With This Ring
By: C.W. Blaine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Note: This story is a re-writing of the short story Returns ©1991 by C.W. Blaine. The story has been altered to accommodate the characters and situations.
DISCLAIMER: All characters contained herein are ©2000 by DC Comics Inc. and are used here without permission for non-profit, fan-fiction entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended. This original piece of fan fiction is copyright © 2000 by C.W. Blaine. All questions and comments should be directed to the e-mail address above.
Why am I on this train, when I can just fly?
Kyle Rayner pondered the thought as he stared aimlessly out of the window of the train, which was carrying him across the country. It was not a trip he had planned on taking; in fact, deep inside he wanted to avoid the trip all together. Each passing mile of track brought him closer to his destination, to the place where it had all began.
He took note of the scenery and nostalgia overtook him momentarily. How many times had he been back to California since he had moved to New York? It was so easy, it only took minutes.
He looked down at the green ring on his left hand. It was his power ring; not the only one he possessed, but it was the one that was truly his. Had it been over two years since that night, that fateful night when he stepped out into the alleyway behind his favorite bar to get some fresh air. He could almost smell the ozone from the sudden appearance of the little blue man with the white hair and red robe.
The little blue man had given him this ring.
It wasn't just a cute piece of jewelry; it was perhaps the single most powerful weapon in the universe. The ring made him Green Lantern.
What was Green Lantern, he thought, watching the sun starting to set? He tried to follow the path of the star as it made its way down, something he was fond of doing as a child on long road trips with his mom. Green Lantern, the name, was much like the sun. At one time, starting centuries before, a race of beings called the Oans created the Green Lantern Corps as a way to promote order in the galaxy. Their emerald light shone on all of creation for centuries.
Until Hal Jordan extinguished that flame, just as the horizon enveloped the setting sun.
Hal Jordan had been the greatest of all of the members of the Corps, a natural leader who prompted people to follow him into any circumstance. He brought a new sense of honor and valor to the Corps.
Kyle shivered slightly as he reviewed in his mind the story of what Jordan had done. How, distressed over the destruction of his home of Coast City, he had turned on the Guardians, the name the Oans had taken on, slaying nearly all of them as well as most of the members of the Corps. In desperation, the lone surviving Guardian had traveled to Earth in hopes of finding a successor, someone to recreate the Corps.
Kyle still remembered stumbling into the apartment he shared with Alex, his girlfriend, moving as if he was drunk. He had rambled the tale of his encounter and she had listened with that skeptical look on her face.
God, how he missed that look.
It was Alex that had convinced him to keep the ring, to try being Green Lantern. She had been his motivation in that time of need, just as she had always been. He never quite understood what a beautiful and intelligent woman had seen in a struggling artist like him. He had no money, no real family and no real future. She was always there, though, supporting him, guiding him through the rapids that his canoe of life took him to.
He had loved her so much.
He looked down at his power ring and then reached into hi jacket pocket to pull out a similar one. It was slightly different in appearance, but majorly different in function. Both were able to produce physical manifestations of the user's will, but Kyle's personal ring had no weaknesses, save for a lack of imagination.
The other ring he had received from Hal Jordan, when they had met in the past. It was capable of producing more power rings and batteries, allowing him to recreate the Corps.
How many times had Kyle looked at his power ring and wondered what else he could do with it?
The criminal known as Major Force, who was looking for his ring had, viciously murdered Alex, his love and light. In the end, even when her life was threatened, she hadn't betrayed him.
Wasn't it feasible that with his ring, and without the Guardians to interfere, he could bring Alex back? Wasn't the ring powered by his will alone and not by the moral guidelines of eons old little blue men? Could he actually succeed where Jordan had failed?
He walked through the cemetery quietly, taking care to stick to the path and not to walk on the graves. He was superstitious about that; always had been. He didn't understand why, but somehow he believed that people would just know when you walked on their final resting place, trampling on them like they were so much dirt. He didn't like that idea; it made him think of his own mortality.
He knew exactly where her grave was, even though he hadn't been back her for quite a while. He had tired to move on, first with Donna and now with Jennie, but in the back of his mind, he knew that something was keeping him from moving forward.
It all came down to the ring.
His life seemed to become a ring, a never-ending loop of pain and misery. When he thought his relationship with Donna Troy was ready to progress to the next level, it ended. When he thought he had succeeded in creating a new Corps, he realized that he had given rings to persons not ready for it. When he thought he would finally get that assignment to that one comic that would allow his art career to take off, his JLA duties would take him a way from it.
He stopped in front of the gravestone and read it, even though he had memorized every line previously. It was starting to grow moss around it, indicating that the cycle of life was starting over.
He sighed and reached into his pocket, fingering a ring. He was shaking and thought he might be cold, but then reasoned he was in Los Angeles. He wasn't cold. He was scared.
"Alex," he began, trying to force the forming tears back in his eyes. "I know it's been awhile, and I don't really have an excuse. Actually, I've been avoiding this issue for some time now, wondering if it really was the right thing to do. I thought if I moved far enough away, I could adjust to not having you around, to just leaving things unfinished. I was stupid for thinking that. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you and what could have been and…."
He stopped and wiped his eyes on his shirtsleeve. "I'm so sorry I wasn't there, but I didn't know. I really didn't."
He pulled the ring out of his pocket. "I've learned the hard way that some things can't be changed, and some other things can. I've debated and debated over and over in my head if I should do this. I guess some people would think I was stupid or crazy; I can just hear West now…" he said, referring to fellow JLA member Wally West, also known as the Flash.
Kyle stuck his own ring out in front of him and concentrated and an emerald beam shot out over the grave. He didn't care if anyone saw him; he was never big on his secret identity anyway. When that task was finished, he stepped forward with the other ring and put it into place. Stepping back and with a final shot from his own ring, he was done.
It was over.
He sighed and began to cry like a baby.
Embedded into the gravestone, just above her name, was a single solitaire diamond ring.
"I bought it months before you died, but I was so afraid to ask you. I held onto it after you were dead to remind me of you, but I didn't need it. You're in my heart, deep in my soul and for the rest of my life I swear I won't be able to love someone the way I loved you. I know you can't answer, or maybe you can…I guess I'll never know the answer…"
He started to turn around and then he added. "I love you, Alex."
As he made his way back, tears running down his face, he noted that the wind began to pick up. He turned immediately to take one final look at Alex's grave and saw a white dove sitting on the headstone. It stared at him and then bobbed its head up and down.
Kyle walked forward, and the bird did not move. It looked at him with one eye and continued bobbing up and down until he was standing next to it. As he reached out, it flew away, a single white feather falling to the ground. He picked up the feather and suddenly, inexplicitly, felt warm and happy.
He had his answer.
He smiled, wiped his nose and then turned around to leave. Just as he made the entrance to the cemetery, his will took over and he slowly rose into the air, a shimmering green field of light surrounding him.