By Your Side
Hal’s apartment in Coast City, a few days after the warehouse incident:
Hal Jordan was called one of the most fearless members of the Green Lantern Corps, but when it came to facing his mistakes, he was not up to the task. It took courage to admit your faults and own up to them, and he had made a mistake, he knew that now. Making love to Carol and letting her believe that they had a future together had been a mistake. He hadn’t seen her or talked to her in person in months.
He stared at the front door for a full minute and then opened it, dreading their conversation. Carol was standing there looking like something out of a dream. A true vision to his eyes, with her long dark blonde hair, a form fitting blouse and skirt and high heels that accentuated her figure, but it was her eyes that enthralled him, so blue and with a curious and hopeful look. He swallowed and tried to focus on why he had called her there in the first place. Now that he had a chance to think it through, they should have met in a more public place, but that would have been wrong, especially since he was going to break her heart and probably his too.
“Well, are you going to just stand there or are you going to invite me in?” Carol was not in the mood for this. When he had called her the other day and asked her to come by to see him, she was thrilled, nervous, curious and excited all at once.
“Oh, sure, come in Carol.” He paused, after looking her over. “You look beautiful.”
She entered his apartment, tried not to roll her eyes then she turned to face him, but her eyes looked him over and he did look wonderful. She straightened her spine and tried to be stern even though she wanted to throw her arms around him. “Well, what is it?”
“Please Carol, I know it’s been a while,” he told her trying to be polite. “After the last time?” He began, but stopped when her eyes filled with tears. “Carol, I’m so sorry.”
She pulled herself together, turned from him furious with herself and went to stand by the window. “Hal, I don’t have any expectations where you’re concerned; I know that now.” She turned back to him with expression on her face that broke his heart. “I had my hopes, I can’t deny that, but when you didn’t call, I accepted the truth.” It then dawned on her why he had called her to come over. “You want to end things, don’t you?”
He looked down at his shoes. “Yes, I do, and I’m sorry, Carol, if only ...?” He stopped unable to finish that comment when she stared at him with a shocked expression which utterly and completely surprised him. She still had hopes for us?
“I know and please don’t say anymore.” She paused and wiped at her eyes. “I should leave.”
He knew this was wrong, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. He grabbed her arm and pulled her to him. “It’s not over. I’ve tried to let you go, but I can’t.”
“But you can’t have a life Hal, and you know that, so why even put us through this?” She pleaded to him and tried to push him away, but that hopeful expression on her face was still there, no matter how hard she tried to accept it.
“Because ... I love you, Carol, and we can find a way to make this work. Please tell me you want to try. I promise to call you and to see you more often.”
She shook her head at him, but a large part of her heart felt the same way. “Oh, Hal, I love you too, but it may not be enough.”
He stared into her eyes, pulled her closer, and just before their lips met, he said, “It will be enough, Carol. You’ll see,” and then he kissed her showing her how much he cared and how much he wanted things to work out between them.
Sighing into his mouth, she kissed him back, hoping with all her heart they weren’t making another mistake, a mistake that could break both their hearts.
A few weeks later in the Hall of Justice:
Supergirl, Power Boy, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, the Legion, Martian Manhunter and a few others who had joined the League in the past few weeks, were all sitting and waiting for a ‘special’ meeting not knowing why the meeting was called. After the story Jane had published and it had gone national, a few other superheroes had come forward wanting to stand up and fight for truth and justice.
In the past few weeks, Power Boy and the Isis Foundation were always available to them to help with that transition, but it had been hard for Jed to keep Jane’s secret, especially from Kara. They had become very close, but he felt that Kara would understand his reasons for keeping her secret. He knew Jane wanted to break the news to all the members of the League today and he wanted to help her. He also hoped that once they all knew the truth that they would accept her as one of them just as they had done for him.
Meanwhile, in the hallway outside the Hall of Justice, Jane’s heart was pounding so hard from fear and doubt as they both clashed inside her mind, but Jonny, in particular, weighed heavily on her mind. She suspected he was going to be confused and upset by her announcement, but she believed he would accept her just as she is, just as she had accepted him.
Once everyone was seated at the massive table, Power Boy went to open the door. Jane entered with a dramatic flare, head held high, in a costume she had designed. It was a form fitting jumpsuit, low cut and very flattering, the color matched her eyes a warm shade of green, a half mask covered her face, her hair flowed long and loose about her shoulders and down her back, thigh high black boots clicked with every step she took, and completing her ensemble was a black cropped jacket with an Indian spirit of an Eagle over her left breast. The symbol was associated not only with visions and spirits, but also symbolized a connection to the creator. She stopped in front of an empty chair, not taking her eyes from Jonny, and waited for the inevitable uproar to begin.
