"The date is right…"
The two of them notice the name of the local paper and the fact that this place looks an awful like a 1950s era town is a little unnerving. There is also of course the ice cream truck that never stops too. The initial tension between them and the Justice Guild ends when Flash saves Ray from falling pieces of a building. However J'onn for one reason or another cannot seem to tap his psychic powers because all he gets are flashes of a world destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. There was also the eventual stacking list of coincidences that not even John could dismiss after Hawkgirl shows him the graves.
He still does not believe entirely so they go in search of the library, which is full of blank books and the electricity is non-existent in the building for a city that seems so lively. The basement doorway is blocked off by bricks which after everything else seems hardly surprising so as he and Hawkgirl finally get underground they find a ruined tunnel car and plenty of old papers. Papers dating back to the same date that comic book series Justice Guild of America stop running off the presses.
The pair returns to the Justice Guild headquarters to confront the Guild with this information and of course they are disbelieving yet before the conversation would go any further, a call comes through about a robot attacking the area. At this stage J'onn finally realizes who is simulating this entire thing right down to this very building and its inhabitants. Somehow during the last war, the fallout had mutated the boy that used to be Ray Thompson and after wards he used his powers to maintain the illusion of a pre-apocalyptic world that still had his childhood heroes.
However Ray is not content to let them 'take' away his 'world', but of course as he begins to endanger the four from the League, the Guild turns on him. His psychic creations were made too well and in the end Ray dies with them as well as the illusion of Seaboard City disappearing to reveal the ruins left over from the war. It is then the survivors that were used to populate the illusion thank them for ending the cycle.
They find Tom Turbine's inter-dimensional gate and use it to return home yet as he is leaving all John can think is they were already dead yet their memory might as well died with Ray. After relating the experience to the others back at the Watchtower, John breaks off to be on his own until Hawkgirl interrupts his moody contemplation.
She tells him that they died for them, which made them real enough to her. His somber mood lightens a little and she leans against him as they stare out into space. Body, mind, and spirit were different names for different drives that made heroes out of the unlikeliest of people except when it comes to it the essence of the story is this is not all the we are, call it faith or purpose. Call it whatever you will, but there comes a time when boys and girls become men and women yet in doing so the past goes to the backseat, to the photo albums, to the cabinets, and more. One day everyone reaches the moment where all the fictions must be left on the shelves and reality takes flight with the ideals of past in mind with the present at hand as he looks to the ring.
They honored him, her, Flash, and even J'onn by turning on their reanimator to stop him from harming them, so would their second demise been any more meaningful then the first and so called more real deaths. The entities that thought of themselves as Green Guardsman, Catman, The Streak, Black Siren, and Tom Turbine made their ethereal last stand against what had become their child idolizer turned fallout illusionist. They might all be dead in body, but they were by no means dead in mind and whether he would believe it or not, part of what he had become is their legacy even if they were projected into his life by some comic book creators' imagination channeling that reality as J'onn put it to Tom.
He again looks at his ring before asking Hawkgirl to have dinner with him so of course maybe he needed a sharp mental whack from her voice, but she did have a point. She seem to understand the symbolic value to both John's childhood hero worship of them and to what their second disappearance seem to affect in his thoughts. However again it is time for dinner at a Chinese restaurant near his apartment.
A/N: Set during and after JL episode Legends, a crossover into a reality that was the home of the Justice Guild of America.