stood up from the chair, the woman sitting on the arm stood up as well, and stretched out a hand, “Jim Jordan, a pleasure to meet you.”
Barry grabbed the hand, “Barry Allen, the pleasure is mine.”

Jim is the youngest, he’s the one that Hal likes. Barry thought and he turned his attention to the woman.

“Sue Williams, reporter for Coast City News, I’m Jim’s girlfriend,” she smiled. Her hair was styled in a blond pixie cut, and she had a mischievous glint in her eyes, “you wouldn’t happen to know how to get in touch with the Green Lantern would you?”

Barry stuttered, “what? How would I-?”

Sue laughed, “I’m just kidding, I only know he hangs out in Central City, although I think it’s Jim just going there because he’s trying to throw me off the trail.”

Hal looked like he was having trouble breathing because he was trying to hold in his laughs. Barry sneakily elbowed him which only caused him to laugh harder. Thankfully no one commented on Hal’s behavior though the two women looked a little confused.

The second woman reached up a hand, “I’m Andrea Day-Jordan, I’m glad I finally get to meet you. I was dating Jack around the time you and Hal first got together. I will admit that I wasn’t expecting someone so cute.”

Barry blushed, he didn’t think that anyone related to Hal knew about him, but Hal made a shrug and it was enough that Barry knew to ask him about it later. The last person in the room finally got up from the chair. Introductions were unnecessary he knew that this man was Jack Jordan.

“I’m Jack, great to meet you!” He smiled, but it was obviously fake, “I always wondered what kind of person would’ve tied my baby brother down, just didn’t think it would be someone like you.”

Barry was able to ignore the obvious insult about him. Hal stepped in front of him, and the set to his shoulders was one that he always wore when he was about to get in a fight. Obviously, Jim and Jack knew that sign as well.
Jessica was quick to reenter the room, “dinner is almost ready, come find your places at the table.”

Jack let the argument drop to head over and help Andrea off of the couch. Jim walked up behind him and clapped him on his shoulder.

“Don’t worry too much about Jack, he’s got a lot of bark and no bite. Hal will get him to back down.”

Barry nodded, but he wasn’t sure that was a good thing. Instead of saying anything he settled on studying Jim. The youngest Jordan was attractive, he had short blond hair styled to have a slight fin in the front his eyes were brown but they were a darker shade than Hal’s. He was also the shortest of the brothers.

He walked with Jim into the dining room. Hal and Jack had casually chosen the seats furthest away from each other. He took the open seat next to Hal and ended up sitting next to Andrea who sat across from Jack. Next to Jack sat Sue and finally Jim was across from Hal. There were two seats left open at the ends of the table. Barry frowned when he noticed that both had plates in front of them.

While he wanted to ask about it, he kept his mouth shut. He didn’t know what would be the wrong thing to say, so he’d wait until the conversation got flowing before he jumped in. Jessica returned carrying a large serving dish filled with roasted chicken. It looked like it came straight out of a Food Network program. Barry was jealous that Hal got to eat this good his entire life.

The side dishes looked just as good as the main course and soon enough everyone was digging into the food, which tasted as good as it looked. Eventually, everyone was getting full and they began to talk. It wasn’t anything but casual conversation while Sue, Barry, and Jessica cleared the table.

Jessica smiled at him, “such a gentleman.”

“I didn’t want to impose, you were gracious enough to invite me into your home for dinner. It’s the least I can do,” he responded honestly.

“Oh my,” Jessica got this weird look in her eyes, “no wonder you were the one to get Hal to settle down.”

Barry tilted his head in confusion.

“I’m grateful for you, truly, before he met you he was heading down a very lonely road. Then he met you and he was suddenly a very different person, and he was talking about bringing you around for Christmas once your schedules worked out,” Jessica explained, “he’s so hung up over you, I’m glad you gave him a second chance after he disappeared like that.”

Barry couldn’t help but flush, “I- I’m pretty hung up over him as well.”
Jessica smiled, and Barry was suddenly grateful that Sue had rejoined the table, “Jordan men are like that. Once you love them you can’t stop.”

It was a simple admission, but Barry knew the truth of the statement. When Hal had disappeared he couldn’t imagine finding someone else to spend his life with. It got easier the longer Hal was gone, but it was never completely gone.

“Jordan men love early and they love forever, that’s why I was so surprised it wasn’t Carol Ferris at my table tonight. Please don’t think it was anything but.”

“No, of course not. Hal only told me that he hadn’t exactly... you know.”

“He still hasn’t,” Jessica laughed, “not with words.”

“Does he ever use words?” Barry teased.

Jessica laughed again, and it was high and squealing. It was annoying but he had heard that laugh enough times that he almost thought that it was Hal's. He could see it now, why Jessica never married again. It wasn’t because she couldn’t love anyone else, but that there was probably no one else that could love her more than Martian Jordan.

