Ollie kisses Hal for the first time at about three in the morning in a diner parking lot with green and pink neon lighting them up, while in the trees, pinecones snap open like popcorn.
Hal’s mouth is soft with sleepiness and Ollie takes advantage of it, pushing at him, pushing until Hal’s back goes thunk against the side of a big rig like the one he’ll take up driving one day, trying to make a buck between interstellar gigs. But right now Hal can’t get away (except for if he uses that little green atomic device on his finger, which he won’t because they promised no powers, scout’s honour), and it’s the easiest thing in the world for Ollie to use one hand to slam Hal’s shoulder back while the other hand wrenches into his silky brown hair, to kiss and bite him until Hal feels so pliant it’s like he might melt away.
It’s so easy it makes Ollie angry. He stops, pulls back, and waits for Hal to fucking do something. Ollie doesn’t want to take the blame for this all by himself.
And what Hal does is reach out his hands for Ollie’s hips, one finger sliding through a loop in his jeans and others snagging into a back pocket, and he drags Ollie close again and pushes his forehead against Ollie’s nose and cheek, drowsily moving until they’re breathing into each other. Hal’s eyelids are so puffy and shiny they look as if they might burst, and Ollie kind of wants to hurt him, somehow, for being this trusting.
Instead, he slings an arm around Hal’s shoulders and points them both in the direction of the pickup. “Guess we’re crashing in the back again tonight,” he mutters. Hal laughs faintly as the neon stains him a vibrant, trembling green.
The beard is new and every day Ollie wonders if he shouldn’t just admit defeat and shave the damn thing off; it itches all the time and he’s too conscious of it, still, compulsively jabbing his fingertips into the stiff bristles whenever they’re driving. Hal’s the one who drives. It keeps him cheerful and alert to be piloting something, and he has a good eye for places to stop.
They pull off at a produce stand along the highway and Hal wanders the bins of apples while Ollie goes to the bathroom and scrutinizes his face in the half-ruined mirror. In conjunction with the shorter haircut, the beard makes him look less like a typical trustfund douchebag, he decides, and comes back out to find Hal contemplating an array of chili peppers, running his hand over them without touching like he’s divining their hotness with his hovering palm. Ollie suddenly, violently wonders if Hal would do the same thing to him, move his hand along an inch away from Ollie’s skin and be able to tell if he was burning up inside.
“Look,” Hal says, grinning when he sees Ollie. “A whole platoon of them for you to doctor your chili with.”
“Everything comes back to the military with you, doesn’t it, you brainwashed conformist.”
Hal ignores him and turns a scarlet bird’s eye pepper over in his fingers. Ollie picks one up too. “Looks like a comma,” Hal remarks, and when Ollie puts his in his mouth Hal does the same thing as if it had been his idea all along.
The rule with the ring is limited to off-duty hours. Hal throws his hands out in front of him and a giant green Great Wall chunks into existence along the slope of the broken hillside, catching the avalanche of coal slag and rock rushing down.
He’s strangely silent when he works with that ring, Ollie’s discovered. Creating one of the seven wonders elicits nothing from Green Lantern but a somewhat drawn-out low bleat; meanwhile, Green Arrow’s mouth is running at full-tilt to keep up with his barrage of arrows. It’s not as if Ollie doesn’t know how to be quiet, but he prefers to talk. Words are as much his weapons as the hand-turned arrows he carries and he’s constantly refining both.
“More than enough arrows here to pigstick every last mother of you!” he hollers at the rushing, fumbling union-busters as they charge towards the hill. “Come on up and claim your consolation prizes, fellas --” nock, draw, release over and over and over, “-- a nice authentic GA arrow you can take home to show your suitably embarrassed children.”
Two bullets zip into the dirt at Ollie’s feet and he hops back, sending arrows in the direction of the shots and trusting his own innate aim to locate the thugs he didn’t notice. “Lantern,” he says, “could use some fancy green shields right about now.”
Hal grunts and slides down some, pushed up against Ollie’s back by the growing pressure of his constructed dam. “I’ve gotta get rid of this slag, GA,” he says, sounding strained. “There’s too much built up to let it go, and I can’t hold it here forever.” Hal’s voice twists on the last word, and Ollie glances back for a moment to see that he’s gathered the tonnage of slag and debris into a giant drill, sending it tunnelling down to create a pit.
“That’s not gonna be very stable--” Ollie starts, but Hal tells him, “shut up,” and releases the slag from the drill before the pit’s deep enough to hold it all. The heap of black rubble looks precarious enough to get the union busters scrabbling back, away from Hal and Ollie and the stories-high teetering pyramid. Green Arrow encourages this with the dispatch of a few more arrows, but the two of them don’t budge from the foot of the hill and within a second or two Green Lantern’s creating a green containment field and assistant piledriver. The energy constructs compress and compact the avalanche into a hard, solid mass that fills the pit to be more or less level with the ground around it, nothing more to show than some charcoal gravel scattered about.
