This is directly from my profile for the story idea, I guess you could say it's the original muse?
What's Worse than a Villain?- Kid Flash and the Rogues have always had a... unique hero-villain relationship. When their (emphasis on THEIR) 'baby' hero starts acting odd, and some unexpected things are found out, the Rogues take it into their head to fix it. Because NO ONE messes with THEIR Baby Flash. AU. Just because your a villain doesn't make you evil, far from it. In short, Wally's abused by his dad, the bruises show and the Rogues KNOW they didn't put those there, so they investigate, find out more then they should, and take action. Even villains can be heroes.
The first thing you should know is that the Rogues are a bit of a family. A really, really messed up and barely-hanging-by-a-thread family, but family nonetheless. Like any group of people that live together, they have some unspoken rules that exist. Trickster is not allowed near any kitchen appliances, for one. Everyone also agrees that if they are having issues dividing up the spoils of a job well done, Cold gets the last word on who gets what. And every Friday afternoon when Weather Wizard isn't incarcerated, the TV set is his.
It isn't necessarily a well known fact, but a very important rule they all know by heart was that the Rogues don't kill lightly, and would avoid the action at all costs. Cold in particular wanted to keep it quiet from people outside their affiliation (for the sake of their reputation among cowering civilians and other villain circles, if nothing else). It wasn't that he was squeamish about homicide- about cutting through someone or destroying what got in their way- but while he was a villain in almost every sense, he never took pleasure in robbing someone of their life. The rest of the Rogues followed this as a rule of thumb, especially after the additions of Hartley and James to their messed up fold.
They had responsible villain roles to maintain for the impressionable youngsters, after all.
With this in mind, the Rogues also look out for each other however possible. When someone is having a rough break (read: sent to jail), or needs a little favor in stealing and espionage, however grudgingly, a Rogue usually steps up to help their own. Because when the chips are down, all you have left in the world is your team.
Consequently, Baby Flash happened to fall into this rule.
Yeah, he was a pain in the butt. Yeah, his mentor was a worse pain in the butt. But he was just a kid, a baby, really. Heaven knows Cold and Mirror Master had flipped when they realized Flash had taken on a protégée that was probably just sliding by the age of ten (the kid had been short for his age back then). They didn't even let Trickster join until he was fifteen. And sure, they were villains, they stole, they manipulated, they even occasionally tried to take over cities when the rewards were enticing enough. But being a villain was a job, not who they were. And when they watched those first few blundering times Baby Flash had run around with his hero and tried to stop them, occasionally tripping himself and running into things, they had grown… a small attachment to him.
Really, it was kind of endearing (in a pull-out-your-hair sort of way). He would more often than not be seen checking up on them if they got put in the hospital, incessantly asking how their family's were, or babbling on about what he wanted for his birthday, or Christmas. As they got used to their Baby Flash, they started to feel more than a smidge of affection. When their Baby first properly socked Digger in the gullet, the villain wouldn't stop bragging about the kid's left hook for a whole week, despite the embarrassment of being taken down by a kid. But hey, this was Kid Flash they're talking about. Mirror Master had once caught the kid shirking his hero duties in favor of some complex physics equations, and now the master of warping reality regularly did checkups with the kid on how his grades were, even offered to help with some of the homework (which was accepted more often than not, to a certain scarlet mentor's chagrin). Cold was still one hard icicle, and if you didn't know him, you couldn't really tell he held any affection whatsoever. But the fellow Rogues would begin to note his subliminal berating towards the kid, ragging on him about how he should have handled the situation or what he could have done to stop it. And not disappointing his 'guardians' one bit, the kid would listen and pick up how to better handle himself in a fight.
It was never made official, but that's because it didn't need to be. Baby Flash was an obnoxious hero in training, who probably had too big of a heart for his own good. And as the Flash's Rogues, they had a duty towards the young upstart to make sure he stayed as safe as one could when fighting villains. Oh, they could try to kill him and his mentor all they wanted, just so long as they didn't.
