Hal knew he’s screwing up the mission completely. Bruce had literally grabbed Hal before the charity ball and told him to not get sidetracked by chasing down pretty girls and boys. But he was just supposed to be standing guard.
But then this blonde had stepped into the giant room, a picture of regality and perfection. Hal had to at least say hi. People had swarmed her and she drank the attention happily.
She was clad in a strapless tight dark red dress that clung to her curves. Long blonde locks bounced on her shoulders as she walked. She seemed to have struck up a flirtatious conversation with Bruce as Hal approached them.
“Hello,” Hal said, placing a hand on Bruce’s shoulders, “I’m Hal, this is my first time here!”
The woman gave him and seductive smile, and blinked up at him with amber eyes, “Pleasure, Hal. I’m-”
Then someone bumped into her. It was another blonde, clad in a modest forest green dress. She had short-cropped hair that showed off the emerald earrings she was wearing. Her face had flushed and she profusely started apologizing to the other woman. Wide blue eyes scanned the surroundings to make sure none of the wine from her glass had spilled. The red dress woman laughed off the flustered apologies. Hal found the new girl a little endearing. Much more interesting than the first woman, at least.
“Barry,” Bruce greeted the newcomer, “This is Sara Roma, lead supervisor over at Drake industries.”
Bruce turned to Sara, “Ms. Roma, this is Barry Allen, she’s a forensic scientist in Central City and scientist at STAR labs.”
“I’m Hal Jordan, a test pilot for Ferris aircraft!” Hal added, beaming. Barry, the green girl, was still blushing and stuttered out a greeting and shook their hands.
They exchanged a few pleasantries before Bruce took Sara away to talk about the speech for the charity ball. Barry stayed rooted to her spot as Hal turned his full attention to her.
“Not your crowd?” Hal started. Barry cracked a small grin and Hal’s heart sped up.
“No, not yours either?”
Hal shook his head, “Yeah, how could you tell?”
Barry’s eyes twinkled and took a sip from her wine glass. “From the fact that you’re still talking to me.”
Hal laughed at that. But then he noticed her red nose and slightly bloodshot eyes and grew a bit concerned for this stranger. “Are you okay?”
Her attention snapped to him, blue eyes meeting Hal’s. “I-what?”
“You seemed troubled. Maybe talking to a stranger can help,” Hal shrugged.
Barry made a small shocked face as red crept into her cheeks again. “I’ve been...okay.”
“Yeah,” Hal opened his mouth to disagree, “Don’t start, Hal.” Barry gave Hal a look that felt vaguely familiar but he couldn’t place from where. Hal’s jaw clicked shut.
“I’ve been okay. I’m just having a little love trouble, I guess?”
Hal waggled his eyebrows, “Can I help?”
Barry frowned at that, clearly uncomfortable, and Hal immediately stopped the flirting.
“I wish,” Barry sighed, “I’ve been...in love, I guess, with this guy. My best friend, really. He’s just-” Barry stopped with a bitter chuckle, “not for me, I guess.”
“What do you mean?” Hal prompted and started leading Barry to one of the empty balconies.
Barry shrugged, her green dress catching the light that made her look ethereal. “He didn't realize I was a girl when we first met. I didn’t correct him. I kind of wish I did now.”
Hal blinked, “What dumbass mistook such a beauty as you as a guy?”
Barry barked out a laugh, “My dumbass apparently. I rolled with it. He was kind of a flirt and I didn’t want him treating me that way. Turns out he’s bi, so I guess he just wasn’t attracted to me at all. I’m always just his best man, his friend. And well, this deep into the friendship, I don’t know if I should even tell him I’m a girl. He might hate me.” Barry wrapped her arms around herself and leaned over the railing to look at the city lights of Star City below. A resigned expression settle across the pretty face and Hal couldn’t have that, now could he?
“Well, if he runs because if that maybe that friendship wasn’t meant to be.”
“But I love him,” Barry had whispered, sounding so broken and so lost that Hal wanted to reach over and gather the girl in his arms and protect her from whatever made her feel this way. “I love his corny sense of humor. His laughs and the way he’s confident in what he does. He’s so passionate about his jobs. And heck, I even grew to love his flirting! But I’m always on the side, helping him chase down this next girl or guy. I’m always just going to be his wingman.” Barry rubbed her eyes harshly and Hal noticed she wasn’t wearing any make-up. Either that or she had some strong waterproof shit on. Hal cautiously put an arm around her shoulder and she quickly turned to bury her face into Hal’s shoulder.
Hal was terrible at comforting people. He was slightly panicking, but he tried to keep calm and rub soothing circles into the blonde’s back.
