Chapter 6 - Forgiveness
The hero spoke.
"Do you hate me?"
The little girl shook her head.
"No. But why did you make me forget?"
Hawkeye Kent, the man known as Superman, had no easy answer for Erin Hunnicutt.
"Erin, sometimes adults do stupid things, because we love our kids so much, it makes us crazy. When your power manifested itself, and caused The Toyman to be....I just wanted to protect you from what happened. I thought that by doing that, I could stop you from being hurt."
"But I was hurt. By Toyman, by forgetting and then remembering, and by Daddy being so angry with you."
Hawkeye sat down, and nodded.
"Erin, don't let anyone ever tell you that adults don't screw up. Because we do. Problem is, there's no one who can really make us sit down and tell us that we did."
"Grownups are good for that. Except when they're angry. So you made me forget because you love me?"
"Yeah. You see, for a long time, I didn't have anybody like you around. When I would come over, you were happy to see me--as Hawkeye, and as Superman. There was no Carlye, angry at me. No media, wondering why I wasn't everywhere at once. Just a sweet kid who was always happy to see me."
Erin was confused.
"But what about Lyta? She's your daughter, and Tabitha is your niece, and Adam is your nephew."
"But I didn't know who Lyta was, then. And as for Sam's kids--well, there was some very strange, very weird trouble between me and my sister. Somebody made us believe something that wasn't true, and it messed us up. Kind of like what I did to you, only they didn't want to help us. Erin, I'm sorry. I was just so confused. The Toyman tended to do that to me."
A quick embrace told the Man Of Steel that everything was all right.
"I Love You, Uncle Hawkeye. But--why do I have powers? I was born after Daddy became Green Lantern, and the ring can't just give somebody permanent powers--can it?"
Hawkeye Kent again had no easy answer, so he just held Erin, and offered up no words, til she fell asleep. Laying her on a small cot, he was joined by The Martian Manhunter.
"Kent, loathe as I am to admit this, you do know how to apply your, ahhhh, super-mesmerism rather well. So why did young Erin ultimately begin to shake it off e'en before the Spectre's intervention?"
"Cha'arls--I'd pay good money to know that. If I had to lay odds, I'd bet on the answer being bound up with her mystery powers. Have we ruled out BJ somehow giving them to her?"
With a child's health and sanity at stake, the scientific rivalry between the two non-Terrans evaporated entirely.
"Yes. Any abilities that Green Lantern could give anyone would expire when does his ring's charge. So, Daddy did not affect the baby--Momma's DNA maybe?"
"I say we introduce ourselves to Peg Hayden Hunnicutt--and to get to know her better than she may know herself."
"Or--want to. Kent, as we have seen, a search for the truth yields up rocks that must needs be turned over. Who knows what we may find, lying underneath?"
"What's the matter, Win'ch'tr? Never eaten a bug on a dare?"
"That's it, Superman. Keep intellectualizing the debate on me."
The hero spoke.
"Do you hate me?"
Peg Hunnicutt walked over and held her husband.
"No, of course not. I was concerned about you, for a while. I was afraid you'd forgotten what being a husband and father was all about. BJ, I'm not pleased with how Hawkeye did what he did. But why did you go after him, like that? And don't tell me its about the murder, because I almost believe you'd forgive that."
BJ looked up at the woman who knew him all too well.
"When The Guardian gave me this Ring, it was literally the biggest kick imaginable. My dream since I was younger than Erin had come true--I was THE Green Lantern. I fought like hell to gain the team's acceptance. An acceptance, might I add, that I now seem to have blown."
Peg shook her head.
"Hawkeye used his power as Chairman to quash the expulsion vote. He said that no one else should have to suffer for what he did."
Again struck by the depths of Kent's fierce loyalty to his friends, BJ felt more than a little ashamed at how quickly he had turned on his hero.
"Trapper was my hero in Med School, but before him it was Alan Scott--Sherm's friend in the JSA. That red cape, that invincible power. That oath...different from mine, but oh so vital...What were the words?"
Peg's eyes seemed to glaze over.
"In Brightest Day, Or Darkest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight..."
"Let Those Who Worship Evil's Might..."
BJ saw his wife's right hand glowing green, and took note of the appearance of an odd tatoo on her palm.
"Honey, hold on, I'll get the others."
"BEWARE MY POWER...."
As the green glow enveloped her, Peg's hair and skin took on a similar hue, and she completed the oath.
"Green Lantern's Light."
Staring at herself, Peg felt ready to faint. So did BJ. She attempted, for a moment to find comfort in a Hawkeye-like quip.
"That's funny. Jade has never really been my color."