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Hal regretted having Hand on the ship as soon as it took off from the planet they'd found him on. He creeped everyone out, even Trapper, and showed up in the most random places.

It was a little pathetic, Hal would admit only to himself, that those 'random places' were 'wherever he knew Hal would be'.

Which was why it wasn't completely surprising when Hal walked into his room to find Hand sprawled on his bunk, propped up with his hands under his head. Hal got a flash of deja vu, but shook it off, instead pointing angrily at the door as it slid shut.


"You don't really mean that." Hand gave him one of his weird smiles and a shiver ran down Hal's spine.

The black ring was glowing ominously in the low light and something deep within Hal was threatening to respond. He remembered the Book of Black, the prophecy he knew had not yet been fulfilled, and swallowed. "I do. This is my personal quarters, on my ship. Get out."

Hand held out his hand--the hand with the ring, Hal thought, in dread--and beckoned him closer. "You're the only thing I can touch without ruining." Hand was pouting, now, and if it had been on someone slightly less evil, Hal might have found that compelling. "You've always been meant to serve the Black. Death's followed you all your life, just as it's followed me."

"No." Because it wasn't true, even if it was, even if Hal had experienced what it was like to not flow within linear time for long enough that 'all his life' was something very different than it seemed.

"Aren't you lonely? Your Corps is gone, you never go back home. You're stuck on this ship with two people who are using you as much as you're using them."

"Three. There's three of you, now."

Hand slid to a sitting position, then stood, and Hal refused to back away as he walked right up to him. He blinked, then Hand's arm was raised, his hand inches from Hal's cheek. He could almost hear the call of the Black, feel Nekron's attention shifting towards him again.

"No," he insisted, again, forcing Hand's arm away.

The movement cost him, left his body open, let Hand crowd up against him their lips together. Hal let out an enraged sound, but he couldn't stop it. There was something peaceful, familiar, about the stillness of the power that settled around him.

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Jill never said "It's not your fault," but she didn't have to. While the League felt bad about what happened, while Ollie blamed him for taking stupid risks, Jill didn't say a word.

Because she understood.

And that's why it would never last between them--they were too much alike.

But just because she understood, just because she would have never flown with the ring, either, didn't mean it was the same. They had hurt her, tried to do worse to her, in order to get at Hal. Hal who had been helpless, who had been purposefully helpless. Who was supposed to be a hero.

Who still woke up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat, screaming in impotent rage. Who still ran his hands over every inch of her skin, tracing the new scars, hating himself even as he tried to give her better memories for every line.

Hal told himself they couldn't last because they were too much alike. Would tell her that, eventually, and everyone who bothered asking. Deep down, he feared they could have lasted, that Jill could have been The One in a way that Carol with her different needs from a relationship never could be. It wasn't their similarities that ruined them, it was the fact Hal couldn't look at her without checking that the weight of his ring was still around his finger.

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"Luthor's been feeding you information, hasn't he?"

Bruce turned with a start, fists raised, heart clenching when he realized who it was behind him. This close, alone, with so few weapons, Yellow Lantern could kill him in a minute.

"Don't, Bruce, just...I want to help, too."

"What do you care? You've been gungho behind Superman this entire time."

Hal looked remorseful, but Bruce knew that didn't mean anything. Since getting the Yellow Ring, Hal had only gotten better at lying. "I know. And I'm not doing it for myself. Barry and Carol are all I have left, Bruce, and Barry...he's not going to last much longer. I have to stop him from questioning Kal, from pissing him off, on a daily basis now. I can't let him end up like Ollie, Bruce. If you don't believe there's any good left in me, at least believe that I'd never want Barry dead."

And Bruce could. He'd often thought if just one of them had taken his side, the other would have followed, no matter how they felt. Hal had to deal with Sinestro and the constant reminder of their twisted betrayals, he knew better than to think Kal would let Barry leave unscathed, if he tried.

"Just like that, you'll help me take him down?"

"I'll do what I can. I can get you information without going through the usual channels or worrying about eavesdroppers." He held up his fist, ring glowing a little brighter, to emphasize that point.

"For Barry."

Hal stared at him, eyes flickering with emotions too fast to pick out. He lowered his fist, let the power fade away until he was standing there in a pair of jeans and a sweater, face more open that Bruce had seen in any recent footage. "I know we all hurt you. No one more than Clark, but...we were your friends, too." He hesitated, took a few steps closer, which Bruce allowed despite himself. "I had always thought, someday, I'd work up the nerve to be more."

