schizoauthoress: (Cancer--I Peench Feets)
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Title: Flowers Fall
Author: D.L.SchizoAuthoress
Rating: PG
Spoilers: The New 52 / DCnU Earth-2 #2, Earth-2 #5 & 6, Earth-2 #12, Earth-2 World's End #6
Warnings: disasters in the background, character death alluded to, canon-level violence and strong language in one section
Prompt: fyeahlilbit3point0 innocently asked me for nuAlan on a meme where "five things that never happened to them" was an option for me to pick. This happened.
Word Count: 3903
Summary: Things that never happened to Alan Scott -- his world is much bleaker than this.
Word of the Day: furcate, adjective: Forked; branching.
Note: Each section is a separate "what if". The opening "narration" is canon, which is why it's so depressing.

Flowers Fall
Five Things That Never Happened to Alan Scott

We of this Earth are so small and powerless... yet every decision we make spawns a new world. And one terrible mistake can create a future that we must endure for the rest of our lives...

****

(1) "Never found his siblings after the first attack of the war"

"I did what I had to do." Sam said coldly. His mouth trembled for a moment, revealing how much emotional turmoil the admission put him through, before he stubbornly looked away. Alan stared. Sam had betrayed him, betrayed his trust -- leaked the same corporate secrets he'd once protected so seriously... to save the world. Alan had no idea what to feel in this moment.

"We'll... we'll talk later," he said firmly. "Right now, all I care about is finding Todd and Jennie."

Sam held out his tablet. "There are... natural disaster shelters around Gotham City. They've been reporting in to the police and rescue services, who they have. I've got a program running to flag any mentions of Jen and Todd."

Alan glanced at the screen, at the lines of data being automatically scrolled through. "There's nothing at the two in the north end..."

One of those shelters was too far away, but the other was close to the twins' high school. Alan racked his brain, trying to remember if Mrs. Rice had mentioned anything that would have taken them out of the city, or at least the neighborhood.

Sam bit his lip and turned the tablet back toward himself. "There's... n-nobody's heard anything from that part of the city, Alan..."

Alan's stomach twisted into a knot. He didn't want to think about it. His little brother and sister... after he'd ignored them for so long, and the three had only recently started to mend the bridges between them... Todd and Jennie dead. Killed by parademons.

'Killed because you thought you knew Terry...'

Alan was going to be sick. Sam had a hand on his elbow and was looking up into his face with obvious concern. "We'll find them, Alan. I swear."

"We need to get to their high school. That's where we should start looking..." Alan said softly.

"Is your helicopter still on the GBC roof, or did it get knocked off?"

"It's still there..." Alan frowned. "At least, nobody told me otherwise."

"Then let's--"

Whatever Sam had been about to say was cut off by a loud engine roar -- a familiar loud engine roar. As Alan turned toward the sound, he was never more grateful that he'd sprung for the custom Kuryakyn exhaust system when buying that motorcycle, once his half-brother had passed his driving test.

"Alan!" Jennie yelled, even before Todd had put down the kickstand. Once he turned off the engine, she pulled off her helmet and tossed it aside to fling herself at Alan. Todd was a little more sedate, setting his helmet on the seat behind him after getting off the bike. But his dark eyes were wide and shiny with tears, as Alan saw when his brother came closer.

Alan reached out one arm, and Todd slipped beneath it to hug him just as hard as his sister was.

"You're okay," Alan whispered into Jennie's hair, feeling his own eyes well up with tears, too. "You're okay, you're okay..."

*****

(2) "Never finished his marriage proposal"

"Are you still upset about that delay out of Shenzen station?" Alan asked Sam, who was staring pensively into his drink.

"I just... I had everything planned to be perfect, Alan," Sam sighed, "and it's already going wrong."

Alan patted Sam's knee. "Hey. Nothing's wrong. You're here with me, and in my book, that makes today already perfect."

Sam smiled warmly at Alan. Alan knew he'd never get tired of making Sam smile like that. "You always know the right thing to say, don't you..." his tone went teasing as he finished, "Mr. Scott?"

"Still not your boss anymore," Alan laughed.