There had been a bit of an uproar when they found out about Young Justice, and all that entailed. After all, everyone knew about Independence Day, and then there was that incident in Bialya when the kid spent about a week getting his memory back in one piece (Trickster had harassed the Flash for letting their Baby Flash forget about his play-date with the villain for a record three hours before he was finally sent off to Iron Hills). And then when the whole plant fiasco came about and their baby broke his arm. True, such was the life of heroes and villains. But Count Vertigo, should he ever try, would not be receiving any invites to their city any time soon. Needless to say, the Rogues had gone the extra mile to check in with (read: pester) Baby Flash and keep him in top fighting condition so no nonCentral thugs would take him down.
After all, nobody gets to mess with their city's sidekick accept them. So when they discovered Kid Flash's ugly secret, they didn't take it very well.
Trickster was the first one to pick up on something weird. But as most things involving Trickster go, it was quickly dismissed as confused-off-his-meds drabble. He had created a massive bomb that, when let off, would blanket half the city in a giant cloud of itching powder. Flash was out of town (some mess with hurricanes in the southern isles or another), so in no time at all Kid Flash appeared and they faced off.
"Baby Flash, are you gonna come play darts with me after this?" He threw a colorful gag towards the speedster, who easily shot out of range before the thing exploded with a mix of dangerous heat and green dye.
"Sorry James, I sort of have some- homework to do." The speedster had arrived almost ten minutes late, and though it was normal for him to be late (ironically), it still felt like something was off. Was it the way their baby was holding himself? How his movements were more clipped than easy going?
Trickster reached into his gag bag and chucked out a slew of explosives. "Catch!"
Kid Flash dodged quickly, starting to smirk and bring forth the ever present hero quip, when his feet suddenly entangled and he tripped. Sliding a few good feet, he groaned as he looked down and discovered James had thrown a yo-yo at him.
The multi-colored villain gave him a huge grin. "Ya can't beat the classics!"
"Har-har, Trickster." Kid Flash smiled as he pushed himself up, then gasped and reached for his head.
"Baby Flash?" The villain bounded up to the sidekick, not at all concerned that he could easily get caught.
The bright clad hero leaned away a bit, smiling like a dork. "No worries, James. Just- a head ache!" But he wasn't letting go of his head.
His face taking on an uncharacteristic frown, the older teen strode closer and grabbed the red head's hands, pushing them away despite the meta's suddenly frantic protests.
Not orange, red. Not vibrant locks. Caked, wet tresses of red.
"BABY FLASH!" Trickster screamed immediately, the sight of blood on their little speedster freaking him out. Sure he'd seen their baby hurt, but not like this. Did he do this? Did he manage to hurt his baby? No, it couldn't be. Could it? Tears started to dance in his eyes. "I-I hurt our baby!" He let go of the sidekick and fell to the ground, sobbing. "Baby Flash is gonna die and it's all my fault!"
"Woah, woah, Trickster!" Kid Flash hastily knelt down, blatantly ignoring his throbbing head. An emotional Trickster was more dangerous than one off his meds, by far. "Trickster? Trickster? James, listen to me!" At hearing his real name, the costumed young adult settled slightly, hiccupping as he looked up at their city's sidekick. Wally set his hands reassuringly on the distraught teen's shoulders. "You didn't do this, alright? And I'm not gonna die," He smiled widely, encouraged by Trickster's relaxing figure, "we still need to play darts this Saturday, right?"
"See? I can't die before that, especially since I wouldn't be able to reschedule!"
Trickster nodded. That was true, Wally couldn't die before they played darts, and he certainly couldn't reschedule if he died… hmm… The colorful villain glanced back up at him, desperate hope glimmering in his eyes. "So it wasn't me?"
"No," Kid Flash's expression became… dark, bitter. "No, you didn't do this to me James." He absently raised his hand back up to the wound, wincing.
