Sea and Sky:
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics, no infringement intended or money made by use.
Continuity: Current DCU, S&S universe (Nightwing/Tempest). For those keeping track, this one falls between the Greece vacation and the Clocktower visit. ;)
Sure'n I got your number now, Mr. Grayson. You needn't have been so shy.
I had a thought or two, I'll admit. Or three. But you were always too busy, goin' out with friends, playin' sick--
Oh, aye, playing. Try to pull *that* one on me!
When you moved in t'my building I wondered, I truly did. An' when we finally met in person I wondered more. Charming, well spoken, handsome as the very devil--you caught my eye, sure. M'friend Marcia and I had a good giggle over that. "Just remember, Clancy," she said, going out the door, "the good ones are either married or gay."
Y'wore no ring, so maybe I should've guessed! Y'could have told me before I made a right fool out o' myself, though. Throwin' myself at you like a Dublin tart--
I ever find out you laughed at me, you're a dead man, Dick Grayson!
But I'd have to be blind not t'see the way your 'friend' Garth looks at you, even if you're so good at not revealin' a thing. Even when everyone in the buildin' knows he's been staying over just about every night.
Just be glad all of 'em are too polite to say anything about the *noise!* And wouldn't you blush to the roots to hear me say that!
I ought to raise your rent, that's what I should do. Dual occupancy, see?
Damn your blue eyes.
It's just not *fair,* that's all.
What's the saying... "there's nothing new under the sun?"
But then, heroes have always made their own rules. Something about the vigilante lifestyle; when you're already operating outside the boundaries of "normal" rules and society, what's one more little...quirk?
It's just that...I'm an old man, from a different era. I know things are different now. Some say better, and I won't argue. It's what we were all fighting for, way back when--liberty, equality. The end to hatred. Granted it was in a different context, but doesn't it all come down to the same thing?
But things *were* different, then. We just never talked about certain issues, even in our outside-the-lines culture. Like...about how Hippolyta never showed a bit of interest in any of the male heroes, apart from their prowess in battle. Or about how Doc McNider never hooked up with that pretty nurse of his, Myra.
And "not talking about it" didn't mean they were treated any differently, either. Oh, there were always the usual individual prejudices, a bitten-off snide comment here and there. "Hero" doesn't mean "perfect," and all of us were guilty of some kind of intolerance at one time or another. It was a volatile time, the world splitting apart into factions, and we were no different. But those sorts of things tended to fade when you were looking down the barrel of a Nazi machine gun or fighting off one of the Ultra-Humanite's creations, with only your teammates to depend on. Little differences went away in the light of our shared crusade.
Now everything's out in the open and I guess...that's a good thing. These young heroes--well, I watch the news and keep up as best I can, and the dangers they combat seem so fantastic compared to what we used to face. Not to say it's any more or less dangerous--a bullet could kill you just as dead as a super-villain's "ray gun" or esoteric power--but certainly more colorful. Any comfort they find in the downtime, any...*love,* can only be a blessing, as it was for us then. They deserve it, as we did. We're all of us human behind the mask, after all.
So, why this entry now? Well...as I wrote when I started this diary, if you're reading this I'm probably dead, and I'm vain enough to hope that this journal might be posthumously published. Another memento of the golden age of superheroes, from one of the golden-agers. There's a liberty that comes with age, in being able to say whatever you want because no one's willing to argue with you about it. And "the truth shall set you free."
As it happens I've had occasion to meet some of these new heroes, and two young men in particular--no names, they'll probably still be at their costumed work when I'm gone. Heroes I would have been proud to fight beside when I was young. Or perhaps I should say, I *hope* I would have been proud. Like I said, I'm an old man from a different era...and not immune to prejudice, either. But time gives you perspective.
Lord, I ramble. These two heroes seem to be a couple, and very much in love.
I actually blushed, writing that. Ancient habits. Things that weren't spoken of, then...but they obviously don't care to hide. And I suppose there's no reason why they should.
But I wonder what things would have been like if we *had* talked about it, back then. If the whispers about Hippolyta and her "island of women"--and the adolescent snickering that went with them--were true, would it have made a gram of difference? Would Doctor Mid-Nite have been more comfortable among his peers if we'd known the truth, or less? Hippolyta was far too regal to acknowledge rumors, but Doc... none of us knew Charles McNider well, and he kept very much to himself. By choice? Or by fear?
I wish I could say with certainty that knowing for sure wouldn't have mattered, or even that it would have made things better. No secrets between teammates, right? No lies, no sins of omission.
But I can't be sure. And that, I suppose, is the lesson here: that times have changed for the better if people don't feel compelled to hide their love, and that the ideals we fought for thrive in this modern world. It's too easy to look back on "the old days" and claim things were better then...when it isn't necessarily so.
And I can take a great comfort in having had a part, however small, in bringing such things to pass.
I have to be 'very careful' he says, 'cause it can break. Nobody has ever give me something so... pretty. It's from the ocean, he says. Notty... naughty... oh, yeah. Nautilus. That's what he says it is, but I know it's a seashell. It's all swirly, and part of the side is broken and I can see little rooms inside it. Kind of like the building where we live -- little rooms inside a bigger place. Purple-Eyes lives in our building, with Dick-the-cop.
Dick-the-cop lived here first by himself. I never talked to him too much, 'cause I seen how he looked at me at first. He knew who I was. He called me by my bad name. But I'm not Amygdala no more, just Aaron. I got my medicine in my arm that makes me Aaron again. I got a job and a home and neighbors, and I don't get mad no more.
But Dick-the-cop's roommate, Purple-Eyes, didn't ever look at me that way. He just looked at me nice, and he talks to me nice, like I'm his friend. I guess I am, since he give me this present.
I think one day on my day off I'm gonna go to the shore and look out at the ocean.