Sam took a sip of his drink. "Mm, but you know I like being reminded of that."

"I'll remind you all you like once we get some privacy," Alan promised. Sam chuckled at that, and put his free hand over Alan's.

"I missed you."

There was a note of sadness in how Sam said that, and Alan knew he was thinking of the end of the weekend, when Alan would have to go back to the States. Alan had felt that often enough on Sam's visits as well -- always happy to see him, of course, but aware that their time was constantly borrowed from the responsibilities that neither of them wanted to give up. He set aside his drink.

"I was going to wait until we got to your place to say this, but... I feel like I've waited too long as it is. I... er..." Alan glanced at Sam, and faltered for a moment. What if he didn't-- 'no, don't think about that, just finish it like you practiced!' -- Alan said hurriedly, "I know your business keeps you in China. And us apart unless we steal the time to see each other. And further, I know how much your business means to you. So I propose we relocate your head office to America--"

"Alan?" Sam asked, confused. Alan realized that he hadn't taken a breath for that whole spiel, and drew one in.

"No, hear me out--" He smiled shakily, "S-so we can be close all the time. No, better still..." He reached into his shirt pocket, and drew out the ring he'd been keeping there, close to his heart. It was rose gold, and it would match Sam's favorite cufflinks and best watch. He'd seen it in a Zurich jewelry shop months ago and known it was perfect. "Let me just propose."

Sam was staring at him. He'd put down his drink as well, and he was just staring at the ring that Alan held up between them.

"I love you, Sam. I'm crazy about you." Alan's heart was pounding so hard he thought he might faint. "Marry me so we can really build a life together."

"Oh, you son of a bitch," Sam whispered.

Alan blinked. "Wait, what?"

Sam laughed and rose from his seat to lean onto both armrests of Alan's chair. His voice was low and soft as he said, "You completely ruined my surprise!" just before kissing Alan hard on the mouth.

"Wh-- mmph!" Alan kissed him back, briefly, still confused by Sam's response. It was definitely not part of any 'script' Alan had dreamed up for this moment. And then Sam's words sank in. "Your surprise... Your surprise... you mean...?"

"Yes," Sam said, taking hold of Alan's hand, then plucking the engagement ring from his grasp and slipping it on. "I mean 'yes'."

Alan pulled Sam into his lap -- he was still aware that they were in public, and that everyone else on the train car was probably staring at them, but he didn't give a damn -- and kissed him again. Sam made a happy sound and snuggled up to him, holding on tight.

*****

(3) "Never made it to Sam's chateau"

"Something wrong, dear?" Sam asked, as they walked together up the path to the chateau's front door, followed by Sam's driver and a few of the gardners who had been roped into helping with the luggage. Sam gave Alan's hand a little squeeze. "You're very tense."

"Just a little stiff from staying in those seats..." Alan lied. The engagement ring was still in his shirt pocket. He'd wanted to say something on the train, but... he hadn't. He was nervous about asking Sam to marry him. Too many negative 'what if's swirled in his brain each time he thought about it.

"I'll give you a backrub once we get inside and get settled," Sam said cheerfully. He unlocked the front door and tugged on Alan's hand, leading him inside. When they were off to one side of the doorway, Sam went up on his toes and pulled Alan down for a kiss. "But there's something for you in the living room, first."

"Did you get me another present, Sam?" Alan smiled and teased, "What anniversary is this for? First lunch together? First date that we actually both made it to on time?"

Sam had a habit of giving him expensive things and claiming that it was for commemorating the strangest things, especially since he'd run out of actual excuses like birthdays and holidays and real anniversaries.

Sam just smiled mysteriously and sauntered away toward the living room instead of answering. Alan took a moment to appreciate the view, then followed. Sam walked over to the sofa sectional that had been arranged in one long line against one wall, and sat down on the edge of the nearest cushion. Alan noticed that the square end table that displayed one of Sam's favorite jade vases had a new box on it. It was about the size of a jeweler's watch box, and a little note addressed to 'Alan' was propped up next to it.

He smiled at the sight of it, and glanced over at Sam. Sam looked... nervous.