It could be a lie, some twisted honeytrap and Hal too far gone to protest, but Bruce didn't want to believe that. There had been good in all of his friends, too deeply ingrained to really be gone. "It's too late."

Hal flinched, nodded. "I know that. I'm just saying...we were always more than just teammates. Let me help you. Let me help Barry. Lock me away when this is over--I've done things, Bruce, so many awful things, I'd deserve it." He reached out, the bare hand, cupped Bruce's cheek. "Let me pretend I still know how to do the right thing."

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Hal drifted. There was no way of tracking time within the Source Wall, there was simply existing. Or something like that.

It wasn't quite like sleeping, there were whispers of voices he could almost here, flickers of power he could almost feel. Frustrating, just beyond his reach.

Until, at some point, there was light.

He burst forward from the wall, gasping for breath like a newborn. Arms held him close, steadied him as he adjust to freedom and movement, to stimuli, once more.

When his eyes could handle the light of the distant stars, he focused on his savior. Even though his brain felt slow, still, he knew instantly who it was, and smiled as he leaned against his chest again.

"I knew you wouldn't leave me there," he rasped, enjoying the way a hand rubbed circles on his back, even as the pain from his unhealed wound started to register again.

"We're meant to be together. Even when we drift apart, fate finds a way to reunite us." The words faded as the strength left Hal's body, the last breaths of life he'd had before his father had placed him on the Source Wall spent.

Hal Jordan of Earth

The familiar tug not just at his mind, but his soul, and he willingly gave in.


When he opened his eyes again, Sinestro was smiling down at him.

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Martin Jordan’s wake was mostly a blur for Hal. The closed casket sitting in front of him, the tears drowning out his sight, the way his brothers shook against him as Jack tried so hard to be strong for them and their mother.

He’d slipped away as soon as he got the chance, slinking deeper into the funeral home until he was alone. Curling up on the chair, he didn’t let himself think of the last time he saw his father, or the explosion, or anything. He just stared blankly forward, studying a crack in the wood panelling.

“You’re not supposed to be back here,” a timid voice broke through the silence and Hal looked up at a boy he’d never seen before.

“I didn’t want to stay there, with all those people.”

The boy gave a little, lopsided smile. “I understand that.” He sat down in the chair next to Hal’s, watching him intently, like he’d never gotten this close to a mourning person before. “It’s your father in the coffin, isn’t it?”

Hal flinched, but nodded. “Yeah. He…I saw him die,” he whispered.

The boy leaned closer, eyes widening. “I’ve never seen anyone die before.”

There was something in his voice that made Hal feel uneasy, but he didn’t know how to name it. Instead, he haltingly told the story when prompted, tears starting to stream down his face when he got to the end. The boy set a hand on his shoulder and Hal didn’t know if it was supposed to be comforting, but he took it.

“He was never scared,” Hal finally whispered, at the end. “He loved flying, it was his life. I…want to be just like him. I don’t want to be scared, not even of death.”

“Death isn’t scary,” the boy agreed, smiling broader now. He was about to say more, when the door opened again.

“William, what are you–oh, Mr. Jordan, your mother’s been asking for you.”

An adult,the funeral director, crouched in front of Hal’s chair, smiling gently. When he held out a hand, Hal took it, allowing himself to be led away. When he looked back at the boy, he was still staring at Hal as if he couldn’t take his eyes away.

Hal forgot about the encounter entirely by the funeral.

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Hal and Eve still talked. Maybe they weren't supposed to, maybe moving on meant leaving each other on the wayside, but that hadn't felt right.

They still spoke, sometimes she called late at night to rant about her day, Hal not always sympathetic, but never telling her to stop.

Sometimes he dropped by unexpectedly, floating through a balcony door that had a keypad lock on the outside that probably confused the hell out of guests. He'd raid the kitchen for a sandwich or leftovers and lounge on her couch watching her ridiculous number of tv channels waiting for her to return. When she did, she'd steal his drink and lounge beside him, waiting silently until he could bring himself to talk about the latest tragedy in his life.

