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The First Step

Written by Felicia Rondo

Summary: Hal Jordan is a mess over his old flame Carol Ferris, and Oliver Queen is here to drag him out of his slump! Inspiration taken from Dennis O’Neil & Neal Adams’ landmark Green Lantern Co-Starring Green Arrow comic run.

Contains: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Polyamory, Discussion of Power Dynamics, Bi-Curiosity, Bisexual Superheroes, and Oliver Queen’s Soapbox.

What looked to be a bright green shooting star flew radiantly across the glowing night sky of Coast City. Bystanders grounded on Mother Earth could only guess as to what they could see up there in the heavens. Little did they know, that shining star’s vision was set not on the clouds or the cosmos, but on the very world it soared above.

Savvier onlookers would recognize that streak of green light anywhere. None, save for the precious few who knew him well, could hazard a guess as to what the emerald defender was doing out so late at night. Neither could our hero, if the Green Lantern chose to question himself.

No, Hal Jordan had no idea how he had ended up floating over Ferris Aircraft, yet he could not deny he was indeed at the place he once worked so dutifully under the supervision of one he once believed to be the love of his life - Carol Ferris.

The lone green figure made his descent down to a hill he kept finding on nights like this, just as he kept finding his footing on its dormant grass. Gazing at it from a distance, Hal found himself sinking into a sea of regrets, what-ifs, and what-might-have-beens. Was there any way he could’ve stuck to landing in the same place, in his line of work? Was there any way he could’ve prevented the crashing and burning of his romance with Carol?

Perhaps he would’ve spent longer pondering these things, if it hadn’t been for ol’ Robin Hood.

“So this is how the great ‘emerald gladiator’ spends his off-time, huh?” came the remark of one Oliver Queen, better known as Green Arrow, shattering the miserable silence like an arrow through a vase.

“Green Arrow,” Hal acknowledged the archer, “what brings you to Coast City, so late at night?”

“Dunno, Hal, what brings you here to Mopesville, population Green Lantern?” Oliver retorted, “and give the superhero names a rest - nobody’s here but us, and you do still remember my name, don’tcha?”

Fine,” sighed Hal, pinching the bridge of his nose as the evergreen archer’s colorful personality shone through even in the dead of night, “Oliver, then. What brings you to Coast City?”

“Aw c’mon, Hal, how long have we known each other?” Oliver laughed, punching the shoulder of the still-humorless Lantern, “Call me Ollie like everyone else does, ya jackass.

Defeated, Hal gave up on questioning the blusterous bowman and shook his head, returning his gaze to Ferris Aircraft once more. He could rationally tell there had been some changes since he’d worked there, yet a part of him felt as if he could walk in the next day and get back to work like not a day had passed. Like he could find her there in her office like she always was, like nothing had changed.

“So what’s eatin’ ya, Hal?” Oliver pressed, stepping back into his line of sight once more, “‘You missing all the fuel you used to burn in our Earth’s unsuspecting atmosphere?”

“Why is it always with the—!” Hal started, before sighing in further frustration at the archer’s antics. “I just… have a lot on my mind… Ollie.”

“Hold up, don’t tell me - it’s Carol, am I right?” guessed the Green Arrow, who was responded to only with silence. “Bullseye.

“I’m really not in the mood for this,” Hal stated coldly, refusing eye contact with his longtime partner in green-colored superheroics, “why don’t you go find some corrupt rich guy to take this out on instead?”

“Ahh Hal, I really have missed hanging out with ya, old buddy,” Ollie laughed, flashing the kind of winning grin that only his closest friends knew, “you and your putting ‘corrupt’ in front of the words ‘rich guy,’ like that doesn’t go without saying.”

“Do buddies usually talk this much shit on each other? Or is that just an ‘us’ thing?” Hal said, as if he even had to ask.

“Oh, definitely an ‘us’ thing, pal,” Oliver chuckled, finding the little swear Hal managed to choke out to be as adorable as it was unconvincing. Finally, a smile snuck its way to Hal’s face, though it wouldn’t last long.

Allowing himself a moment of vulnerability, Hal shed his emotional armor and asked Oliver,

“How do you and Dinah do it, Ollie? How do you make this work, being a superhero in love?” He looked over at the bowman, who had taken his hat off and taken a seat beside him.

