Bring Him Home

by StarStorm

Disclaimers: Characters belong to DC Comics, borrowed for fun, not for profit.

Continuity note: Year 2 of the J'onnverse, after 30/30. References "Waking" from Year 1.

Rating: G

For the second time that day, Kyle Rayner picked up the large, flat package from his worktable, and for the second time, put it back down again.

He should never have picked up the pencil.

He should never have picked up the brush.

But he had.

And now, he had no idea what to do with the results.

It was, undeniably, one of his best pieces. He didn't work much with fantasy, and really, this wasn't... well... not if you were 'family.'

He had the urge to tear it apart, to burn the canvas and try to exorcise the images themselves, but resisted. It had driven him until he completed it, to the exclusion of anything else, and he was unwilling to let all that work go to waste.

Growling at himself in frustration, Kyle snatched up the painting, called his uniform out of his ring, and hit his teleportation trigger.

The Martian Manhunter was in the teleporter room when Green Lantern appeared in the tube. "I've got to talk to you," the Emerald Warrior stated without preamble as soon as he recognized the tall, green figure.

"Is there something wrong?"

"Yeah. No. Well, the world isn't going to end, but ..have you got a few minutes? I've got something you should see."

"Of course." Perplexed, J'onn followed his younger teammate out of the room and down to the living quarters.

Once safely in his room, Kyle handed over his plainly wrapped burden. "Here. You can open it."

"Do you want to tell me what it is?"

"You'll see. I just hope you can forgive me." With that cryptic statement, Kyle wrapped his arms around his middle and turned away.

More confused than anything, J'onn braced the package, which he realized contained a painting, and tore away the concealing paper from the front.


"I'm sorry. I know it's a complete breach of privacy, but I couldn't help myself. It drove me nuts for days until I finally finished it. You can have it. Burn it, tear it up, I don't care. It's yours. I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry."

"You're babbling." Still stunned, J'onn could barely get the words out.

"Uh, yeah. Not my favorite trait but I do that when I think I'm gonna die."

"Kyle." J'onn waited until the brown eyes met his. "It's beautiful. I most certainly won't destroy it, and I'm not going to kill you."

Lantern blinked. "You're not?"

"No. I'm not."

"Okay," Kyle breathed a sigh of relief." But I meant what I said y'know... about it being yours."

"I'll only accept this on two conditions."

An audible gulp, then, "What are they?"

"First, you sign it."

"I can do that," the human answered quickly. "And the other one?"

"You help me pick out a frame."

In his home in the Gobi desert, J'onn stared at the painting Kyle had gifted him with a few weeks before, wondering exactly where to display it. While beautiful, it contained elements that made it unsuitable for either Wayne Manor or the homes of any of J'onn's other personas, making it nearly impossible to place.

H'ronmeer forbid he should hang it in the Watchtower. His quarters were private enough, to be sure, but J'onn had no desire to see it destroyed the next time someone attacked the Moon Fortress.

The Last Son of Mars got to his feet and activated the transporter. It was time he showed the gift to Bruce and requested his aid.

It was dark.

That was Bruce's first thought when he saw the painting.

Bruce took in the whole effect, then went section by section, analyzing each.

Upper left corner, situated in a star-filled night sky, was Mars, as close and clears as the Earth's full moon.

Upper right corner, a distant city skyline. Unmistakably Gotham.

Lower right corner, very small, very dark green initials painted on the forest floor. 'KR.'

Lower left corner, a campfire. And if you looked closely enough, you would almost get the impression of eyes peering out of the flames.

Center. Two figures, clearly male, standing very close together, faces softly blurred by the darkness, but obviously kissing. Glint of gold in the firelight, hint of a symbol in onyx on a heavy wristlet. A silver trail on an upturned cheek, ivory fingers caressing emerald skin. An indigo cloak, gently blowing away from the pair, toward a spaceship hidden in the trees. A scalloped cape twining around its owner's legs because of the same breeze, half concealing the strong malachite arm wrapped around a waist clad in obsidian.

In one part of his mind, Bruce wondered where Kyle got the inspiration for the piece.

In another part, he knew.

The stance of the couple spoke of deep love and a reluctance to let go. The silvery trail of tears; the turning of passion into grief.

Replace the spaceship with the teleportation pad, the forest with steel walls, and it was a portrait of what he and J'onn had both believed to be their last kiss.

Without his conscious thought, his mind replaying that scene in the Watchtower, Bruce's hand reached out for his lover's. As J'onn's arm wrapped around his waist, Bruce laid his head back on a strong shoulder and said only: "I know the perfect place for this."

**** End ****