Carol might have known him the longest, but Eve had never known a Hal Jordan that wasn't also Green Lantern. The older they got, the more Carol pushed for that normal happy ending she imagined for them, the more Hal appreciated that about Eve.

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Sinestro had warned him. At the time, Hal thought it was possessiveness that drove Sinestro, the belief that if he kept Hal away from anyone else that Hal would come falling back into his arms. Now, he wasn't so sure.

He shifted, but it only made the wound worse, drawing a hoarse cry from him. From above, Dez twisted the construct sword he'd shoved through Hal's shoulder, a new wave of blood falling to the floor.

"I'm sorry," Hal gasped, good hand scrabbling for something to hold onto, but only finding smooth rock.

Dez had drawn him out here when Hal's ring was almost depleted, knowing how much Hal hated charging, how he always waited until the last minute to do it. The fight had been brief, a surprise attack.

"Just take-take it out and we'll talk, okay?"

"You wanted to leave me."

"No! No, that wasn't what I was saying." Hal gasped for breath, fighting through the pain, wishing he'd reserved enough energy in his ring to call for help. He knew Sinestro would come, would probably tear Dez apart for this. "It's a--cultural misunderstanding. I meant, we should take time away from each other, so we could decide how we wanted our relationship to go! Because it's hard, isn't it, to think clearly when the person you--care about is around?"

"That's true," Dez conceded, crouching down beside Hal. "You're so distracting." He caressed Hal's cheek, smiling like he wasn't in the process of torturing him.

"See? That's all. No actual leaving involved." Hal managed a shaky smile. "I know you've been hurt, but I'm not like that. I wouldn't leave you for something stupid." No, he was going to leave him for something very, very serious.

The construct dissolved and somehow that hurt just as much as when it had slid through his flesh. Dez picked him up, flying towards the settlement. Soranik would be able to patch Hal up, he'd recover soon enough, but he'd have to be careful. Any wrong move and Dez could go from just causing Hal pain to outright killing him.

He hadn't been lying when he said he knew about Dez's past--Sinestro had made sure to inform him of it when he started returning Dez's interested looks. He'd been an idiot not to factor in how much worse he'd be, with the Yellow energy flowing through him for so long.

Not for the first time, Hal found himself wishing he’d paid attention to what Sinestro had been telling him.

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Hal crossed his arms and glared down at Hand. “I’m dead, not gone. Stop touching me.“

Hand looked up, but didn’t stop touching Hal’s corpse, fingers trailing over his bared chest. He grinned. "You could stop me. Come over here, pull me off you.” As if to up the dare, he climbed onto the bed he’d placed Hal’s corpse on, straddling it.

Teeth clenching, Hal shook his head. “I know what you’re trying to do–if you get ahold of me, you’ll force me into that dead body, and animate that so I could be some creepy sex toy. I’m not going to do that.”

Shrugging, Hand started undoing the corpse’s fly, drawing a panicked noise from Hal’s throat. “I’m going to keep this body no matter what, Hal. But do you just want to watch? Don’t you want a say in what I’m doing?”

Shuddering, Hal floated forward. It was a horrible idea, but Hal couldn’t just let Hand touch him like that. “Would you listen to what I wanted?”

Turning his attention back to Hal’s body, Hand’s touch trailed up, until he was cupping Hal’s cheeks. “You’d be perfect, how could I deny you anything?” he teased.

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Hal watched Parallax sleeping, Sinestro’s chest moving up and down as the parasite escaped into the unnecessary release of unconsciousness. He shifted closer, resting his ear against the pounding heart below, reminding himself that no matter what, Sinestro was still in there, somewhere.

“You can only take,” he whispered, “you took my sanity, you took my reputation…you’re taking one of the people I love. But it’s in your nature, isn’t it? That’s what emotions do, they twist and destroy.”

His hand rested on Sinestro’s waist, his own eyes closing as he relaxed against the familiar body. “So why don’t I hate you?”

“My precious Hal,” Parallax rumbled, as Hal’s eyes snapped open. One clawed hand rested between his shoulder blades, the other on the back of his head, trapping him. “We’re meant to be, we always were. I’m written on your soul. That means so much more than the ‘love’ you claim for others.”

Maybe that was true, because even if he could, Hal didn’t think he’d move away.

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“You made your choice,” Hal stated, colder than he meant to sound. “You wanted Carol, you were with Carol. It’s not my fault things didn’t work out.”