That was strange. Alan had always admired Sam's sense of style, and always loved the gifts that Sam gave him, even if they were ridiculously expensive. He flipped open the folded note. It was short.

'Alan, if you'll forgive me, I'd like to be more than just the angel on your shoulder... I'd like to be your husband.'

Alan blinked. He read the note again. The words didn't change.

He grabbed for the box -- too big to hold a ring, he'd thought -- and opened it. Although the box had clearly been designed to hold something else, a band of yellow gold lay on the red velvet inside, looking smaller than it should. Alan lifted it, dimly aware that his hands were trembling and that he'd dropped the note at some point. A delicate pattern was etched on the outside of the engagement ring, suggestive of leaves or feathers, and Alan smiled softly at the reminder of their first meeting.

"Yes..." he whispered shakily. He looked up at Sam and beamed, even as his vision swam with happy tears. "Of course, Sam."

****

(4) "Never discovered (thanks to Kendra) who killed Sam"

"I'm sorry, Kendra," Green Lantern said to her back, for what must have been the fourth or fifth time during their flight. As she had before, Hawkgirl completely ignored his words, and just kept flying steadily northeastward.

He hadn't meant to renege on their deal. He hadn't wanted to leave her alone to track down clues to Sam's killer. But his actions were not entirely his own, and his willpower -- though great -- was not enough to overwhelm the directives of the Green.

'Not yet.' Green Lantern didn't smile at the thought, but he wanted to. He swooped closer to Kendra, more in her field of peripheral vision, before he spoke again. "Flash needed me, and now we have Doctor Fate on our side, too. On our... team."

"Now we're a team?" Hawkgirl asked harshly.

Green Lantern shrugged. "Seems that way."

Hawkgirl kept quiet again for several minutes, and Green Lantern didn't push. Finally, Kendra said, "You're not going to like where the clues led, Alan..."

*-*-*

"I trusted you! I trusted you, you two-faced, black-hearted snake!"

Alan had never trusted easily -- being independent, looking to no one else but himself to handle all his problems, that had always been more comfortable for him. It took a lot for him to let people in. If Alan were asked to make a list of people he trusted aside from himself, there wouldn't be many entries.

Sam Zhao was one. Terry Sloan had been another.

And now, everything that Kendra had uncovered pointed to Terry as the man behind the plot to murder Sam.

Alan slammed his fist against the side of Terry's face again. There was a glimmer of gratification through the burning rage, when he saw how the flesh was already purpling with a livid bruise. He punched Terry again, with his ring hand this time, and the man's nose cracked under the assault. Alan flexed his fists again, and the thick, heavy green chains of his power tightened on Terry's body.

Mister Eight would have no chances to move, no chances to make a move against the Green Lantern.

"Al..an..." Terry slurred.

"Shut up!" Alan yelled, "Shut the hell up, Terry! You have..." He stopped, breathing hard, then threw another punch -- one that connected with the side of Terry's neck and drew a ragged gasp of pain from the man. "I was going to say that you have no idea what you've done to me... but you do. You knew.... exactly what you were doing when you had those explosives planted."

"Sam rui--"

"You don't say his name!" Alan roared, and Terry screamed with agony as the chains around him constricted all the more. At least two ribs shattered under the pressure. "You will never, ever say his name again. Or I'll pull your tongue out with my bare hands; I swear to God I will."

Terry wheezed. And then he nodded -- slightly, in acknowledgement of the ultimatum.

"Why did you kill him? Why?"

"He... ruined the plan. The world... was weak... could never... stand up to Apokoli-- unnh!" Terry grunted when Alan's fist sank into his stomach, and broke off to retch and cough.

"For nothing. For stopping you, you traitor," Alan spat.

"That's enough." The words were spoken by a stern and unfamiliar voice, clipped and military in cadence. Alan paused, and turned his head just enough to see the speaker. An Asian woman, short dark hair and serious dark eyes, glaring at him with her pistol drawn. "Sloan is the scum of the Earth, but we still need him."