Trickster frowned, a new thought coming to his mind. "So who did?"
The speedster, who had zoned off a bit, blinked in confusion as he came back to the present. "Huh?"
Trickster stood back up, wiping the remains of his tears away, suddenly feeling suspicious. Had one of the Rogues attacked Baby Flash and didn't warn them? He didn't think anybody had planned a heist or robbery this week! But they'd never be this careless, and if he was judging by the size and blood flow, Kid Flash's speed healing also added in, he got that gash less than an hour or so ago. "If I didn't do that to you, than who did?" His voice took a hard edge.
Trickster was somewhat surprised by the little hero's reaction. The green eyes widened in slight panic. "Uh- who? I mean, no one! I- I- nobody did this to me!... I fell!"
That stopped the villain cold. "What?"
"What?" The costumed boy responded, seemingly trying to play out confusion.
But Trickster was having none of that. Grabbing the yellow and red teen by the shoulders, he dragged the kid forward so they were inches apart. "What did you say? What happened?"
The teen didn't bother squirming in his grip, knowing Trickster wouldn't do anything, but nonetheless his eyes darted every which way, trying to avoid contact. "Uh, just like I said, I… fell."
I fell. Those words rang in the young adult's ears, disbelieving. He'd heard that line before, and it wasn't one you used if a super villain trounced you. Pied Piper had used it at first whenever he had gone home to confront his parents and came back bruised. Trickster had told it to his teachers when he was still a kid living with his stupid mom and her messed up boyfriend. No, it wasn't possible, not to the sidekick! Who would hurt their baby? He didn't do anything wrong! "Who did this to you?"
The kid paled slightly. "Trickster, I told you, I-"
"WHO!" Trickster shook him slightly, panicking. Who did this to Kid Flash? Who would? Was it FLASH himself? One of the other heroes? Bullies at school?
"James, let me go." Kid Flash reasoned calmly, despite his pale skin. Trickster realized he was breathing harshly, gripping the boy so he couldn't get away. But at the sound of baby Flash's patient tone, he loosened his grip and backed away. "Look, I need to go," the red head rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, not making eye contact, "I know you were having fun and all, but I need you to stop, okay?"
Trickster nodded his head compliantly, not letting on how franticly his mind was working. "Okay."
"And let's not mention this to anybody?" Kid Flash gestured towards the now clotting head would. "It's really not a big deal, I'm… such a klutz. I'll just go eat a couple cheeseburgers and be patched right up!"
"Great, thanks. I'll see you on Saturday?"
"… good, don't forget to stop that bomb before it goes off, or we won't be able to hang out. Well I'll… seeyathenbye!" And with a gust of wind, Kid Flash had disappeared.
Trickster wasted no time, hurrying as fast as he could back to the base, forgetting most of his gadgets back on the rooftop (but still dismantling his 'itch attack', nothing was worse than missing a play date with his baby Flash).
Another tendency Kid Flash had that differed from his mentor was that he didn't always send the villains off to prison. Though Cold had a tendency to be put in right away, if the red haired teen caught them in time before they pulled off their attacks or heists, and talked them down, he usually just let bygones be bygones. It had confused the Rogues at first, and chalked it up to a really rookie mistake until they realized the hyper active brat had a soft spot for them. Which didn't help their own twisted endearment go away.
Now, though, Wally may regret not locking up Trickster. Because everyone knew, unintentional or not, that Trickster was a huge gossip. Which is why the first words out of his mouth were exactly what Kid Flash had been hoping to avoid.
"Somebody's hurt our baby!"
Trickster, however, also had a reputation for being overly dramatic. So when he burst into the room with his announcement, the most he got was Sam glancing up from some notes and Len frowning as he placed down a bad hand for poker. "Well that's what happens when Kid Flash gets sent out on missions, Trickster. He fights other villains who hurt him, its part of the job."