While everyone gasped and murmured their approval, Superman stood up shocked by Jane’s appearance even though he couldn’t help but be intrigued by her costume and her courage to do something like this, and was that pride he felt?
“Jane, what is going on here? Did you call this meeting, and what are you wearing?” What in the world is she up to? Clark was a bit flabbergasted he had to admit.
Power Boy introduced their possible newest member, he hoped. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you ... Rose Spiritus! Rose comes to us today with the hope that she could join us in our fight for truth and justice!” Jed announced and then tried not to grimace at the name. He watched Kara’s reaction and she seemed very pleased. He smiled relieved.
Everyone else cringed at the name and Jane admitted it needed some work. “I’m working on that,” she sheepishly admitted and tried to smile in spite of her doubts.
“Well, I’ll be damn,” Wonder Woman murmured and then she stood up and came to meet their possible newest member but she had a few questions for her. Clark was still a bit tongue-tied at the moment. Diana crossed her arms and looked her up and down. “So, Rose Spiritus? What are your credentials and why do you think you should be among the world’s finest superheroes?”
Hal listened and watched Clark come to terms with the very thing they had discussed just a few short weeks ago. He did appear shocked and he had to wonder why Jane never gave him a warning, a heads-up as it were. He scratched his chin and watched the proceedings. The more he thought about it though, he liked Jane’s spunk and determination, and knowing how Clark felt about ‘humans’ joining the League, he was definitely on her side.
Jane cleared her throat, not taking her eyes from Jonny, and began her speech. “The name I chose has a history. My mother’s side of the family has a decendent and you won’t find her on any computer. I am a part of that family. Her name was Rose Psychic, she lived thousands of years ago and she was capable of living for a very long time.”
Clark finally found his voice. “How old are you … Rose?” He found her fascinating in spite of his doubts about her reasons for not telling him her plans.
She took a deep breath and told him the truth. “I’m over a hundred years old.”
Everyone gasped including Clark and then he narrowed his eyes at her wondering about her need to keep secrets from him.
“Is there anything else you want to tell us about yourself?” Diana asked curious about her.
“My reasons for coming to Metropolis never wavered.” Jane responded as she and Jonny stared at each other. “I wanted to save Superman, but ...” She swallowed and continued. “He saved me too.”
“How do you mean, he saved you?” Diana asked, still curious.
“Once I found out about Rose and her life, that there was a dark vein running through her existence, I needed to know more. I know she’s in hell for her crimes. She was pure evil and could not be trusted not at first. But then I found out that Rose was killed by demons and her soul was dragged to hell. Instead of taking a chance to return, her soul remained in hell choosing instead to remain there, to bring hope to damned souls who believed they had no chance at redemption.”
Jane’s story was enthralling, but everyone waited for Superman to say something. “That’s an incredible story, Jane, but I see what you’re trying to tell us,” Clark began as he slowly walked over to her and tried with everything in him to understand her reasons for not telling him all of this before. “You want us to trust you, is that it?”
“Yes, I wanted to prove to you and everyone here that you could trust me, that I wanted to help, do some good,” she responded, hoping he would believe her.
Kara spoke up and tried to help her in spite of her initial misgivings about Jane. “You have done well Jane. Didn’t she, Superman?”
After Jane’s speech, Clark remembered that one moment in the hospital when the sunlight from the window had shown down on her as if she was from heaven or somehow different from what she appeared to be. He shook his head at his musings, but the image remained teasing him. And as he stood there staring at her not saying anything, he came to the realization that they still had a lot to learn about each other. He wanted to learn more about her, and he was ready, yes, he was definitely ready.
“Superman?” Jane anxiously waited for him to say something and when he just stood there not saying anything, she realized that she had failed and that she may have lost him … forever. Tears blinded her as she turned to leave but he stopped her as he grabbed her arm. Her eyes were hopeful and pleading in spite of her tears, as she stared at him and waited for him to say something.
He held his head high and spoke directly to her. “My vote is that we give Rose Spiritus a chance to help us in anyway that she can. All those in favor, say aye.” Superman paused. It was unanimous. “All those opposed?” Silence followed.
Jane knew it wasn’t proper in front of everyone, but she threw her arms around his neck and he couldn’t help himself as he kissed her.
Everyone applauded and laughed at their playfulness then everyone came forward to congratulate Jane and to welcome her to the League. Clark pulled back feeling embarrassed but he had meant every word. She had proven herself and her worth to all of them and especially to him.
I am lucky to have her.