Alan flicked one hand toward her, and the woman yelped out a curse and dropped her suddenly-too-hot gun. The green flame burned for a second longer on the weapon before going out, leaving the metal twisted and warped in its wake. "The Earth rejects him, even if the World Army doesn't yet." More green flames swirled around Alan in high, thin streams. "Like I said, he's a snake. Don't come crying to me when you get bitten."

And the flame took him away.

****

(5) "Never was the target of the bomb on a train"

The Grey hissed poisonously into Green Lantern's ear, a multitude of voices as he descended into it. "Your creation by the Green... futile, desperate, useless. You will fail. We unleashed Grundy to hasten your passing, so the world will all the sooner meet its inevitable fate... so a new world can be born."

"No!" Green Lantern shouted, "Never! I won't fail. I'm Alan Scott and I never fail. You hear me?"

There was a moment of silence. And then, the Grey offered, "Then join us."

"Join you? That's insane."

"Join with us against the Earth and we'll reward your loyalty with your heart's desire..."

Green Lantern grinned. "Why not 'your destiny lies with me, young Skywalker'? You're pulling out all the cliches already." Ahead of him, the matrix of the Grey was beginning to coalesce into some humanoid form, and Green Lantern shut his eyes -- not wanting to risk being taken in by some illusion. The ring on his left hand hummed faintly against his skin and lit with the green flame. Green Lantern lifted his hand and let go with a blast of energy. He opened his eyes again and asked the roiling consciousness around him, "Is that your best, Grey?"

The Grey sounded almost petulant as it replied, "Grundy will stop you. You know yourself that he is unstoppable."

"Yes, I thought that too..." Green Lantern admitted. "Until you told me how to defeat him."

*-*-*

As Hawkgirl descended closer to the surface of the planet, Green Lantern felt the fire within him rekindle -- filling him with the power of the Green once again. Their eyes met when the insignia on his chest started to glow -- he nodded once and she released his arm. Green Lantern floated beside her as she came in for a landing.

The Flash waved at them both. Green Lantern felt a deep sadness at the sight of him standing on the blighted landscape.

"So that's it?" Flash called out, "We're done with Grundy?"

"I certainly hope so," Green Lantern said, as his feet touched down on the soil.

"Seconded." Hawkgirl said gruffly.

"You killed him finally, huh?"

"No, but I think I managed to negate him and the Grey both." Green Lantern explained, "The Grey told me they were committed to Grundy's path of destruction, so much so that while he's 'alive', there's nothing they can do."

The Flash winced at that. As usual, what could be seen of Hawkgirl's face betrayed no emotion. Green Lantern continued,

"So I sent him to a place with no energy to draw from and corrupt. The Moon. Grundy can stay there forever, and the Grey will never threaten the Earth again."

"Brilliant, Green Lantern!" The Flash exclaimed. "Hey, I know we've met, but we were never officially introduced. I'm the Flash; this is Hawkgirl." He offered one hand to shake.

Green Lantern took it, shaking firmly, if briefly. "Yes, I know. You both really came through today, for me and for the world."

"We may have saved the world, but look at it... look around..." Hawkgirl sounded frustrated. "The Earth looks worse now than it did after the Apokolips War. How can we hope to recover from this?"

Green Lantern looked around as she said, even though he didn't really need to. He felt the pain of the Earth as keenly as if it were his own.

"Yes... I admit, the Earth may need a little help this time." He looked at the two of them for a moment, considering, before he turned his back. "You saved me up there, Hawkgirl, absolutely. At that moment, I was done. But as I got close to the ground, I recharged... even in her ailing state, the Earth healed me..."

He'd been made to act for the Earth. To fill some role that the Green itself could not do alone. Green Lantern gathered the power within himself, the raw and formless potential, and shaped it with his will -- 'heal the damage done to the Earth'. "Now let me return the favor!" he finished, dropping to one knee and plunging his fist into the ground.

Green flame leaped out of his ring and into the Earth, rippling out in a shockwave of light and power. Flash cried out behind him, and Hawkgirl instinctively leaped into the air. As the light faded, Green Lantern turned back to them.

"...What was that?" Hawkgirl demanded.

"A lot of what I'm doing is instinctual," Green Lantern admitted, "so I can't say for certain, but I think I gave the Earth a booster shot."

