Light in Your Eyes
Disclaimers: Characters belong to DC Comics, borrowed for fun, not for profit.
Continuity note: Year 2 of the J'onnverse, after Mindstorm. References "30/30 from Year 2.
After a long nap in his quarters, the Batman walked the hall for a bit of exercise, still oddly reluctant to return to Earth. As he passed the Observation Deck, he found Lantern curled up on a small couch, his sketchpad in his lap, staring off into space.
Kyle blinked and glanced back, "Huhn?"
Batman gestured, "I've never seen that sofa before."
"Oh. Plas rescued it, brought it up for me. Said he was tired of tripping over my constructs." Believing the conversation was over, since they never lasted long with the Dark Knight, Kyle returned to his thoughts.
Bruce suddenly knew what he was hanging around the Tower for. "Do you remember the sketch you did for J'onn?"
"Which one?" Kyle laid his pad down on the floor and stretched, watching the other man.
"The 'woman hiding inner beauty'" Bruce quoted his lover.
"He named her Kristin?" At the responding nod, the younger man shrugged. "Yeah, I remember them. Why?"
"Do you still have it?"
"Somewhere. They're either in my room here or in my studio. You want 'em?"
"Actually, I'd like you to do a little more with it, if you don't mind."
"Like what?" Intrigued, Kyle settled himself back into a comfortable position, and kept a grip on his pencil.
"A portrait perhaps?"
"Is there something in particular you want, or just use my imagination?"
Bruce thought about it for a long moment, remembering the painting hanging in the 'master bedroom' of the Cave. The center was taken from an event in real life, but the edges and some important little details were purely from Kyle's formidable mind. While it was tempting to dictate the portrait, Bruce thought he might be more pleased with letting the artist go his own way.
"Other than keeping Kristin true to life, I wasn't thinking of anything specific."
Already, a meditative look was glazing the brown eyes. "Shy, quiet. Got a deadline?"
"No." Knowing he was about to lose Lantern, Bruce asked. "Do you want to discuss payment now, or after you've finished?"
"Hmm? Nah, don't worry about it. I don't get to play very often anymore, it'll be better if there's no money riding on it."
Bruce nodded in understanding, but made a note to see that Kyle received a hefty gift certificate to a reputable supply shop in the mail.
Silence reigned for a few moments, and as the Caped Crusader was about to walk away, Kyle called him back. "Is this a surprise, or can J'onn know about it?"
"I'd prefer it was a surprise, but if you need Kristin to model, I suppose you'll have to tell him."
Kyle shrugged. "She came outta my head, I should be able to work without any help. Though I will let you know if I can't, okay?."
Bruce nodded and left the young man to his work.
Batman followed the Emerald Warrior to his quarters, where a plainly wrapped package lay on the bed. Kyle picked it up and handed to the other man. "Unless he read my mind, J'onn doesn't know this exists."
Bruce removed his cowl, and unwrapped the painting. He studied it for a long moment, as Kyle fussed with something else, then said quietly. "This is perfect."
"Good," the artist's brown eyes were warm with pleasure.
"About the payment..."
"Let's just keep things on the barter system, okay? You buy the paints, I'll use them. I don't take money from friends."
"You have to eat Kyle, and I know jobs have been scarce for you lately."
"If I'm not buying supplies, I have money for food," Lantern growled. "And who put me on the gossip train anyway?"
"You've been taking extra monitor shifts. If you had deadlines, you would spend more time in your studio or in the Hall of Paint."
Kyle wasn't surprised that Bruce knew the nickname Plasticman had started using for the Observation Deck. "I don't take money from friends," he repeated stubbornly.
"How about a patron?"
"That's for music."
"Actually no, it can be used for painters as well."
"Whatever. The answer is still no."
Kyle's face was set, so Bruce dropped the subject. He gestured to the tattered cover on the painting. "Do you have any more paper I could wrap this in?"
"Oh really?" Alana's eyebrow rose.
"Yes. It's in my study."
A quick walk down the hall, then Bruce opened the door, displaying the painting settled onto the arms of a sturdy chair. "What do you think?"
J'onn walked forward and took his first good look.
A young woman that he recognized as his Kristin persona crouched on a pale blue carpet to pick up a fallen book, presumably from the stack she carried in one arm. Instead of her brown hair hanging loose, as it had been the only time he'd wore the form, it was done in a sloppy bun, tendrils coming loose and framing her slender neck. She wore no makeup, was dressed in comfortably ratty clothes, but there was something that made you look twice at her. It took a few minutes for even J'onn to figure what it was.
It wasn't the background, what could be a library or a bookstore. It wasn't the pendant at the hollow of her throat, a blue marble that could be Earth.
It was the eyes. Even behind wire rimmed glasses, the green orbs sparkled with a mischievous intelligence that was echoed in the slight, wry twist of her lips.
Shifting forms, Kristin noticed the tiny 'KR' woven into the pattern of the carpet in one corner, confirming what she suspected. "Why did Kyle...?"
"I asked him to."
She turned to Bruce, surprised. "Why?"
He shrugged. "Because I had reason to believe I'd never see her again."
"I didn't know you'd want to."
Kristin smiled warmly, stepping into Bruce's arms and snuggling close. "Here I thought you'd prefer something a little more...classical."
He gently kissed her lips, then her forehead. "While I'd love to see what Kyle could do with a nude model, it didn't seem right for Kristin."
J'onn shifted back into his Alana form. "What about me?"
"Mmm, I'd like you unclothed anywhere."
"We'll see about that."