From: David Hearne <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject:
Date: Saturday, January 31, 2004 10:40 AM
TITLE: GLOW (1 of 2)
AUTHOR: DAVID HEARNE
CLASSIFICATION: Justice League/Sandman Crossover
SUMMARY: "Your heart is in my hands. Feel me squeeze."
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Before he met the androgynous person with the golden eyes, Green Lantern was inclined to dismiss the Flash's story as ridiculous.Adventures with the Justice League had accustomed the fantastic, but...the living embodiment of Delirium? Really?
"That's what the dog told me," Flash insisted.
"Don't you start, John. It's not like we haven't seen crazier things."
"I know that," Green Lantern snapped. "But, still, your story doesn't make sense. Why are the Endless after us?"
"The ways of the Endless can be strange," Wonder Woman said.
Everybody turned to the amazon. The Justice League had gathered in the control room of the Watchtower. Most of them were standing and gathered in a loose circle. Batman was sitting at a computer, seemingly attentive only to his own work but not missing a word anybody was saying.
"You've heard of them?" Flash said in surprise.
"There are some references to them in my people's stories."
"As in mine," J'Onn J'Onzz said in his deep voice.
"Whoa," Flash said. "They've heard about these people on Themyscira and Mars? How come I've never heard of them?"
"The list of things you don't know," Hawkgirl said with a little smile, "is pretty lengthy."
"On my world they were called V'Andathac," J'Onn continued. "They are very old gods -- perhaps the oldest."
"No," Wonder Woman said. "They're not gods. At least..." She shook her head. "Our stories about them are very vague. The Endless are described as beings of great power, yet at the same time they seem to be prisoners of their own fates."
"That still doesn't explain why they're 'testing' us," Green Lantern said. "Or how we can fight back."
"We don't." Batman had finally spoken. He turned in his chair and walked toward the others. As usual, his grim voice made them feel uneasy.
"I've just been comparing notes with Jason Blood. According to him, a magician's circle in England actually captured one of the Endless, but they paid a big price for it."
He slowly looked over the Justice League. "This isn't a situation where we can smash our way to victory," he warned and looked directly at Hawkgirl. "Some of us are going to have to do some actual thinking."
Hawkgirl clenched a fist. "What are you say..."
Green Lantern jumped in. "You're out of line, mister!"
This was when Superman spoke. He had been patiently listening to everyone, arms folded across his chest. He decided that now would be a good time to play leader. "All right, all right. Let's keep focused. Now Flash's story leaves some questions open, but I believe him..."
"Thanks, Big S."
"And while I wouldn't have phrased it just like Batman did..." Superman raised an eyebrow in the direction of Bruce Wayne. The latter's hooded face remained impenetrable. "...he's right that punching things doesn't sound needed in this situation."
"What is needed?" J'Onn asked.
"Caution. If you meet someone unusual, demand to know who they are. And understand exactly the nature of your test."
After the meeting was over, Green Lantern took Hawkgirl back to Earth. As they descended in a green energy bubble, she grumbled, "I don't think? He wouldn't want to know what I think."
"You know Batman. He can never make a point without sounding superior."
Hawkgirl quickly turned to Green Lantern. "Are you saying that he had one? That I act without thinking?"
"I'm saying...that I have first-hand evidence of how passionate you can be."
Hawkgirl's scowl became a smile. "And, of course, you're Mister Discipline."
Green Lantern smiled back. "Yes, ma'am."
She moved to his back and wrapped her arms around his chest. "Mister Marine. Mister Straight Arrow. Mister..."
"Easy, girl, I'm driving."
He wasn't driving for long. When he awoke the next morning, he turned in his bed with the expection of seeing a beautiful face. And he did see a beautiful face, only it didn't belong to a woman.
At least, he wasn't sure that the other person was a woman. The face's skin appeared soft, but also hard as well. Athletic muscles could be seen in a slim arm. A blanket covered the chest, leaving only a handsome pair of shoulders visible.
He/she smiled at Green Lantern with sensual lips. "One-two-threefour," he/she sang softly, "I love the Marine Corp..."
Green Lantern leapt out of bed and grabbed his power ring from a night stand. "Where's Shayera?" he yelled as he slipped on the ring.
"Relax, John," the visitor said. "She already left. By the way, you do snore."
Green Lantern aimed his ring at the androgynous face. "I don't know who you are...or what you are, but I don't take kindly to strange people in my bed."
The visitor laughed. The laughter sounded like a violin -- melodic and teasing, but with a tinge of shrillness. "I have always been in your bed. In fact, I was there in the bedroom of Patricia O'Shea sixteen years ago when her parents were out of town."
Stunned, Green Lantern slowly lowered his hand. "You always had a taste for redheads," the visitor noted.
Desire plucked a cigarette and a match from the air. "You've heard of me," he/she said as he/she lit up the cigarette.
"Only recently. A friend of mine says that your name is mentioned in the oldest of legends."
Desire contentedly blew out a mouthful of smoke. "Coming from a legend such as yourself, I take that as a compliment."
"Of course you are. That's why I'm here."
"You mean, the test."
"What does that have to do with legends?"
Desire blew smoke toward the ceiling.
"You're not going to tell me."
"The rules don't require me to do so."
Green Lantern sighed. "Mind if I get some pants on?"
Desire looked up and down Green Lantern's body. "I certainly do mind."
Green Lantern grabbed a pair of pants off the floor and sat on the bed's edge. "As I understand it," he said as he slid his legs into the pants, "I'm supposed to resist you. I can't feel desire."
"You're not supposed to act on your desire. Take your lovely friend in red, for example. He would have willingly allowed himself to be trapped in perpetual motion, forever. Just for the sake of delirium."
"Okay. So what am I supposed to not..."
Green Lantern turned to Desire. He/She smiled.
"I see. How long am I supposed to keep away from her?"
Desire laughed at Green Lantern's appalled expression. "Just joking," he/she assured Lantern. "A week will suffice."
Green Lantern released a long breath. "I can do that."
"No. You can't."
Green Lantern zipped up his pants. "I've gone without it for much longer. I've had to do so, in Iraq and Bosnia and..."
Desire leaned toward Green Lantern, one hand holding the cigarette and the other holding the sheet against his/her milky white chest. Green Lantern kept still on the bed, even though the gaze of those golden eyes seemed to burn his skin.
"You think that my influence stops at Parris Island, Mister Stewart?" Desire's voice was now overtly cruel. "You think that the bellow of a drill sergeant and the march of a platoon can drown out my voice? You think that Duty can overcome me? Let me tell you -- I have met Duty. He is a snivelling, frightened old man whom I can beat down with a flick of my eyelashes.
"I did not start this game. Up until now, I had no real interest in it, besides some mild amusement. But you will not dismiss me so lightly. I have broken stronger men than you and left them crying on the doorsteps of married women, kneeling in dog collars, and waiting on the edges of playgrounds. Before the week is over, you will taste the winged girl on your lips.
"Your heart is in my hands. Feel me squeeze."
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to David Hearne
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