Blackgate Prison, Gull’s Island, Gotham City:
Starman and Black Canary followed the guard down the dreary corners of the prison. They passed cells that were filled with many foes of the Batman and others who belonged to that superstitious, cowardly lot.
The guard opened the door to a cell, and the two JSAers saw the Mist sitting at a table in his cell reading a copy of Time Magazine. He smiled as they entered.
“Starman. Black Canary. Do sit down. How good of you to join me.”
Ted Knight and Dinah Lance just stood there.
“As you wish,” the Mist said as he put his magazine down. “Stand, if you must.”
The Mist raised his hands, showing manacles much like Wonder Woman’s bracelets. “Ingenious, don’t you think? These prevent me from using my powers, but I am far from powerless.”
Ted smacked his hand down on the table. “Get on with it, Mist. Why did you have Harvey Bullock follow us?”
The Mist reached over to a stack of papers on the table and pulled out two photographs. He handed one to Starman and the other to the Black Canary.
“Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?”
Dinah and Ted looked at the pictures that showed them kissing in front of the Drake Flower Shoppe.
“There are others, if you would like to see them. He also tells me that he found you together again, this time in Opal.”
Dinah spoke this time, barely able to contain her rage. “What do you want, Mist?”
He smiled. “A simple thing, really. Remove the manacles for me. Allow me safe passage from Gotham. You can claim I attacked you. I’ll even knock you both out, if it will be helpful.”
“And if we don’t?” Starman asked, also barely able to contain his anger.
“If you don’t, then copies of these photos will be delivered personally to one Mr. Larry Lance and one Mrs. Doris Knight. Either way, I get my revenge.”
Ted grabbed the Mist by his prison smock and pulled him up close. The Mist just laughed.
“Damn you, Mist! I’ll…”
Dinah pulled his arm down and forced him to let go of the villain. “No, Ted. He’s not worth it. We both know what we have to do. Mist, do what you must, but we’re not helping you.”
The Mist picked himself up. “I figured as much. That’s why I had Bullock deliver the photos while you were here.”
Ted knocked on the door of the cell. “Guard, let us out. Now.”
As Starman exited, Black Canary lagged behind for a moment. “Mist, one more thing…”
With cat-like speed, Dinah landed her boot against the Mist’s face, sending him crashing into the cell wall. The guard looked at Black Canary and then closed the door.
“Damn slippery floors in here,” the guard muttered, chuckling to himself.
Ted Knight landed on the balcony of his bedroom. He went inside, but the room was empty. He walked downstairs to see Doris Knight playing with David in the living room.
Maybe I got here before Bullock, he thought.
“Doris, I’m home.”
Doris said nothing, continuing to play with David. He giggled at his mother.
“Is it over, Ted?”
Ted pulled his cowl down and walked over to Doris. She picked David up and moved away from him. He stopped and stood where he was.
“Would you have told me if those pictures hadn’t arrived?”
“I… I don’t know.”
“It was only the one time, Doris. It’s not like we planned it. It just… happened.”
This time Doris turned to face him. The rage was evident in her eyes, but she would not yell in front of her son. “Why? I trusted you, Ted Knight. Am I not good enough for you? Did I put on too much weight after David was born? Don’t you love me anymore? How could you do this to me? To our son?”
Tears began to fill Ted’s eyes. He sat down on the couch, the weight of the world crushing his shoulders.
“I can’t explain it, Doris. You have to believe me! I never stopped loving you. I just… I never counted on falling in love with someone else.” He sat in silence and cried. Doris held on to her son and did the same. “Can you forgive me?” Ted said as he looked at the mother of his son, wiping the tears from his eyes.
“I don’t know, Ted. You’ve shattered our trust. How do I know you won’t take up with her again?”
“Doris, I promise you, as God is my witness, I will never touch her again. Please give me another chance.”
Doris looked into Ted’s eyes. She wanted desperately to believe him.
Ted handed her his cosmic rod. “I’ll hang up the cosmic rod for good, if that’s what it takes. I’ll do anything to not lose you, Doris. I love you with all my soul.”
Doris took the rod from Ted. She knew what Starman meant to him, which was why she had let him resume the role in the first place.
“No, I can’t ask you to give Starman up again. He’s too much a part of you; but… consider yourself grounded for the next two years. No more Starman. No more JSA until 1967. And don’t think that gets you off the hook, either. I’m calling Dr. McNider and asking him to set us up with a good marriage counselor.”