And Ollie’s got … arrows.
Don’t sell yourself short, Queen, he tells himself. There’s that really spiffy net arrow in there!
Hal’s not quite sure why Ollie’s busting up, but he smiles and wipes coal dust from his chin while his ring rounds up the baddies into a coal shed and locks them in. “We did do a good job,” Hal muses, looking around. “Now these people can have their union in peace, and go back to their jobs without fear of being buried alive.” There’s endless belief in the benevolence of the system in his statement, respect for the mythos of an honest day’s work.
Ollie’s laughter snuffles to a slow. “Yeah,” he says sarcastically. “Ain’t no greater job for the human respiratory system or the environment than Kentucky coal mining. Write me some sweet Americana bluegrass about the romance of miner’s lung and acid drainage, whydontcha.”
He bends his head to his bow, rubbing at a blood spatter on the wood so he doesn’t have to watch Hal’s face fall.
“I wish you’d stop running down the damn Corps all the time,” Hal says angrily, throwing the pan he’d been diligently scouring out with clean sand against a boulder. Sand spins everywhere. “For heaven’s sake, Ollie, you’d think you were the only guy to ever have a set of morals he was willing to stand up for.”
Hal’s pissed enough to glare out into the treeline instead of looking at Ollie, who keeps on whittling new arrow shafts where he sits by the fire. “I wish,” Hal says, his voice heavy, “you felt the same way about--”
That’s where he cuts off, shaking his head before lowering it. Ollie scrapes with his knife and looks the slope of Hal’s neck, the muscles in his back, the tenseness in his thighs. He must have made some noise, something he wasn’t aware of, because Hal looks over, and so then Ollie flicks his knife in the direction of the truck.
“Get over there,” he says, dropping the knife into the modest pile of branches and standing up. He dusts his hands against the front of his corduroys, sap on his fingers trying to cling to the fabric. Hal stares.
“Why? Are we going somewhere?”
Ollie vigorously swings his arms in front of him, crossing them at the wrists, loosening up his shoulders. He’d been sitting there bunched up for longer than he’d realized.
“No,” he says. “But I don’t feel like fucking you in the grass.”
And oh, baby, does Hal ever like that idea, because when Ollie walks into and against him Hal wraps his arms around Ollie and hauls him along, over to the pickup, breathing fast as a bellows. Standing up leaned against the side is a good enough first time for this, Ollie reasons to himself while Hal wrestles his own button-fly open and then tugs down Ollie’s zipper, reaching greedily inside to grasp Ollie’s cock. Anything more fancy and one of them might get the wrong idea about what’s happening. Ollie doesn’t want to face the possibility that it might be him.
Hal’s hand grips on Ollie’s dick tight enough to start getting uncomfortable, and he’s already started sliding down when he looks up at Ollie, brown eyes questioning and demanding at the same time. Ollie laughs some, leaning back against the truck and tugging a lock of Hal’s hair. Strands stick to the sap on his fingers. “Sky’s the limit, flyboy,” he drawls, then chokes when Hal drops all the way to his knees and opens his mouth.
“Hey there, lady,” Ollie says into the payphone, and closes his eyes when Dinah’s voice warms up the line.
“How are you two doing?” she asks. “Solved all of the country’s ills from coast to coast yet?”
“Making good headway. The other day I convinced Hal to tip a waitress more than the recommended minimum percentage, canya believe it?”
Dinah laughs and Ollie can conjure up the jasmine smell of her hair. His head aches. “And I just bet he got more than a grateful smile in return,” Dinah says, amused. He can hear the tap running behind her -- she’s in the kitchen, maybe? Rinsing … peaches. Ollie doesn’t ask what she’s doing. He’d rather make it up.
“Well, you know our Hal. Isn’t a woman in this world who could resist him once he gets his engines revving.”
“There’s some women,” Dinah says, and she’s turning off the water at the same time so Ollie can’t quite tell if she’s referring to herself, or Carol, or standing up for womankind in general against the vaunted charms of Hal Jordan.
The phone starts clicking for more money. “Pretty bird, I gotta go,” Ollie starts, at the same time that Dinah says, “Don’t you carry more than twenty-fi--?” and then the line’s dead. Ollie turns the three quarters in his pocket over, feeling them clink eagerly against each other. He hangs up the phone.
“Wait, so lemme get this straight.” Ollie pauses in cleaning up Hal’s pulped hand as they perch on the opened tailgate of the truck. “Those little blue gummy worms decided that since you’re not gonna hup-to when they whistle for you, that your ring will no longer protect you?”
“Wanna finish what you’re doing there before you slam on the Guardians, champ?” Hal says through gritted teeth, and Ollie looks down at the alcohol dripdrip dripping onto Hal’s opened knuckles.