“Hal, please,” She sniffed, her hand finding Hal’s. She traced his ring and Hal stiffened. She raised her eyes up to meet his in a pleading stare, “Get us out of here.”
“Bruce knows. It’s fine. I’ll explain later, just. I think I’m about to have a panic attack.”
Hal decided to question it later and after making sure no one was looking, activated his ring and flew himself and Barry to another rooftop.
The girl was definitely having a panic attack when they landed. Hal tried his hardest to talk to her and cohere her into more even breaths. To his own surprise, it was working and Barry’s breaths leveled out. They were sitting on the roof, Hal on Barry’s left.
Barry then met Hal’s gaze and let out a hysterical laugh. “You’re a dumbass, I’m a dumbass. What’s new?”
Hal frowned, not sure how to respond. “Maybe explain?” Barry flopped down to lie flat on her back, staring up at the night sky.
Barry lifted her right hand and turned it so Hal could see the ring that sat on her finger. She never met Hal’s gaze.
“Since I’m already on a roll of revealing everything to you today, why not add this too?” The girl said in a tired tone, seeming detached.
Hal didn’t say anything but reached over to grab the hand with the ring to stare at it a little closer. He traced the symbol on the ring on Barry’s palm, trying to make sure it was the real deal and not a replica. Barry gasped and suddenly the hand in his grasp started vibrating and tugged out of Hal’s hands. He looked to see Barry, who was covering her face with both hands, effectively hiding her blush as seeing her ears were red as well. Hal found an urge to kiss them. He held it back.
“Hal? Say something, please?” Barry asked from behind her hands, voice muffled.
Hal opened his mouth and said conversationally, “Did you know the Flash was a girl? Because I definitely wasn’t aware.”
Barry had curled up at that and a spike of panic shot through Hal as she started shaking again. She started muttering out watery apologies. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I get it if you hate me and don’t want to be friends anymore. God, I am crying so much today. Sorry, you have to see me like this. I am so weak. Please, Hal, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t hurt you on purpose. I’m-” She was babbling at this point and cut herself up when she let out a sob.
“Barry, wait no, it’s okay,” Hal grabbed her shoulder and turned her to face him. The urge to hold her well up again and this time, Hal gave in and he pulled the girl close to his chest, trying to stop her from having another panic attack. “Fuck, Bear. You know I’m bad at this stuff. Look, I’m not mad or disappointed or whatever you’re thinking okay? I’m just processing and fuck, you’re gorgeous and I’m mentally trying to murder my past self for not noticing how amazing you are and for hurting you. Maybe I should be the one apologizing for putting you into this situation. So, I’m sorry.”
Barry didn’t say anything but just clung more desperately to Hal, her crying evening out.
“I didn’t know I could cry this much in one night,” Barry muttered into Hal’s shirt, sound significantly better. Hal chuckled and pressed his face into Barry’s nest of blonde locks. He didn’t know when he fell in love with Barry. Maybe it was a few minutes ago. Maybe it was when he made eye contact with the cute blonde in the green lantern colored dress at the ball earlier that night. Or maybe it was when Hal found the Flash stuffing his-her face with food in the Watchtower cafeteria. Maybe it was when Green Lantern first met Hal in the heat of an alien invasion and still took the time to crack and joke and make fun of Hal. Maybe he’s been in love this entire time and just never noticed.
“You’re right, you know? I’m a dumbass. But I’m totally your dumbass.” Hal whispered into her hair and Barry’s breath hitched for a second before she was relaxing into Hal’s hold.
“A big dumbass,” Barry agreed with a soft giggle. Oh wow, Hal should’ve paid more attention to his best friend in the last year because he had been missing out on an amazing human being. That giggle had Hal’s stomach doing weird dances. He was totally smitten.
“Well,” Hal said slowly, pulling away to meet Barry’s eyes, “If the offer is still on the table, would this queen do the honor of dating this dumbass?”
Barry then laughed. (And if that wasn’t proof that angels existed then Hal would eat his ring.) “Oh my god, Hal, I-” Her smile dropped, “This isn’t just because-” She gestured to her dress.
Hal blanched, “Hell no. My brain just realized how whipped I am for you today. This may have helped it but it’s not because of a physical or sexual attraction, Barry. I love your smile and laugh and your nerdy sense of humor that honestly borders on dad jokes. I love your sense of duty and your strength. Gods, Barry, I’m completely in love with you.”
“Then, yes. Yes, I would love to date this dumbass.”
She then kissed him.
Hal decided this is the happiest day of his life.