They rejoined the table, which had turned into an embarrassing story competition, which seemed to have focused on Jim for the time being, if his swatting at Hal was any indication.

“Hey, tell stories about Hal! He’s the one with the new boyfriend!” Jim yelled.

Hal laughed, and now having heard the original he could appreciate the lower decibel version, “Little bro, Barry already knows all of my embarrassing stories, I have no shame!”

“More like no dignity,” Jack responded.

That only caused Hal to laugh more. Barry tilted his head wondering if it the animosity was only surface level. He doubted that it was, but at least they could work past it. It was probably only something that came out between closed doors. Not that Hal told him about any of the fights that he’s had, but embarrassing stories, on the other hand, he was quite familiar with.

Finally, the night settled down into the more serious part, Jessica switched the mood with effortless grace.

“So Barry, how did you and Hal meet?”

How much do they know? Barry asked Hal by quirking his eyebrow.

Hal shrugged which he interpreted to a that you exist.

“Well, I was working on a paper when he sat down at my table, I’m pretty sure it was because he didn’t want to look lonely.”

Hal made a choked sound, “no, there were no seats open and I didn’t feel like I was standing. You were the one looking lonely. All on your laptop with an empty coffee mug.”

Barry ignored him, “so we talked for a couple of minutes and he asked me about pizza and then he asked me on a date and the rest is history.”

“You got your coffee shop romance!” Jim laughed.

Jack looked confused for a second before whatever was so funny finally entered his head and he started laughing. Hal was quick to join in when he realized what they were talking about. Barry looked between the three brothers before looking helplessly at Sue, who seemed willing to be his ally in this.

“I think it has something to do with the time they went to a fortune teller at the fair, apparently she was very accurate or vague enough that there was no way she could be wrong,” Sue shrugged, “I personally think she was one of these metas. With the ability to see the future.”

Barry raised an eyebrow in interest, “really? What makes you say that?”

“Well, for one she got all of their career paths right. Jack’s a lawyer working his way up to the top politically, Jim is in college studying to become a pediatrician, and Hal is a pilot.”

“That could’ve been subconscious influencing,” Barry counted for the sake of argument.

Sue nodded, “but then we get to the romance. Jack was supposed to meet the love of his life while he was running towards something. He had just missed his train and was trying to catch it when he ran straight into Andrea. Jim’s was that he would find it when he was struggling the most, I tutored him through organic-chemistry in college. Then with Hal, he was supposed to find his other half in a coffee shop in the city of lightning, well Central City has the Flash now.”

Barry digested the information. The wording was still vague, but until a couple of years ago, Central City was usually referred to being one of the twin cities, to have it associated with lightning would be a very large coincidence.

“Though no one has ever understood the whole ‘green warrior’ part of the prophecy. Hal jokingly named his plane that, but I don’t think that was it.”
That was too obvious. This woman was some kind of meta. They didn’t even know that there was such a thing as Green Lanterns, or that a human could become one. He’d have to tell Cisco about this. See what was going on, because they had thought that it was the accelerator that created the Metas.

The brothers had finally gotten their laughter under control and rejoined the conversation. Barry looked at Hal who grinned back, he wondered what that fortune teller had thought when she looked at young Hal after giving such a strange prophecy.

Andrea clapped her hands suddenly, “let’s get a group photo!”

Jessica quickly seconded the idea and they were being moved around into some semblance of a decent group. There was an old camera stand that was easy to get to and Jessica set the timer. Barry was pressed next to Hal, and his arm was bent uncomfortably against Hal’s. Hal fixed that by wrapping an arm around his shoulders giving Barry room to wrap his arm around Hal’s waist. It was a very telling position, but he couldn’t bring himself to regret it as the camera flash went off.

Jessica rushed over before anyone had a chance to move and declared the picture a success. Sue and Andrea moved to gush over it before asking that it be sent to them. Hal declined to be sent it, but Barry accepted the offer.

“Oh! I have to show you the family album! But it's so late, won’t you stay the night?” Jessica asked.

Hal shrugged, saying that it didn’t matter to him. Barry was more than curious and knew that he’d be able to make it back to Central before his shift started, “okay, I’ll switch my ticket.”

“Wonderful!” With that, Jessica whisked out of the room and down the hall.

“Well, I think that’s our cue to leave,” Jack said suddenly.

Andrea’s brow creased before she sighed, “my feet are getting rather swollen. I can’t wait for this baby to be born. Goodnight!”

“Goodnight!” the room chorused.

Only a couple of minutes later were Jim and Sue leaving as well.

“I have an early class I need to be in,” Jim gave Hal a quick hug.

“Why do you think I didn’t go to college!” Hal laughed.

Sue grabbed Barry’s hand, “tell me if you get in touch with those heroes of yours. I would like that exclusive.”

Barry laughed, “I’ll give them your card.”

She grinned before hugging Hal in goodbye. Jim switched over to him.