"No, no! It's not like that!" Trickster pulled at his gaudy attire irately, trying to get through to the group. "Somebody hurt the baby!"
"What's going on now, then?" Pied Piper walked in, having just finished a successful heist at a music department (they may wear costumes, but that doesn't mean they couldn't subtly rob a store).
"Kid Flash got hurt fighting another villain."
"It wasn't a villain!" the jokester sulked, scandalized by their suggestions. "That's not what he said."
"Oh? What did Kid Flash say?" Piper asked as he browsed the fridge, only half paying attention.
"He said he wasn't going to die-"
"Well that's good," Mark intoned distractedly from where he was sketching out a future battle strategy, "did you try to kill him?"
"No! He's our baby, and-"
"Kid," Cold glanced at him, frowning slightly, "don't get comfy with a hero- just because you aren't going to kill him doesn't mean you shouldn't try."
"Guys, I'm telling you what happened!"
Hartley waved his hand placating. "Sorry, James. We'll listen now." To prove his point, he closed the fridge and reclined back in a long suffering way, though everyone else bluntly turned back to whatever they were doing.
"Well- after he said he wasn't going to die because he still had to play darts with me- I felt better but then I asked who did hurt him and he said nobody did it to him!"
"Ah, pull ya head in Trickster- if he said nobody did it than ya better trust the dinky-di hero and take his word for it!" Digger sniped from the couch in the other room, trying to focus on whatever was on, but inevitably listening to the youngest member's wild jabbering.
"No! He was lying! I know because I told him to not lie and he stuttered and paused and said he fell."
In that one sentence, the room's atmosphere suddenly dropped into a quiet hush, the group turning and paying more attention to the youngest member. "So what," Len drawled eventually, though his tone was tight, "the kid's a klutz on his best days."
"Where was he hurt, exactly?" Sam called from his spot. Not looking up from his work, but pausing.
Trickster rubbed his own head sympathetically. "Right here, it looked like somebody hit him good, he did not fall, and he wasn't healing fast enough, like someone just bashed him before he came to hang out with me."
Some of the adults' eyes trailed over to the most recent returned Rogue- Hartley had straightened from his relaxed pose and met their side glances with an intense glare. "Try to voice your insinuations and I'll subconsciously program all of you to break down weeping every time the Flash catches you at a crime scene."
"'Course it wasn't Hartley. Could be no one, for all we know." Cold looked about with his own frosted stare.
James had enough of them not taking him seriously. He stomped irately and pointed an angry finger at the leader of their troupe. "Someone is hurting our baby! And no one gets to hurt our baby!"
Digger had stood from his spot at the couch and moved into the room, pensively taking in Trickster's pose. "Don't get your knickers in a knot, kid. Even if someone was mucking around with our hero, the 'baby' obviously isn't going to talk, so how do we know for sure?"
This made the Trickster pause, but just as quickly he broke into a huge maniacal grin. "Hartley and I can break into his school to check on him!"
Mirror Master cocked an eyebrow at that. "That would imply, James, that you know where he goes to school."
"We both do, actually." The Pied Piper cut in smoothly, dragging the attention away from Trickster. "Saw him change to civvies in an ally once while you and Mark were fighting with Flash. Watched him march right up to Central High and go late to his first period."
"Shut ya gob, since when! Ya didn't even share that juicy bit?"
"Why would we? Rogues don't bother civvies, and Baby Flash can't always play hero- his cover would be blown if we showed up to mess with him."
"So we're going to rescue Baby Flash?" Trickster looked between the men eagerly. "We're gonna beat up whoever hurt our hero?"
"We're not doing squat." Cold stood from the table and glared down at the younger adults, his look keeping them from protesting. "Not until Trickster's crazy assumptions- however unlikely- are proven worth dealing with. Piper, you figure out whatever you need to do to get in that school and figure out what's going on, but if you or James get caught, don't expect any help." His piece being said, the man strode over, grabbed a beer, and headed out the door.