Several months later, after finding an apartment together in Metropolis:
After the past several months, Clark had made a decision about continuing his temporary job at the Metropolis Journal. After being offered the permanent position just this morning, it had been a very tough decision, but he couldn’t deny how much being back in a newsroom excited him and he was looking forward to being there everyday. Of course, he had numerous assignments, stories around the world, but going to work everyday, fitting that into his life along with his superhero duties, pleased him in a way that nothing had in a very long time.
But the one thing that continued to bother him was the noise. It wasn’t too bad at the office, where he was busy and he could concentrate on his work, but the evenings when he was with Jane were the worst. Clark’s ears had a serious adjustment to make. It had been a long time since he had lived in the city everyday and the quietness of space was definitely calling to him. All in all though, in spite of that he had decided to continue working at the Journal and to tell Jane the good news that evening.
After a nice dinner, they returned to the apartment, Jane watched him closely as he tried and come to terms with his new life there in the city and all the noises that seem to be bombarding him all at once. He touched his arm. “Maybe you shouldn’t have taken that permanent job, Jonny. I would miss you everyday, but it will take some getting used to living in the city again, so why don’t you move in but you don’t have to stay every night, but I wouldn’t mind that at all, and ...” She paused and touched his chest. “Why don’t you work your way up to say several nights a week for starters? How does that sound?”
“What did you say? The police sirens were blaring there for a moment.” He covered his ears and tried to tune them out and they did quiet down after a few minutes.
“Oh dear, this is going to be a problem isn’t it? Maybe we shouldn’t have done this, but I was hoping we could live like a normal couple, you know living together, building a life together?” She hopefully asked.
Speaking of living together, he had a few questions about her husband that had been bothering him ever since she had revealed herself to the League. “Jane, did Bill know anything about your past, I mean, your abilities or who you really were?”
“No, I never told him,” she admitted and looked away.
“But why didn’t you? You married him Jane, he deserved that at least.”
She sighed, left his side and went to make some coffee. “It really wasn’t an issue in my marriage. My mother had just told me about Rose just before we had gotten married, and the dreams and visions hadn’t started until that first night, years later, when I dreamt about you, so I kept it to myself.”
He followed her to the kitchen as more questions came into his mind. “And he never knew how old you were? He never suspected a thing?” Clark was finding this all so unbelievable especially her age.
“My family had mastered ways of hiding our true ages, so that wasn’t an issue either.”
Clark was beginning to understand her now. “But Jane they were lies, you realize that, don’t you?”
She shrugged. “It didn’t feel that way to me.”
He frowned and started to wonder who she really was. “Jane, come and sit down for a moment.” He took her hand, sat down next to her, and tried to make her understand about lies and half-truths and how they could build up, and then she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between right and wrong. He knew he had nip this now before things got out of control. He stared into her eyes. “Do you believe in us Jane, what we share?”
“Of course I do. What a question. You know I love you, Jonny.”
He smiled. “I know you do, but what if I told you that I didn’t believe you, that what you were telling me wasn’t true? Would you believe me or your instincts that I was lying to you?”
Jane was confused at first. “But I am telling you the truth. Don’t you believe me?”
He touched her cheek. Now he had to explain it to her. “Jane, don’t you see? The truth and what you tell me could be two totally different things, because if you lie and keep things from me, it corrodes everything we share. It could hurt us in the long run. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I think so. I’m sorry I lied and didn’t tell you about my plans and about Rose. I thought you would feel differently about me if you knew. Are you mad?”
“Not at all, I’m happy now that everything is out in the open. Is there anything else you need to tell me?” He smiled and waited.
“No, that’s all there is,” she answered, worried about them.
He could see how worried she was, but he believed they could move forward from here. “Come here, everything is going be alright,” he told her and she went into his arms holding him close. “Let me tell you a story about a young man who had a secret, a very powerful secret, but he never told a living soul not for a long time. His parents told him, and I’m sure your parents told you the same thing, that if anyone found out the truth, it would destroy their family and everything they held dear, so he kept the secret to himself, until he found the right person to tell that secret, and you know what?”
“No, what happened?”
“Once the secret was told, the world became a much brighter place and everything was clear to him.” Clark’s eyes widened as his memories flowed back into his mind while telling her about his life and what he had gone through. He pulled her tighter against him. “I found Lois, and you, Jane, you found me.”
“Oh, Jonny, what a beautiful story, and I understand now,” she smiled at him.
“I’m glad Jane, very glad.” He paused and decided it was time. "Call me Clark."
Smiling, she snuggled close, not wanting to let go, not ever.
And so, as the sirens blared in his ears, the neighbor’s television set blasted the early evening news, a baby cried for his bottle, Clark turned her to him and kissed her secure in the belief that they had both turned their respective corners toward the truth, and with that knowledge they would build their life … together.
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