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Hal smiled and opened his eyes. A kiss was pretty much the best thing to wake up to. He kissed Barry back before his husband left the bed. As fast as he usually was in the morning, Barry's shower took forever.

Hal stood as well, electing to wake the kid before he overslept and decided he was sick. He couldn't be. Not today.

"Hey, buddy, wakey-wakey." Hal shook his son awake, not taking no for and answer.

Wally groaned. "Ugh. Daaaaaad!"

Hal grinned, standing back from the bed. "What? You didn't want to be late for your trip, did you?"

Wally sat up a little, looking vaguely confused. "What trip?"

Hal feigned a hurt expression. "Wallace! Your trip to the airfield with me, of course!"

Wally jumped up out of his bed and grinned as he hugged his dad. "Thank you so much again, Dad! This is going to be so cool!"

Hal smiled as he held his son closer. Wally was getting taller, his head almost reached Hal's chest.

"Hey, maybe if we're lucky, Grandpa will be there."

Wally squealed and practically pushed Hal out of his room. "I have to get ready!"

Hal chuckled and made his way back into his bathroom. Wally was such a great kid. He didn't even care that he was going into chemistry, he was getting a pilot's license just like Dad and Grandpa. Gotta keep it in the family.

The shower turned off just as Hal finished brushing his teeth. He grinned devilishly at Barry when he left the shower. Barry grinned back at him. It was another ten minutes before they made it downstairs.

As Hal made scrambled eggs for six (Barry and Wally both eat like they're not getting dinner, it drives Hal up the wall when he does the taxes and sees grocery receipts, but it's kind of adorable), he hummed a little song to himself. Then, he stumbled.

On his way back from the kitchen table to retrieve the salt and pepper, Hal tripped over something that wasn't there.

"Hal?" Barry asked, but Hal couldn't hear him. There was a blinding light and Hal nearly collapsed. A splitting headache pounded as the light continued, but soon the attack was over and he was standing again.

"Did you...?" Hal started, but when he got that far he forgot what was wrong.

"Did we what, babe?" Barry asked, innocently finishing his eggs.

"You know," Hal said, "I uh... I don't remember..."

Wally ran over and grabbed Hal in a hug. "Thank you so much for taking me to Ferris, Daddy! This is gonna be so cool!"

Hal grinned. "Yeah, well, what else were you going to do on your day off from school?"

Barry smiled as he cleared the table. "Don't forget, my parents are coming over for dinner tonight. That means you have to be home and ready for supper at a reasonable hour."

"Relax, Bear," Hal said as he kissed his husband's cheek. "When have I ever disappointed you."

Barry made a face. "Just come home."


"Lantern? Lantern! Come on, GL, wake up!" Barry was frantic. They were fighting this new crazy alien, Mongul, when he pulled this giant flower out of nowhere and put it on Hal.

Oh right. Mongul.

"What the hell is this thing, Mongul?" Barry yelled. He almost never cursed, even that mildly, but he was pissed. No one was allowed to mess with Hal. Especially not like this.

Mongul laughed. As much as Barry wanted to punch him, he had to stay near Hal.

"They call it the Black Mercy. Be glad I did not instead just kill your friend. This is a much kinder fate."

"He's lying. This is far from kind." Batman appeared by Barry's side, throwing an incendiary device near Mongul's head on the way over. "This plant is in the lantern's mind, showing him his ideal world. You have to get him out."

"What?" Barry asked. "Why? Why me?"

"That thing is feeding off him," Batman explained. "If you don't get to him fast, he'll die."

Barry looked back at Hal. "Should I move him?"

Batman considered it for a moment. "Stay here, we'll cover you and try to take down the warlord. The sounds of battle may help him. They did for Superman."

Barry glanced at Batman. Unless he was mistaken, he'd heard a hint of worry in the taller man's voice.

Which was completely understandable. Barry was more worried about his best friend than he cared to admit.

"Come on, Hal. You need to come back to me. Come home."


"At five o'clock at the latest, Hal. I need your help with dinner." Barry sounded stern over the phone.

"Aw but Bear, Dad wants to fly with me! Carol even said I could take Wally up!" Hal replied. He thought it was a good argument.

Barry didn't. "Hal. We agreed that Wally has to wait until he's twelve to get in a plane with you. It's just not the same as a passenger plane."

"Barry, he'll be twelve in two weeks," Hal reasoned, lowering his voice a little. "When else is he gonna get to fly with me and Dad at the same time?"

"You could go out there on his birthday. I'd get to go with that way. I've already taken it off."

Hal sighed. He wasn't going to win this argument. "Alright. Five o'clock. We'll leave in a few minutes."

Hal could hear Barry's smile. "Alright. Say hi to Martin for me. I love you."

"I love you too." Hal hung up the phone. Well, he was going to--

"Lantern! GL, plea--"

Hal opened his eyes. He was sitting in a chair in his dining room next to his dad.

"How did...?"

"You okay with that, High Ball?" Martin asked.

"Sorry," Hal answered. "Okay with what?"

Martin smiled. "Your mom and I leaving town. We haven't seen Jack in a little while. We were hoping you could come with, especially with how close you two are. But, seeing as you're busy..."

"Yeah, sure Dad. That... That sounds great..." Hal can't help but notice the strange tinge of black around the edges of his vision as the conversation continues.

"We'll find someone else to watch Wally while you're gone. Summer break isn't quite the same when you're home by yourself... Maybe he can stay with Dick. Maybe Arthur isn't busy. Garth hasn't seen Wally in a while, especially with the homeschooling thing at the lighthouse."

As he spoke, the black encroached upon his vision even further until Hal could only see his dad's face.

"You're a wonderful father, Hal."

He almost couldn't hear his dad from all the loud noises. Almost couldn't see him. Almost couldn't...

"I love you," Martin said.

"I love you too, Dad," Hal replied, then his world crumbled.


"Oh my God, Hal?"

"Liste......took him out.....unconscious."

"Hal? Look, Hal, the Black Mercy is off of you, I need you to open your eyes."

Hal's eyes snapped open and he sat straight up. "Flash. My- my dad was-"

Barry pulled him into a hug. "Aw, GL. I know. I'm sorry. That plant.. It shows you your ideal world. It was never real."

Hal sat back and looked at the bright blue eyes sticking out from under the cowl. "You don't understand. Your parents were there too."

Barry looked surprised for a second, then smiled a little. His eyes shone. "Really?"

Hal smiled back. "And Wally was living with us. Jack and I were on good terms. Your parents... They were coming over for dinner."

Barry kissed Hal then, both their tears melting between them. Barry hadn't meant to, but when they pulled apart he whispered "I thought I'd never see you again."

That just made Hal kiss him back.

"Well then, I'm glad I got out. At least part of my dream world can come true."