“Hal, I know you’re still upset we got together and I know it was a shitty thing to do, but it made me realize that it wasn’t about Carol, what I felt was about you.”

That, Hal thought, hurt more than it should have. He’d always thought there was something between the two of them, but he’d pushed that away, buried it deep, after Kyle had flounced off with his ex. There weren’t many better ways of showing you didn’t want someone than that, in Hal’s mind.

“Until things don’t work out between us? Then you’ll go to the next idiot who thinks you’re in love with them?” Hal snorted. “I know how those rings work, you might not be a full-fledged Star Sapphire, but we both know why you’re desperate to have someone. I won’t be your stand-in.“

“No, Hal, that’s not–”

“Didn’t you hear me, Kyle? I said fuck off.” He didn’t wait for more excuses, just stalked back to his ship, wishing he could have the satisfaction of slamming a door.

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“You’re so beautiful like this,” Hand whispered, running the back of his fingers down Hal’s cold cheek. “So still, so perfect. All that light, it was unnatural. Not like this.”

Leaning in, he took a deep breath, the scents of ash and dried blood not covering up that basic scent he’d come to recognize as Hal. “You’ll see, soon, that this is how you were always meant to be. How we always should have been.”

He hesitated, eyes flitting around them, then quickly pressed his chapped lips against Hal’s, sighing in pleasure at even that little intimacy. “We’ll be so good together. You won’t be able to leave, won’t be able to go back to those people who use you, abandon you. You’ll always be mine.”

Noise distracted him and he scowled, standing up silently and floating away, not taking his eyes off Hal’s body until he had to make a turn around a building.

If Kyle hadn’t been with the group that found Hal, they knew he wouldn’t have survived. He was happy for that, remembering the barely-registered words that Black Hand had said, and knowing that he didn’t want death to come for him for a very long time.

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Hal crossed his arms and glared down at Hand. “I’m dead, not gone. Stop touching me.“

Hand looked up, but didn’t stop touching Hal’s corpse, fingers trailing over his bared chest. He grinned. “You could stop me. Come over here, pull me off you.” As if to up the dare, he climbed onto the bed he’d placed Hal’s corpse on, straddling it.

Teeth clenching, Hal shook his head. “I know what you’re trying to do–if you get ahold of me, you’ll force me into that dead body, and animate that so I could be some creepy sex toy. I’m not going to do that.”

Shrugging, Hand started undoing the corpse’s fly, drawing a panicked noise from Hal’s throat. “I’m going to keep this body no matter what, Hal. But do you just want to watch? Don’t you want a say in what I’m doing?”

Shuddering, Hal floated forward. It was a horrible idea, but Hal couldn’t just let Hand touch him like that. “Would you listen to what I wanted?”

Turning his attention back to Hal’s body, Hand’s touch trailed up, until he was cupping Hal’s cheeks. “You’d be perfect, how could I deny you anything?” he teased.

Chapter Text

New Korugar was a depressing place, Hal could tell that even as he stayed close to the edges of the settlement, attempting to avoid detection. He’d heard that Soranik was there, was still there, and hoped she’d know what had happened to the Green Lantern Corps.

He finally landed in a small clearing, but as soon as his feet touched the ground, a shock of energy flowed through him, knocking him down. The gauntlet groaned as he drew in enough power to stumble to a nearby cave, needing shelter to deal with whatever this was.


That voice, it seemed so familiar. He wasn’t really hearing it, not with his ears, he realized. What had Sinestro done to this place?

“My precious Hal.”

Tremors started, cracks forming in the ground around him. The entire planet shaking from the effect. Yellow light shown through the largest one near Hal, before the familiar claws appeared.

“I have missed you so, my Hal. I knew you’d return to me.”

“No, I–” he couldn’t finesse the gauntlet the way he could a ring, couldn’t use it to force Parallax’s power away. Soon his scream echoed through the cave as Parallax crawled inside of him again, and then…he felt peace, finally. No more loneliness, no more abandonments. Parallax had him and was never going to let him go again.

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"Where is your ring?"

Hal turned, shield up and construct gun ready to shoot, before he registered who had spoken. "I guess the rumors are true." It wasn't him, not even past-him, he didn't remember this encounter ever happening. But it would be silly to assume there weren't other worlds out there, with other Hals, ones who didn't sacrifice themselves to save the Earth. "I don't have a ring. The rings are gone."

