Guardian Angel

This is really more of a prequel to Chapter 2, than Chapter 2 is a sequel to it. It would be best to read Chapter 2 first, and then come back and read this, as it would make more sense that way.

Secret's smoky form whispers around and through the 'clouds' of limbo as she observes their shared charge. Greta Hayes was brought back to life, yet she had been a Warder for so long that a part of Secret would forever remain caught between worlds, watching and guarding the mortals the Powers protected. "He misses Kon so much." She frowns, and Hal cannot help but feel her sorrow, it is so obvious.

"Yes," Hal agrees softly as he watches Robin working diligently in the hidden cave beneath Titans Tower. "True love is ever so much more encompassing that most people realize." And ever so much more damaging if it was ended too soon. If they knew the possible anguish it would bring, he thinks quite a few mortals would quit seeking it.

Or maybe he just hopes. Having to watch Timothy these past few months since Kon-El's death… As the Spectre, Hal technically has no heart, yet he still feels the ache as it slowly weeps for Tim Drake.

"But true love never dies," Secret says with the naiveté that she has never lost, not even in death thrice over.

"The truest love doesn't, for souls never die," Hal agrees with equanimity. Then he sighs and hangs his head, gaze focused through the fog of the worlds between on Robin. Soulmates are so very rare; that those should be separated even before they had revealed their feelings to each other is nothing but outstandingly unjust in his mind. "But the flesh is ever so much more weak and ephemeral."

Frowning, Secret looks down at Tim once more. Long moments pass as she observes the advent of yet another 'failure' in Tim's quest, and tears prickle at her smoky eyes at the loss of not-quite-life – and yet another of Tim's hopes. Finally, after a long moment, she wipes away the tears and turns hopeful eyes on Hal. "But, if souls never die… Couldn't we give Kon's back?" she asks.

Hal Jordan had seen so much in time as a Green Lantern, and even more as the Spectre. Even Timothy Drake's quest to re-clone Kon-El didn't come as much of a surprise. It's been a seeming eternity since he has been truly shocked.

But he is now. Very much so.

He is silent for a moment, mouth open to speak, but unable to think of words to say. Finally, he utters, "It…it is possible, yes, but…the Powers That Be would never allow it." He knows; once he caught sight of Tim's plan, he'd immediately gone to ask the Powers if Kon-El were to be reborn, as his predecessor and others before him had been.

The Powers…had said no. Even if the so-called Heavenly Court is letting bureaucracy get in the way of helping people, one thing Hal has learned in his time as the Spectre is that no one goes against the Powers without paying a price.

Secret looks even more determined at his answer, for all that she is barely a wisp of coffee-colored fog. "We don't have to tell them," she says mutinously, not even whispering.

"They would still find out," Hal tells her. "And the Powers already barely tolerate you here, Secret; I do not wish to think of what punishment they might exact on you." Secret is the lone bright spot in his solitary half-life; the fact that she keeps him from pestering the Powers on a daily basis about the cosmic injustices they have wrought is likely the only reason they have tolerated her presence thus far. That and the fact that they think she is powerless.

The mulish set to her mouth let him know that she is not going to abandon this idea. Even in unlife she hasn't abandoned Timothy; Hal shouldn't expect her to abandon Kon-El, either.

Though he had – selfishly, he knows – hoped she would stay with him for a little while longer…

Hal sighs, and admits, "Even if you were willing to risk it, I know not how to find Kon-El's soul." That it is still in limbo, he does not doubt; the more people tying a person to the mortal plane, the longer they linger after death, before finally moving on. It hasn't even been a year since Kon-El's death…and soulmate connections are always a stronger bond than any other.

"I can find him," Secret states, and Hal allows himself a moment of pure shock before asking, "How?"

Her eyes grow sad, and even before she opens her mouth to speak, Hal knows he isn't going to like what she says. "You know I have the power."

Hal's eyes fall closed, as if to block out the reality of her statement. He knows full and well that she isn't powerless. He also knows that the remnants of her power as a Warder are the only thing still tying her to this, or any, plane of relative existence. If she was to use her scant remaining power in this endeavor…

…Secret would cease to exist.

Hal…doesn't know what he would do without her. But more than that, he cannot ask her to remain tied to this plane of nonexistence for any longer than she can bear. This half-life is his own self-imposed punishment for his mortal mistakes. Secret…is innocent, and deserves it not.

"Why would you do such a thing, little one?" Hal has to ask, knowing even as he does what Secret's reason most likely is.

Timothy Drake. Greta Hayes has had the chance to move on from her first childhood crush, but Secret is still feeling the full effects of that puppy love. Young and untried, yet her affections are just as true as…

…as Timothy's for Kon-El.

"I'll always love him," Secret says, and Hal knows it to be true. Timothy and Kon's love for each other is the true, right love that so many searched for but never found. It happens only once in a very long while. But Secret, for all that her love for Timothy is no longer strictly romantic, loves him with an equal fierceness as the dearly departed Kon-El.

"But now it's time to let him go." She shudders slightly, and a smoky tear runs down her cheek. "He needs Kon. Or else he'll…" Her eyes shut and she shook her head as if to banish the thought. When her eyes opened once more, they held determination, and no trace of tears. "I won't let that happen. I…I can bring Kon back. I will bring Kon back," she stated fiercely.

"Why?" Hal asks, even though he thinks he knows.

"Tim will be happy again." Her smile is bittersweet, for Hal knows that she has never been truly happy helping him to guide souls across the barrier between life and death. How sadly ironic that a spirit filled with such life should forever be among death. "That's all that matters."

Hal thinks of objecting…and doesn't. He knows that Secret will do this, with…or without…his help. He knows that this soul search is just as much to free her of the burden of half-life, as it is to free Timothy from his burden of grief.

The hole in his heart that Secret's 'death' will leave him with…is his burden alone to bear.