The Flash and Hawkgirl exchanged confused looks, then the Flash shrugged. "Then what about us?" he asked Green Lantern. "We're Wonders, the three of us. We could be a new Trinity... four, if we can ever convince the Atom not to be such an idiot, and--"

Green Lantern interrupted, "I'm sorry, Flash, I don't agree."

"Well, isn't that just too bad," a new voice interrupted him in turn, "because I think it's a wonderful idea."

Even before the voice finished speaking, some kind of metal canister landed in the middle of their small group. There was a flash of light and a crack of sound, and then there was blackness... the Green Lantern knew no more as unconsciousness overwhelmed him.

*-*-*

"You can't keep me here!" Hawkgirl, Kendra, was wailing somewhere nearby. Green Lantern opened his eyes slowly, bringing up one arm to shield his face when bright light greeted the action.

"What... what's going on?" Green Lantern asked in a dazed voice.

"The World Army," the Flash answered. He sounded far away, too. "they captured us."

Green Lantern blinked to clear his vision, and lowered his arm. Thick walls of clear plastic separated him from the rest of the room. Against the far end of the room, Hawkgirl was enclosed in a similar 'box' of plastic. The Flash was in a similar containment unit, and his wall shared a corner with Green Lantern's. Outside the cells, the large room was full of computer terminals and what looked like hospital examination beds.

"I wouldn't say 'captured', Flash."

It was the same voice from before. Green Lantern leaped to his feet, ring lit with power.

The speaker came closer, hands held up in a gesture of surrender. His looks were East Asian -- skin a light shade of golden-brown, deep-set dark eyes -- and as he spoke again, the Green Lantern guessed he was a native Mandarin speaker, given the cadence. "More like... 'recovered'. We're not your enemies. We have no reason to be enemies."

"Which is why you're keeping us in cages," the Flash said sarcastically.

The Asian man -- who was, if Green Lantern had to guess, some kind of scientist because he dressed the part by covering up with a long white labcoat -- jerked his chin toward Hawkgirl's containment unit. "We couldn't be sure you wouldn't all react as... negatively as Hawkgirl."

Someone else -- a woman also wearing a labcoat, a woman with dark brown skin and short, spiky black hair -- had come into the room as well. She was speaking to Hawkgirl, in a low voice that didn't carry enough for Green Lantern to make out the words.

The man looked at Green Lantern and smirked. "So, I've been dying to ask -- is your business's data security still shit, or did you hire somebody after I trashed your systems?"

That startled him. His mind immediately flew to the data breach of Project Moonshot just following the first parademon attack at the beginning of the Apokolips War. The words 'That was you?!' were on the tip of his tongue, but Green Lantern remembered in time that he had to keep his identity secret. Stiffly, he replied, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

The man's smirk widened. "Of course you do, Alan Scott."

"What the hell?!" Green Lantern exclaimed. The Flash had heard, too, and was staring at Green Lantern now.

The World Army operative reached into his coat pocket and drew out a small, tablet-like device, holding it up for them to see. "I've been analyzing all appearances of you new Wonders. Security cameras and news media reports. I have several programs I've written for facial and vocal recognition, including a breakdown of speech pattern data." The man arched one elegant dark eyebrow at Green Lantern, who swallowed hard. "You do like to make a lot of speeches, Alan. It wasn't hard."

"Oh my god, I've been fighting alongside Alan Scott?!" The Flash said to himself.

"And did you really think that little mask would help conceal who you are? It doesn't break up facial patterns enough to escape detection."

He'd already classified this man as attractive, in the idle, automatic way that the brain does. But hearing him talk, realizing that he'd been outsmarted... well, Alan had always had a thing for intelligent men. "Exactly who are you, then?"

"Oh, I'm going to be your handler," the man answered with a smile -- triggering thoughts of just how Alan would like to be 'handled' -- "since I managed to locate you all. I'm Samuel Zhao, World Army counterintelligence."

****

"Nevertheless, flowers fall with our attachment, and weeds spring up with our aversion."
-- Dōgen Zenji

*-*-*-*-*

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