"Oa's gone. The Corps is gone. What did you do?"

Hal snorted. "You're one to talk."

Parallax glanced around the empty desert and Hal knew he would sense the power that had been used there, that hadn't fully dissipated. He could probably even tell why, if he was half as powerful as Hal had been back then.

"Why the tantrum?" he sneered, arms crossed and imposing. To anyone that wasn't a version of him, that didn't know how inherently broken a Hal must be, to be a Parallax.

"They--their leader--they," Hal cut himself off, looked away. "They're terrorists. They attacked Coast City. Howard was hurt."

When he looked back, the default pompous expression on Parallax's face had turned to fury. "You let Howard get hurt?"

"I didn't let anything happen. It just did, the way these things do. But I'm not going to let them get away with this. I'm going to stop them--and make them all pay."

Parallax narrowed his eyes, floating closer. Hal let his constructs dissipate, curious. "The Corps is gone. Perhaps you could use...some assistance. No one can hurt a Jordan and be allowed to live."

"I didn't say I was going to kill him," Hal replied, dully.

Parallax only smiled, showing off teeth just a little too sharp, as he set his hands on Hal's shoulders and leaned in close. "You can't lie to yourself, Harold. When you think of Howard's tiny body, the injuries he's sustained, don't you just want to rend someone to pieces? Make sure no one else, not on this planet, not in this universe, ever thinks of hurting your family again?"

The hands slid back, down, wrapping around Hal's back, almost holding him. And he was desperate enough that even Parallax's false comfort was welcome. "And then what?"

"What do you mean?"

"After we kill Sonar, what are you going to do to me?"

Parallax watched him with heavy lidded eyes, expression turning wicked. "That depends entirely on you."

Chapter Text

He couldn’t find Kyle. Kyle was the best choice of who to ask, but he had no idea where he was. He couldn’t find Kyle and he was as close to panicking as he’d been in years.

So he made a choice. Probably a bad one. He just…couldn’t see any other options.

“…and then I turned into a giant, translucent version of myself,” he finished, looking down the gaping hole into the center of the planet.

To any observer (and there were many, hiding around corners or, in Sinestro’s case, surreptiously watching through survelliance equipment he had around the base) there seemed to be a few minutes of silence. Then, suddenly, it was broken, causing a few of them to jerk back, stumbling over each other in an attempt to stay unobserved.

“No. Absolutely not.” Hal huffed, floating away. “My identity crisis is not just an excuse to have glowy fifth dimensional sex, Parallax.”

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Sinestro’s eyes narrowed at Hal, tracking his every movement as the other floated to the ground of New Korugar. “What are you doing here.”

“Oh, I heard Soranik was in charge, now, so I came to see if she was still recruiting.”


Hal took pity on Sinestro and patted his shoulder. “I’m lying, I’m not taking a yellow ring from her, when I wouldn’t take one from you.”

Now Sinestro was glaring. “Your attempt at humor is pathetic.”

“And your insecurity is adorable.” He swooped in, pressing what should have been a quick kiss to Sinestro’s lips, but instead Sinestro caught hold of him, deepening the kiss until Hal was practically melting into him.

“You know,” Hal began, eyes bright, when he had to come up for air, “you’re no longer leader of your Corps, I’m no longer leader of mine…it looks like we might have some free time.”

“Did you come here just to confirm the rumors?”

“I came here to comfort you, actually, I thought you’d be off somewhere throwing a fit. I should have known this would be exactly what you wanted.” He gave Sinestro a hard poke in the side. “What are you plotting, this time?”

Sinestro smirked down at him. "You’re out of practice, Jordan. You’re going to have to work out this plot on your own. I can’t be remiss in my duties as your mentor.”

Hal snorted. “Mentor. Right. That’s what we’re calling it today? I was hoping more along the lines of ‘lover’.”

After actually saying the word outloud, Hal didn’t get much of a chance to speak, or think, for the rest of the day.

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"Ten years."

"Excuse me?" Sinestro turns to face Hal, one eyebrow arched. He could have been surprised at Hal’s sudden appearance, but he’d probably had plenty of warning.

"They're saying we lost that. That none of us even noticed, but there's ten years of our lives missing. Plucked away, the rest hastily stitched together like me trying to patch a pair of my jeans."