Doris reached out her hand and took Ted in her free arm. This time, they both cried.
Dinah Drake Lance entered her apartment. The lights were off, and the curtains were drawn. Larry Lance hadn’t been at his office. Maybe Bullock hadn’t gotten to him.
She closed the door behind her, and a light suddenly switched on. Larry was standing there, holding a rose and a bottle of champagne.
“Larry, what in the world?”
Larry grabbed his wife in his arms and whirled her around. “Happy anniversary, darling. Today is the anniversary of the day we met.”
Dinah looked to see the table set quite elegantly. “Larry! It’s beautiful, but when in the world did you learn to cook?”
“I’ll confess, I had it catered from Kanigher’s. But nothing’s too good for my pretty bird. Here, open this.”
Larry pulled a box off the table and handed it to Dinah. She opened it, and inside was an exquisite carved statue of a black canary with a jewel in each eye.
“Oh, Larry! It’s gorgeous! You shouldn’t have. I feel so terrible. It completely slipped my mind.”
Larry pulled out her chair as Dinah sat at the table. He popped the cork and poured the champagne. “It’s OK, honey. I’ve been so busy lately, and I realized just how much I’ve been ignoring you. I’d like to change that.”
Dinah put her glass down. “Larry, there’s something I need to tell you…”
Larry looked at her. “I know.”
Dinah was flabbergasted. “Larry, if you know, then why…?”
“Dinah, my love, I won’t say I’m happy about it. I got those pictures earlier today, and it gave me time to do a lot of thinking. I wanted to kill Ted. How dare he take up with my wife? But he wasn’t forcing you. You were a willing participant. That told me there must be something wrong between you and me. Imagine that — thick-headed Larry Lance finally figuring something out. So I decided that, instead of fighting Ted Knight, I was going to fight to win you back. Should I do that, Dinah? Is our marriage worth saving?”
Dinah smiled through her tears. “Oh, Larry, yes. I thought I’d lose you forever, and I couldn’t bear that.”
Larry took Dinah’s hand. “Then tell me it’s over, and you’ll never see him again.”
“It’s over, Larry. It really is.”
Standing up, Larry took Dinah over to the record player and turned it on. Music began to play. “May I have this dance, Miss Drake?”
“Oh, yes. Thank you, Larry. Please forgive me,” Dinah said as she began to sob.
“I do, Dinah,” Larry said, holding his wife close. “I’ll spend the rest of my life reminding you how much you mean to me.”
“I’ll miss all of you.”
Superman of Earth-One stood there with Black Canary at Ted Knight’s estate on the outskirts of Opal City, preparing to leave for Earth-One. Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Red Tornado, and Doctor Mid-Nite said their goodbyes and watched as Superman and Black Canary vanished into the trans-dimensional limbo between the two Earths.
Later that day, Ted Knight stood before a pair of newly finished cemetery plots. The stones read: Lawrence Arthur Lance and Dinah Drake Lance. The sky was gray this day, much like Ted’s mood. The rest of the Justice Society had long since departed, leaving Ted to his memories and his grief. A car pulled into the cemetery. A woman wearing a black dress and hat walked up to Ted and put her arm around him.
“Ted, we need to leave. David’s getting restless, and I think Jack is coming down with something.”
“All right, Doris.”
They walked back to the car.
“You really loved her, didn’t you?”
“You kept your promise,” Doris said, both as a statement and a question.
“Yes, because I’ve always loved you more.”
Doris put her head on Ted’s arm as they approached the car. “I know. I’ve always known. She was a good woman, Ted. A hero.”
“Yes, she was.”
As the Knights drove off, they didn’t notice a flash of pink lightning and the appearance of Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt.
“Do it, T-bolt.”
The Thunderbolt snapped his fingers, and a life-size statue of Black Canary appeared behind the graves. “How’s that, Master John?”
Tears formed in Johnny’s eyes. There just weren’t any words.
And on Earth-One, Superman and Black Canary reappeared on the other side, where Green Arrow, who was on monitor duty, greeted them.
“Welcome to Earth-One, Black Canary,” Green Arrow said, taking her hand and giving it a kiss.
“Umm, thank you, Green Arrow,” Black Canary said as she held his hand. She had just lost her husband a few hours prior, yet she couldn’t deny the strange attraction this man was making her feel. It was as though she was feeling it for the first time.