The funeral home was quiet, as all funeral homes tended to be. Ollie had been to many wakes and funerals in his lifetime, starting with those of his parents.
An air of unreality had hung over everything in those awful days, Ollie on auto-pilot, speaking words he couldn’t remember and remembering things he couldn’t forget.
He carried the pain of those losses every day.
Ollie removed his hat but kept his raincoat on. Rain drummed on the roof, making the silence that much more as he stood in the foyer.
“May I help you, sir?”
The gray-haired man was like all undertakers: understated, impeccably-dressed, properly sympathetic.
“Is Mrs. Lance here yet?”
“Yes, in one of our side rooms.” The man escorted Ollie down the hall and left.
Ollie clutched his hat, his usual glibness deserting him.
Dinah Drake Lance was sitting on a rose-pink couch in a room filled with soothing pastels, the blinds half-drawn against the gloom, further darkening the room.
She was hunched over, hands twisting a handkerchief in her lap. Her dark hair was stylishly-upswept, her navy-blue, two-piece suit smartly-tailored, a light-blue pillbox hat and gloves on the endtable next to the couch. From somewhere a clock ticked.
Ollie quietly cleared his throat.
Dinah looked up, her eyes red-rimmed. She frowned slightly.
“Ollie Queen of Earth-One.”
“Oh.” Faint smile. “You’re a redhead now?”
“Just for today.”
Those who had doppelganger counterparts here on Earth-Two were coming in disguise. Ollie thought how lucky Barry and Hal were that their counterparts were the same heroes, the Flash and Green Lantern, but the secret identities were different.
“Have a seat, Ollie.”
Ollie sat down next to her on the couch.
“So, the mustache is fake?”
Ollie instinctively touched it. “Yeah. Though who knows? Maybe I’ll grow a real one in addition to a beard.”
“Very professorial, Mr. Queen.” Dinah dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief.
“I’ll have to get one of those tweed jackets with the elbow patches.”
Dinah laughed softly.
“Roy will be coming with the Batclan. He was visiting Dick when we heard.” Ollie smiled slightly. “One of them is going to be a blond, I think.”
“Well, maybe Roy can be the blond and Dick the redhead.”
The chitchat seemed to suit Dinah, who probably needed the distraction.
“I appreciate everyone coming over to pay their respects.”
“You’re one of us, Dinah.”
Ollie had always enjoyed Dinah’s company during the annual JLA/JSA meet-ups. When duty required battling common enemies together, he had always admired her martial arts skills.
Aside from her Canary Cry, she was like the rest of the Arrows and Bats, an incredibly skilled human without special powers trying to survive the craziness of their superhero lives.
There was no one quite like Black Canary on Earth-One.
They sat in silence again, listening to the rain and the ticking clock. Ollie twisted his hat around and around, hopeful that his presence could offer some comfort.
“I feel like I’m at a crossroads.”
Ollie looked at Dinah’s profile. “Not surprising,” he said quietly.
“Mmm.” She brushed back a stray lock of hair. “I…I loved Larry so much.” Her voice quivered for a moment. “I’m not sure how…how I can face…”
Ollie took her hand. She bent her head, tears trickling down her cheeks. He patted her back and wished he could say something comforting.
“He died…saving me…”
Ollie squeezed her hand, remembering the battle with Aquarius, the Canary’s cry one of anguish as her husband was cut down, and now this time of unreality, trying to cope.
Dinah cried quietly, her tears mingling with the sounds of the rain.
Heroes lost people everyday.
Ollie wished that he could help.