“Ho yeah, sorry, man.” He finishes cleaning and wraps them up. Hal takes his hand back and flexes it. They both watch blood spots form on the bandage. “Not used to that anymore, huh,” Ollie says. “Ring kept you safe from all the bumps and bruises, not to mention the big stuff.”
Hal doesn’t respond. Ollie watches a muscle jump in his jaw. “I guess it was only a matter’a time,” Ollie says, fascinated, gaining speed. “I mean, before those wizened fascists pulled the protection of Oa from you, even though you’ve done so fucking much for them and fought for them every time they asked and hied your ass all over the galaxy --”
“Oliver,” Hal says. His voice is so hard it could crack stone. It’s exciting. Hal Jordan’s more gentle than Ollie’d ever thought humankind came in; underneath all the ooh-rah and hotshot air jockey stuff, he really is just a sweet-tempered guy with an eternal wistfulness about him.
So Ollie keeps going, “-- and I mean you put aside everything for them, family and friends and the woman you love, and at the very first time you want to do something for yourself and your own life and don’t toe the party line down to the last iota, it’s so long goodbye, have fun getting your ass kicked from here to Poughkeepsie until you remember how to come crawling back--”
Hal doesn’t hit him, exactly; grand gestures like a right hook are more Ollie’s thing. Hal turns and grabs Ollie’s face with his bandaged up ring hand, bunches up his shirt in the other, shakes him like a rat. Ollie’s own hands fly up, patting across Hal’s chest, and he makes a startled noise when Hal shoves him down in the back of the truck. He’s not startled for long. He helps Hal to get enough of their clothes pulled awry, pushed aside, and then Hal wrangles Ollie onto his belly.
There’s a dark, glowing green flare snapping and crackling from Hal’s eyes as he fucks Ollie, and he drops his head and his voice is hoarse when he asks, “What the hell are you so angry about, Oliver? What is it you’re trying so goddamn hard to run from?”
“Don’t stop,” Ollie gasps back. Don’t stop, don’t. Don’t ever stop chasing me.
Dinah joins them a few times, sliding seamlessly into their adventures with judo kicks and hair that goes from black to blonde depending on if she’s brought her wig. “Like a bumblebee in fishnets,” Ollie laughs, smoothing her hair and kissing the side of her head. Hal watches, and if his smile’s a bit on the sad side, well -- that’s just the way Hal looks. Ollie has no intention of doing anything other than cheering for Hal and Carol, when that finally picks up again.
The three of them bust ass and tumble around and harp and quip and conk out together. Dinah likes fucking -- a lot -- but being around Hal makes her feel virtuous. “He’s like the nice cousin from out of town who you want to be your date for the sock hop,” she says, leaning over a diner table to whisper to Ollie even though Hal’s gone off to the bathroom. Ollie looks at her incredulously.
“He’s not that old-fashioned,” he whispers back stupidly. Dinah presses her point by nodding, eyes wide as she slurps at her orange cream float with immense enthusiasm. “It’s the bomber jacket,” she decides. Ollie waves his hand.
“That thing’s a hand-me-down,” he says. “And you know why he wears it--”
Hal comes back then, bringing himself an extra straw so he can share Dinah’s float. She insists on them sipping at the same time, and Ollie watches in bemusement as their heads tip together. “I live in a Bing Crosby and Bob Hope movie,” he says while Dinah makes Dorothy Lamour eyes at Hal. “Or is it Butch and Sundance?”
“You just keep thinkin’, Ollie,” Hal laughs. “That’s what you’re good at.”
“Better find yourself a bicycle,” Dinah informs Ollie, “and sweep me away before Hal keeps me all to himself.” Hal hugs her and the two of them ham it up with fluttering eyelashes and big fakey kisses while Ollie grins and throws pieces of balled-up paper napkin at them.
It’s funny at the time, but then, Dinah proves how much she really is like Etta. She always knows when to leave the two of them alone, heading back to Star City soon enough that they’re sorry to see her leave. Ollie kisses her good bye and promises to call, and she doesn’t remind him to bring enough quarters.
Things are awkward when Dinah leaves, the first few times. After that, they mutually decide to drop the pretense and deal with the fact that this is how it is. It’s easy to do that, out here with highway stretching fore and aft and so much space on each side. Ollie almost forgets how to feel claustrophobic. The cab of the pickup is all the room he needs.
They keep travelling. They don’t think about when it’s going to stop.
“I treat you like shit sometimes,” Ollie says. The night is just chilly enough to be nice for lying on their backs in the flatbed. The stars are bright overhead, pinholes, Christmas lights, fireflies, diamonds. Hal’s hand tightens in his grasp.
“You don’t,” Hal says. “I’m right where I wanna be.”