Chapter Two: Cerulean
Alan Scott couldn't sleep, no matter how hard he tried.
Molly lay next to him in blissful slumber. He watched her giggle...more of her wonderfully vivid dreams, he mused to himself.
He should have been dreaming as well. The day had gone exceptionally well. Donna Troy's newest campaign pitch was finally down-to-earth. No togas, no flights of fancy. A simple yet colorful presentation to showcase the Fall season. GBS was in a solid second place position in the ratings and the new ads should keep it there, if not spur some improvement.
Lunch at the Iceberg had been fun and relaxing. Eccentric old Cobblepot was showcasing his new afternoon 'performers'-a trio of polar bears dancing across the ice, surrounded by Vegas-style showgirls. Oswald certainly had a dramatic flair.
Molly assured him that the new kid would work out fine. Alan trusted her judgment and knew as well that Clark Kent would be the perfect host for the new show.
Something nagged at him nonetheless...
He knew Clark had been involved with the late Lex Luthor. Knew that Kent was a powerful metahuman who, for whatever reason, declined to use his gifts.
Alan wasn't worried that Clark was some villain. He'd examined his past-long ago, the kid had saved countless people from peril. He had single-handedly kept Lex Luthor on the straight and narrow and that was no small feat. He just wondered if he could handle the intense pressure of network television.
Alan felt a hand clasp his-
"Don't worry, honey, it'll be fine."
Alan winced. "I'd hoped not to wake you."
Molly rose a bit, smiling. "It's the perfect time for a cup of coffee, don't you think?"
"Of course I'm sure. Coffee and some reassurance, dear."
Alan and Molly went out onto the patio and looked out over the city. Gotham was a marvelous place by night, the polished gargoyles and steeples coming alive in the glow.
"Remember how it used to be? People were afraid to walk during the day." "Of course I remember."
"You changed all that, Alan. You made this city a place to be proud of."
"I wasn't alone in that. You helped. And Dinah and Ted. Selina. Barbara & Richard. So many others."
"All of us contributed. But you made it happen."
After the Wayne murders, Alan had tired of the endless back and forth with the criminal community. He, like many others, had thought the justice system was enough to manage the problems. But the horrifying crime rate, coupled with the inept and corrupt Dent administration, had pushed him to take action. As Green Lantern, he had purged the city of vice and misery through sheer willpower. Using one of the most powerful tools in the universe, his ring, and the magic of the Starheart, Alan had transformed Gotham into a center for jobs, peace, and prosperity.
He often wondered if he had done the right thing. He struggled frequently with his decision to simply make people change. But as he looked out onto the streets and saw couples walking safely, and clean parks, and safe, sleeping children, he knew it had helped.
"Might as well stay up. I've got a workout in two hours. Ted's such a stickler about gym time."
Molly squeezed Alan's shoulder. "Ted keeps everybody in great shape, honey. And don't think I don't appreciate him for that."
He turned to her, kissing her tenderly.
"How is she? How's Henry?"
"They're fine. Alan, she called about Todd."
Alan's expression shifted to one of concern-- "Is he alright? Has she spoken to him?"
"She hasn't heard from him in two weeks. She can't sense him anymore; their psychic bond is gone. She thinks something might've happened to him. I'm afraid, Alan."
"So am I. I've been trying to use the ring to locate him but I come up with nothing."
Molly frowned. "You don't think he's blocking you with his powers, do you?"
Alan shrugged. "I don't know. The last time we talked he said he had stopped using them. But the darkness has always pulled on him. You know that."
"Iris still swears she saw him in Central City. At the museum re-opening."
This worried Alan intensely. "I thought we were through with all that."
"I'm not sure we ever will be, dear. Todd wants so desperately to erase the past. He thinks Barry's machine could help him."
"Fifty thousand dollars in therapy couldn't? That damn machine wasn't meant for anyone except speedsters. Even then it's dangerous! Why can't Todd just grow up and deal with his life?!?" Alan shook his head, instantly regretting his words. "I didn't mean that, Molly. Honestly, I didn't."
Molly hugged him sympathetically-
"I know. If I could create an illusion for Todd, an illusion of a happy childhood, of people who loved him, believe that I would. I'd do anything for Todd and Jennie-Lynn, Alan. I couldn't love them more if they had been my natural born kids."
"I know. Another reason why I love you so much."
"I think it might be time to try to contact Jack Knight's nocturnal buddy..."
"He is an expert on the Shadowlands. If anyone's seen Todd, it would be him."
"I'll make the call as soon as my meetings are over tomorrow."
"Everything will be fine, Alan. Promise."
"I love you."
Alan and Molly held hands and continued to gaze out over the field of lights.
Clark Kent was dreaming. Lex was there and he was lying on the floor and Clark was scared but frozen in place. The room was orange and far too bright and he heard a buzzing noise that rolled and rolled through his head.
Lex was dying.
"Don't die," Clark screamed but no words came from his lips. It was as if he was there but not, trapped between spaces or memories or both.
He saw Lionel standing in a corner, brandy decanter falling from his hands, the crystal shattering on the floor; Lionel cackling like some evil wizard from a doomed fairy tale.
"You never were fast enough, young Kent. Not fast enough to save your father, not fast enough to save Lex. What a pity."
Clark began to cry and Lex was disintegrating now, his skin and bones and teeth and eyes melting into the plush carpet, once orange now the color of blood. Clark screamed and the room turned dark and everything felt terribly cold...
He felt warm and comforted and in the no pitch-black nothingness he saw a pair of eyes shining. He wasn't afraid of them; they held no fear. If anything, they represented comfort and understanding.
He'd seen these eyes before.
"Who are you? Please talk to me. Please."
The eyes blinked, changing color from brown to blue then to green.
"Who are you?"
A smile appeared; a set of perfectly formed teeth; it was a smile of greeting.
"Speak to me, please!"
The eyes and smile vanishedA
deep voice rumbled gently through the air...
"Don't miss your flight."
--And the cold returned and Clark was thrown down and down and down.
He awoke abruptly, covered in sweat, unsure of anything. He glanced towards the window.
The sun was rising.
His flight to Gotham left in three hours.
END of "Cerulean"
This story will continue...