“To tell you the truth, Hal,” Oliver replied, scratching his head, “sometimes I ask myself that same question. The first one, anyway.” Turning his head to look back at Hal, he added, “If you want advice on how to make it work when you’re with someone who doesn’t do the superhero schtick, you can always bring it up to Supes in the next meeting with the Justice League.”

“I can’t talk to Superman like I talk with you, Ollie, it would be… just, strange—like talking to my dad about it, except if my dad could lift a truck over my head with his bare hands…” Hal explained, sitting down with him as he muttered bitterly, “… and wasn’t so much of a dick.

“I guess I’d just like to hear it from someone, that I did everything I could and it wasn’t meant to be. It sounds like an excuse when I tell it to myself, like I’m giving up and trying to make myself feel better about it… which I guess I am,” the emerald crusader thought aloud, burying his face in his palm.

“You wanna hear it from somebody? ‘Cause I’ll tell you,” Oliver began, giving Hal a glimmer of hope that he might have some bit of closure tonight, before he declared, “there was no way you could’ve made it work… with your boss.”

“I’m… sorry?” the Green Lantern looked back at Arrow quizzically.

“Did I mumble?” Oliver replied, “I’m saying there wasn’t any way you could’ve had a lasting relationship with your boss, Hal, super or not. She just had too much power over you for it to work out.”

“Well, isn’t that enlightened of you,” came Hal’s sarcastic response.

“That’s got nothing to do with it,” Oliver shot back with the pin-point precision Hal had come to expect from his archer ally, “doesn’t matter what gender they are, it’s fucked up to go and sleep with your subordinates and it was fucked up of her to try and go after you like she did.”

“Shows what you know,” Hal remarked, “if anything, I went after her.

“Ohh and she did such a beautiful job of shutting that down,” laughed Oliver, “what, does it make you feel emasculated to admit you can be taken advantage of like the rest of us saps?”

“It wasn’t like that with Carol, she’d never do anything to hurt me,” he caught himself saying, knowing damn well what he’d stepped into immediately afterward.

“Do I even need to say it?” Ollie laughed, before turning and shouting for no one in particular, “Do I even need to say it?”

Hal buried his face back in his palm, saying for whatever it was worth, “I really would rather you not—“

Star Sapphire,” Oliver hollered into the night, “archenemy of the Green Lantern, the emerald gladiator, who has tried to murder him how many times?”

“You know you’re just making a jackass out of yourself—“

“Just the one time? Twice? Do I hear three times? Did you even count how many times she tried to turn you into green peas?” Oliver cackled, getting in Hal’s snarling face, “I thought not!”

“And what is the all-knowing, all-righteous Green Arrow’s point, exactly? Besides getting on my fucking nerves,” Hal spat, eyes glowing green just the way Oliver liked, but it was time for the archer to make his point as forcefully as he could.

“Maybe put out that torch you’ve been holding out for Girlboss Ferris, give yourself some respect, and move on!” Oliver shouted, shattering the snarl on Hal’s face, “It wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t going to work out - not here, not even in fantasy dipshit land where power dynamics can’t be abused by women - so pull your sorry ass together and get the fuck over it!”

He didn’t know how he kept doing it, but no one could shake him to his core like Ollie could. He stared at Oliver for another moment, wide-eyed, then looked back down at the ground.

“Better, boy scout?” Oliver asked, with a shit-eating grin.

“Yeah, thanks,” Hal answered. He wasn’t going to get over her overnight, but he couldn’t argue with Oliver when he got fired up. He hated to admit it, but the asshole knew when he had a point, and he did.

“You’re welcome,” Oliver replied, giving Hal’s shoulder a squeeze.

Giving Ferris Aircraft one last look, Hal stood up and turned his back on it. On Carol. Taking that first step away was the hardest, but momentum helped him out with the next step, and habit carried him the rest of the way. Oliver walked alongside him, like not a day had passed since the soul-searching days.

“Want more sagely direction from yours truly?” asked Ollie.

“Don’t push it, Ollie,” Hal replied with a chuckle, “maybe quit while you’re ahead this time and you can try again another time.”