The Rogues watched him go for a bit before Hartley turned to Mirror Master, a smug look crossing his features. "Hey Sam, remember that bet you lost and how you owe me a good one?"
Trickster giggled at the man's slightly paling face before the expression scrunched into something decidedly unhappy. "Bloody hell."
"So, Mr… Kar-ace?" The secretary squinted down at the name written on the application.
"It's pronounced Shayray, ma'am." The man's oldest son, Harold, intoned politely. "Its french."
Mr. Samuel Charais looked decidedly unhappy about his name, but the secretary pressed forward. "I see. Well then, eh, sir. Everything appears in order, and I'd be happy to take you back to speak with our principal."
"Wonderful." Sam remarked, inwardly sighing that he was actually playing this game. He rested a hand against Jame's back. "Come along, Jessie, it would be good for you to meet your future principal as well."
"Sure thing dad!" Same couldn't tell if James was good at acting, or if he was just hyped up enough to seem honest.
"I think I'll stay out here," 'Harold' spoke up, turned to the middle-aged woman. "Before I go back to the waiting room, can you direct me to your nearest restroom?"
The secretary quickly obliged with some directions, and then hustled the slightly grumpy Sam and James down the office hall towards the next step in his application process. Thank god James had taken up the hobby of making false identifications- this was working out better than any of them had anticipated- though Sam had given them both a lot of crap for the name choice ("cultural my ass, if I can't pronounce it than neither will they!"). As soon as the woman was out of site, Hartley turned from the doorway and nimbly jumped over the desk and headed straight for the computer. It took only a few moments to locate the search page he required before he began scanning through faces of the school's system. He didn't have a name to go on, but Baby Flash's lack of costume gave him enough to work with (there couldn't be thatmany red heads with green eyes at this school). On impulse, he started at the bottom of the alphabet, knowing the most common last names were on the latter half of the spectrum. Surprisingly fast, he found the lopsided grin of Kid Flash looking out at him within a few scrolls.
"Wally Rudolph West? That might be worse than Hartely Rathaway." Quickly, he opened the page for all information, counseling sessions, and activities that the speedster was involved in and stashed it into his flash drive. Moments later the secretary was making her way out, and found Harold sitting complacently in the chair closest to the door, scanning through a Global Magazine.
It was another few minutes before his 'fail safe' went off. He only looked up when he heard the secretary shriek in surprise, and dutifully acted horrified when he saw smoke coming from the computer, even throwing in an alarmed "Is that on fire?!".
Within seconds the alarm went off, and the whole school evacuated. Sam wasted no time making his hasty farewells to the distressed principle and dragging the two youngest Rogues to their nondescript car. Hartley had a brief moment where he thought he saw the tell tale flash of red hair as they drove away, but couldn't be sure.
"You got what we needed?" Sam asked, eyes focused on the road.
"Yep. If any additional information is encrypted, I'm pretty sure James can crack it."
"I've hacked school files before." James threw in helpfully from the back.
"Hmph. Well get to it as soon as we return. Now that I have a feel for where this place is, I can set up some strategic mirror watchers based on his schedule."
It didn't take them long to get their proof. It should have taken longer, but within two days, they had all the damning evidence they needed to act.
Wally's school files were standard in everything but science, which Sam was a little proud to find he excelled in, Physics especially. He had low grades for gym, which made Captain Boomerang guffaw horribly, because wasn't it just like a cliché hero to pretend to be weak and helpless when you weren't? He had several absences, both explained and not, and the standard teacher comments of 'excels in group settings', 'does not stay focused well', 'is a polite student'.