“It was nice to finally meet you, take care of him will you? He has a habit of doing dangerous things.”

“I know that fact very well, don’t worry I’m trying my best.”

Jim snorted and gave him a quick handshake. They both left just before

Jessica returned to the room. She didn’t seem surprised by their absence. “Those two, they never want to reminisce with their old mother.”

Hal settled on the couch next to her and left space for Barry to join them. Jessica had brought back a faded leather photo album, with Family engraved into the front. It was well worn on the spine, and he could tell that it was well loved.

“Well, at least we don’t have to go over their baby pictures!” Jessica laughed and opened to the first page.

It was entitled, in very familiar handwriting, Jordan Family Photo 2003. The picture contained five people, one was very obviously Jessica, whose hair had been vibrant red and hung loosely down to the center of her back, she was in the center sitting primly. Behind her with a hand on her shoulder was a man, he was tall and broad with dark blond hair or light brown hair. Barry assumed that this was Martian, and looking between him and Hal he could see very little resemblance. Evidently, Hal took after his mother, which was honestly unexpected. Standing to the right of Martin was who he assumed to be Jack, judging by the similarities to their father. To the left of Jessica was obviously Hal, he had the same crooked grin. Which meant that Jim was the blond sitting in front of Jessica.

Barry returned his attention to young Hal. He could see the features that Hal grew into, the ones that he inherited from his father such as his jawline and mouth shape but the shape of his nose and eyes were all his mother. Even the face shape was most like Jessica.

Jessica flipped through the pages, and Barry saw that they were entitled Jack Jordan with various dates in them, and then there were blank pages obviously meant to be filled in with photos as they were taken. The next group was Hal, which Jessica went through slower. He saw Hal as he grew up, from a pudgy toddler (which was going on the blackmail list) to a hyperactive child who always had band-aids and bruises.

“I swear, he was hurt every week, because he was doing something stupid,” Jessica laughed, “like how kept trying to climb that one tree that everyone was afraid to go up because it was dead and was probably going to break under the right amount of strain.”

Barry smiled softly, “he climbed it every chance he got, didn’t he?”

“Brave Boy, I used to call him that.”

He could see it, Hal probably had always possessed what he needed to become a Green Lantern, but his father’s death is what gave him the attitude that he needed to become one. The attitude that let him dare the world without a second thought. It’s just who Hal was, not held back by anything.

Unsurprisingly Hal was an attractive teenager, his freshman and sophomore year he was all height and limbs. It was funny to see him take homecoming pictures next to Carol, who held herself confidently even though she was dwarfed by Hal’s height. Although when it came to junior and senior year Hal had filled out, Carol and he had made a handsome couple.

Barry looked over to Hal, he liked this version better, the loose hair that wasn’t held in place by gel and then cut to the military’s minimum standard and how his face was more mature while still keeping youthful freckles.

He liked his version of Hal. Jessica kept flipping through the photo album, and Barry saw Hal at his high school graduation a Cum Laude scholar and then in his dress uniform for the first time. The most recent entry was a newspaper clipping containing Hal’s obituary. The room grew sullen suddenly.

That’s when Hal shifted and out of nowhere, he was holding an envelope. Barry knew well enough by now that he had used the storage space on his ring, but surely his mother would question it.

“Hal?” She asked.

“For my section of the book, here.” He looked away quickly.

Jessica looked at the envelope with worry before opening it and pulling out a stack of photographs. Barry leaned over to see if he could see any of them. He didn’t need to because Jessica set them on the table as she thumbed through them.

They were all pictures of them together. Barry had to stop himself from crying at the question that Hal was asking. Instead of forcing conversation Barry looked at the pictures. The first one was of him and Hal napping on Joe’s couch, rather he was napping and Hal was taking the picture. Then there was the picture of them holding hands at a fourth of July celebration (Iris had taken the photo just as one of the fireworks lit up the sky). The third photo was one of Barry’s favorites.

They were sitting in the park, Hal was behind him and Barry was pressed into his chest. He was looking and smiling at the camera, and it had been seconds after Hal had kissed him. There was this look that he had never seen on Hal frozen in this picture, the softest smile was playing on his lips and his eyes were drawn to Barry.

Jessica had stared at that one the longest. She looked at Hal and then to Barry and she got the biggest smile on her face.

“I think I’m going to head to bed, feel free to look through that some more. It was Hal’s gift to me at Christmas a few years ago.”

Hal ducked his head briefly as his mother passed him by trailing a hand across his back. She squeezed Barry’s shoulder before she left the room. He turned his attention to Hal who had flipped to the back of the book where there were older photographs of a much younger version of his parents and himself. Hal was on top of his father’s shoulders while planes soared over heard and his mother was pointing at them.

Slowly Hal shut the book and looked back at Barry, “thank you.”

Barry leaned back over Hal, “why are you thanking me?”

Hal said nothing and kissed him deeply.