“First, shut up,” Oliver grinned, punching the chuckling Lantern’s shoulder, “second, why don’t we go out?”

Hal waited for him to add something like ‘for drinks’ after proposing they go out. He fully expected the other shoe to drop at any moment, for him to say something else to make the sentence feel less like… well, like he was asking him out.

It never came.

“… What, like a date?” Hal questioned.

“Exactly like a date!” came Oliver’s very prompt response, “How progressive of you, Hal, I’m surprised!” he added, with a sarcasm that was in distinctly short supply when he confirmed that it would be a date, which earned him an absolutely priceless look on the face of his partner in green superheroics - a partnership that sometimes, on Oliver’s favorite days, involved crime.

“I uh…” Hal started, not nearly so prompt, “… wouldn’t that be a problem with Dinah?” he asked, receiving only a knowing look from Oliver in response, “oh, right, of course you two are open,” Lantern sighed exasperatedly, “I honestly don’t know how I didn’t guess that before now.”

“No kidding! I’m way too big of an unbridled slut to stick to any one partner, Dinah and I both know it,” Oliver declared, his capacity for bluntness never ceasing to stun but endear Hal, “so what do you say? You’ve tried wallowing in self-pity and waiting for Girlboss to pick you up out of your slump, I think you’re due for a change of pace!”

The thought that Oliver’s strong words about Carol may’ve had an ulterior motive did cross Hal’s mind for a moment, but it left just as soon. He’d known Ollie too long to be able to imagine him not giving him the honest truth straight from his heart, Hal didn’t think the archer was physically-capable of operating in such bad-faith.

“I just don’t know, Ollie, that’s a pretty big change of pace…” Hal waffled, eliciting laughter from Oliver for the umpteenth time that night.

“This, from the man without fear?” Oliver questioned. Hal was pretty sure he was thinking of a different superhero, though he supposed that ‘indomitable will’ of his was looking rather… domitable. “You think I’ll bite or something?”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you, Ollie, I just…” he sighed, “you know how different we are, how much we’ve clashed in the past. I guess I don’t want our issues multiplied by throwing romance into the mix,” he admitted, even the word ‘romance’ sounding wrong as it left his lips, “what if we try this and it doesn’t work out? What if I do something wrong and I mess this up too?” He didn’t realize the ‘too’ at the end of his sentence was going to be there, it just sort of got in there before he could catch it.

“Oh here we go again,” the archer rolled his eyes, “Carol wasn’t your damn fault, Hal, and you should know by now there’s not a single thing you could do or say that’d be foolish enough to shake me off your back.

“Here, you know how to kiss, right?” asked Oliver as if he didn’t already know, grabbing Hal by the shoulder and stopping them both, “lay one on me and watch nothing bad happen after, what do you say?” He crossed his arms and stood there, waiting expectantly for Hal to make his move.

“Ollie,” Hal said, incredulously, “Oliver,” he added, using the emerald archer’s full name for emphasis, but he wasn’t budging an inch. He just stood there, with that smile and that goatee and that look in his eye. Nothing had changed about him, everything Hal was noticing had been there all along, like… like Oliver.

“… What the hell,” were the last three words Hal uttered before stepping toward Ollie and kissing him on those smug lips of his. Once they made contact, it was nothing short of electric, making Hal need to wrap his hand around the back of Oliver’s neck and lean deeper into the kiss.

For his part, Oliver did his level best to let Hal have control, at least for this kiss. There’d be plenty of other opportunities to take those lips and make them his.

With one last moan, Hal broke away. Only with distance once again separating the two from that dreamlike liplock did it sink in for Hal what he’d done, and it was surprising, but… not unpleasantly so. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath…

“I’ll think about it,” answered Hal.

That was all Oliver needed to hear.

“Attaboy, Hal,” Oliver grinned, slapping him on the back as he resumed walking onward, “there may be hope for you yet,” he said after, bringing a genuine smile to the once-heartbroken Hal’s face. “I should mention,” the lusty anarchist added, at the last, “Dinah’s one condition, we gotta let her watch.”

The End…?

Originally-published on August 17, 2022

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