He floated to a stop in front of Sinestro, brow furrowed. "I just...I can't help wondering. If we'd had ten years to go through all of this, if we'd had ten years to get over everything...would we be different?" Would we be MORE, he stopped himself from saying.

"Or," Sinestro countered, "our hostility would have lasted longer. Dragged out over those ten years. Our...friendship dying from the strain."

That was worse, but Hal couldn't imagine that. Ten years was such a long time--twice as long as they thought they'd known each other. How could they have not reconciled?

Hal floated closer still, until they were almost touching, until he could feel Sinestro's breath against his lips. "No. It wouldn't. After everything we've been through, it hasn't. That time that was stolen, it was time we could have been together. Time I want back."


But Hal kissed him, stopping whatever depressing thought he was about to voice. Hal had a surrogate nephew he'd forgotten, deep friendships that felt like nothing, and he wasn't going to let any of that go now that he knew they'd existed. And even if the missing time had been better for his relationship with Sinestro, he wasn't going to dwell on it. He wasn't going to wait until they lost more time and each other.

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Bruce saved him. Hal could admit that. Bruce had saved him and at the time Hal had hated him for it.

Of course he’d known Sinestro was bad for him, they fought against each other just as much (perhaps more) than they fought side by side. And just like a part of Sinestro would never forgive Hal for his ‘betrayal’ that led to his imprisonment, a part of Hal would never forgive Sinestro for offering Hal up as a host for Parallax. Nevermind their differing philosophies, Sinestro’s obsessive need for control, Hal’s commitment issues…the list went on and on. But Hal had believed somehow they could conquer that. After all, they loved each other, right?

Sinestro had been bad for Hal (and Hal, in his own way, had probably been awful for Sinestro). Bruce had just pointed that out, had broken down the details and torn into Hal during a heated disagreement. That had been Hal’s doing, he was the one that had brought up Bruce’s personal life. He should have known Bruce would know exactly where to strike and have the inside information to back it up.

It had hurt Hal at the time, but after that, it had made him think. He’d never realized what his relationship looked like to his teammates, seeing it from their perspective made him realize what it really was. Unhealthy. Maybe even abusive.

The break-up had proven that. With no battle as an excuse, no my-side-vs-your-side fight to make them fall apart, Sinestro hadn’t been so willing to accept it. Backup had been close by, thankfully, and Hal had limped back to Earth with Guy’s help (a humiliation to add to the list of things he couldn’t forgive Thaal for). Bruce hadn’t used it to mock Hal, had been…sensitive, even, in ways Hal hadn’t known was possible. After that, it was easy to slip flirtations into casual conversation, to quietly dare Bruce to make a move.

Neither of them were good at backing down from dares, after all. But in the dark of the early morning hours, with Bruce’s freshly-showered body slipping under the covers to join Hal, they both had to admit this had become more than just a dare, or even kindred spirits seeking each other out. They fit together, complimented each other, like the light to the dark. After all, they both had experience twisting tragedies into something productive.

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“You took too long,” Sinestro insisted as soon as Hal landed on his balcony.

“I didn’t take as long as I should. I was in a hurry and barely paying attention to what I was doing, Jessica and Simon are probably going to implode the Milky Way tomorrow.” He winced, he had spent the entire flight there thinking about what a stupid move he’d made back there, but he knew that turning around to fix it would just make Sinestro angry and then who knew what would happen.

Sneering, Sinestro wrapped soft yellow rope around Hal’s shoulders, dragging him closer. “I believe I am the one who decides what is proper behavior here, pet,” he declared, as one of the ropes slithered up Hal’s back to wrap around his neck, fading into a collar.

Between Sinestro’s tone and the bondage, Hal was already hard as a rock, completely forgetting what he’d been worrying about before.

“Don’t call me ‘pet’,” he declared, loud enough that the guards at the door would hear.

Sinestro narrowed his eyes and tugged, forcing Hal to his knees. “I see someone’s little brush with freedom has gone to their head.” He gently petted Hal’s hair as the ropes grew thorns, digging through his uniform until it fell to the floor in tatters, tearing at his flesh. “Don’t worry, you’ll be a good boy soon enough.”

Hal was sure Simon and Jessica would be fine. They’d probably end the week in better shape than he did.