It was the councilor notes that gave them their next clue that Trickster might be on to something. Wally had just started into his second semester of sophomore year, and his parents had stopped attending conferences after his first quarter in the present year. His records indicated he arrived almost chronically late to school for days on end, only when the school called home would the attendance pick up before slipping again. Teachers noticed that aside from Wally's general good attitude, he would be a lot more tired, apparently sore, and sometimes sporting bruises. When confronted by a counselor after his Literature Professor grew too concerned, Wally insisted it was nothing, there were some home problems because of his father's job, but that was all.
And to explain his injuries, he said he fell.
Trickster didn't even try gloating that he was right, and no one had to say out loud that they had hoped the spastic villain was wrong. Still, Cold wasn't going to let them act out until they had something solid to go with- a confession.
The term 'perfect timing' was ridiculously accurate as, the very next morning; Len had looked in on Mirror Master's progress and witnessed the whole thing. The meta had been heading to gym class, taking his time to get in the locker room and only started to change after the last of the other boys trickled out. It made sense- if Kid Flash had ever gotten some bad scars from fighting, others would ask for answers that would bring up one too many questions for the sixteen year old to answer. Sam had been about to close the portal and open for the one on the cafeteria window where they'd have a view of his gym session. Instead Cold grasped his shoulder and grated out a "Wait.", seeing something Sam had missed. He really didn't think they should be watching their baby strip, boys locker room or no.
Instead, wincing, the speedster took off his top and turned towards the mirror, displaying for both adults a terrible array of colors across Wally's chest. The speedster, oblivious, examined his reflection, gasping slightly as he tenderly explored the bruises progress.
"Man, who'd have thought speed healing wasn't fast enough? I didn't realize dad did such a number on me."
He said it.
Right there, no fanfare, no build up. The kid just utterly puked out the horrid truth to his unseeing audience while everyone else was given a smiley faced lie. And it was the kid's father, what the hell? Wasn't Flash the kid's father? Were they dealing with a hero who wasn't as great a guy as he acted in costume? Shit, shit, shit.
The kid looked warn, carefully putting on his gym shirt in case someone walked in before leaning carefully against the counter. He was muttering to himself, but his words echoed throughout the alternate dimension as loud as if he were speaking into a microphone.
"I can do this. I can, speed healing's working through it." His face furrowed into something angry, bitter. "If you can deal with super villains, Wally, you can deal with your dad having a bad day. It could be worse."
Having a bad day. Their baby's chest was clearly indicating at least a heavily bruised rib cage, if not some hidden fracture, and his words about the abuser were that they had been having a bad day. It could be worse.
With one last wince at the mirror, the teen took a deep breath and headed out of the locker room. Sam shut down everything- at this point they didn't want to see anymore- and turned to Cold.
The villain's posture was rigid, anger slowly seeping from his form. A thousand thoughts ran through his head, a lot of them coming back to the irrational question of why didn't the kid say something? But he knew, he'd seen things like this before, he'd been in situations like this before. And look how he turned out. That made him think of the bratty hero, dealing with this crap on a daily basis, but still pulling his obnoxious goody hero card.
No. Hell no. Nobody got to treat their kid like this.
Cold gestured towards the now blank screens. "Put them back on. Record anything you find with him confessing, showing injuries, I want as much proof as we can grab." Cold stalked towards the exit Sam set up from the mirror realm. "And keep your bloody mouth shut about this; I don't want Hartley or James seeing this crap."
"Good idea," Sam watched his retreating figure steadily. "So when do we act?"
Cold glanced over his shoulder. "As soon as fucking possible." That kid, however indirectly, was a part of their family, and no one got away with hurting one of their own. They weren't the good guys, though. They weren't going to be knights in shining armor, swooping in right when the kid's dad was beating him up again and saving the day. They were villains, and they did things the villain way.
Which meant this called for an old fashioned kidnapping.
:D Look! I live~!
Wanted to try and complete my smaller stories before I started on the bigger fish like 'Minor Problems'. Its either going to be a two or three chapters, so enjoy~
;) Rogues, so fun to write, so fun to use when messing with Wally.