Last and final chapter~
The third and final thing you should know is that the Rogues see themselves as villains, but certainly not monsters. It's easy to label them as one, and even easier for a villain to become one. Joker, Crocodile, Two Face- just a few of the men that started as villains, and turned to something darker. Some embrace this change, and fully expect it if someone wants to have the title of 'villain'.
But not everyone agrees, and the Rogues are certainly appalled by the idea even if it's not necessarily advertised.
A villain robs you of your wallet, life savings, expensive furniture, etc. A monster takes that, and then destroys everything else around you just for the possibility that it may be funny. A villain plots revenge on the person who wronged them. A monster just takes it out on everybody. A villain will know when they've done enough. A monster will never feel they've gone far enough.
Being a villain is a job. Being a monster is a choice.
This isn't to say the Rogues haven't had their bad days, where dancing the line became too hard and they stumbled to the wrong side. But what matters is they knew, and instead of staying there with a manic grin, they got their shit together and moved back to the side of professionalism. Cold- irony aside- always made sure to stand as an example to the fellow idiots that joined their group. He could be cold, indifferent to other peoples' plight, and take their pricey life accomplishments without batting an eyelash. But when someone's life was on the line, he weighed his options carefully. Not all his freeze rays stopped somebody solid- on most he would use a special blend of his own that would still immobilize and trap his victims, but leave room to breathe, guaranteeing a few hours of life before things got dangerous. If he was feeling particularly put out with someone, they'd get the solid freeze (and worst experience of their life), but almost always the police would be minutes away- especially equipped for aiding Cold's victims.
Some Rogues were better about this than others, and those who couldn't really keep it together didn't last as a group member. In a twisted sort of way, those who stayed in the group acted as some support system for those who started getting itchy for a good murder. Digger was regularly intoxicated by Sam to help him blow off steam whenever his past managed to skulk out of the dredges of society and haunt him, so he was shouting abuse rather than stabbing bodies. Weather Wizard never seemed to be able to make his relationships last, and when they inevitably ended, the group would watch his drunk back and make sure he didn't stumble to his scorned mistress and do something he'd regret sober. On a smaller side, they'd help Trickster and the Pied Piper get through their own life troubles. Hartley had been a genius with an impossible family- one that eventually threw him out. Trickster had just wanted to make people laugh, people like his alcoholic mom and the platoon of men that marched through their lives.
Every Rogue had to prove themselves in order to join, but once those two did- they were stuck more than most. Because the Rogues were their family, more than their real ones could be. When Piper got tempted to march his parents and every one like them right off a cliff without their even knowing, Sam reminded him that it was more satisfying to watch people like that die of their own life choices. When Trickster got worked up from some sob letter and wanted to go test his acid snot-gun on some punk who inevitably used his mom- Cold dragged him back and told him his mother would fight her own damn battles since she wasn't miss innocent in the situation, and if Trickster really wanted him to, he would go out and freeze the both of 'em.
Being a perfect role model was left to those in the hero business, but the Rogues did try. They were villains, not monsters, and would act accordingly.
And while it never occurred to them that their pseudo member had his own demons, the Rogues would be damned if they let baby Flash continue to face his monster alone.
The first thought Kid Flash had when he eventually came around was: I'm glad I decided to take a nap today.
Of course, as he snuggled deeper into the sheets, his second was that he had never actually decided to take a nap.
Gasping, Wally vaulted up from where he had been laying, the last few moments of interacting with the Rogues bouncing ominously around in his head. Disoriented, he glanced around frantically. Had they finally snapped? Did they capture him and throw him in a warehouse? A dungeon? An abandoned jail cell? A-
A kid's room?
By all appearances, Kid Flash was in a young boy's room. Huh, villain layers just don't have that evil aura you'd expect. Granted it was dark, but he was pretty sure he could see some video game posters in the dim light, and an old computer hanging out on a desk surrounded by action figures. Cautiously, he slipped out of the covers, relieved to see that while his shoes, goggles and gloves were gone, he was otherwise in costume- mask and all. He may look ridiculous, but his secret identity was still safe. Oookay, so then if they aren't seeing who I am underneath the mask, and they aren't really torturing me, why'd they grab me…?
Padding quietly across the room, he first tried the doorway. He didn't hear anything coming from outside it, but he could see a light under the cracks that was acting as an illumination. Quietly jiggling the knob, he cursed when he found it was locked. He had expected it, but still. Sighing in resignation (at least for the time being), he flicked on the lights.
His boots, gloves and goggles had been laid on the chair near the desk, as well as a sandwich that appeared to be recently made. He ignored it for the time being, and glanced over the rest. The lighting revealed little else- though it verified this was indeed a young boy's room- judging by the comics collection and miscellaneous toys. A standing mirror stood at the corner near the closet, and a small dresser on the opposite side. The items- sans the action figures- looked even more run down than he had first suspected.
But why am I here? Who'd leave me in their kid's room? Part of him was suspecting the Rogues weren't even involved anymore- it was too mundane! While he wanted to check for a way out, he was loath to trash a kid's room. There were no windows that he could see, just the door with its small light filtering underneath.
He was beginning to relax. However, his suspicions rose again when he heard the distinct sound of someone stepping into the room. He whirled to see Cold, Mirror Master, and an out of costume Pied Piper entering the room via the standing mirror. Instantly Wally tensed. Here it comes- keep it together Wall-man! Whatever they want, don't admit anything!
The trio stayed on their side of the room, sizing him up until eventually Cold spoke. "Didn't restrain ya 'cause I don't need to," he paused and looked meaningfully at the still masked vigilante, "do I?" Inwardly debating for a few seconds, Wally reluctantly shook his head, knowing he would need to stay as free as possible if he was to have any chance to bolt. Cold nodded, satisfied. "We're all reasonable people here, so don't get all antsy. We just want to talk."
Wally narrowed his eyes, pointing accusingly at them (though being barefoot and without gloves somewhat ruined the effect). "I don't know what you guys think you're going to get out of me, Captain Cold. And I don't care how you got the crazy idea that this would work. But you're not getting any League secrets or superhero identities- zilch!"
Thus saying, he felt he had made his stance pretty clear, so he was a little confused when all he could see was Mirror Master snort and cover his laughter with a cough, and Hartley actually look like he was growing angry.
"We could care less what your hero club is up to, Kid." Hartley glowered. "What we want to know is how long you've been putting up with your dad abusing you, and why the hell you haven't gone to anyone about it!"
All of his bravado fled at that last sentence. Wally could feel his face pale, and automatically his shoulder ached a bit- as if the injury knew the secret was out. "I…" he recalled now, how Cold had been interrogating him before they nabbed him- realized that they were serious, that somehow they knew. Immediately, it was as if a wall came up. His cocky, even slightly uncertain face blanked into something unreadable. He crossed his arms, not looking them directly in the eye. "Time's have been tough, that's all. Dad… he doesn't mean to."
"Doesn't mean to bash your head in? Doesn't mean to beat you bruised? Practically pop your shoulder joint?"
"It's not like that!" Wally lashed out, surprising even himself with his venom. "He feels horrible every time he does it- it's just the stress, and sometimes I end up walking in when he's having a mood. I'd rather it be me than mom, anyway. She was taking it, but she- she doesn't have super speed, we both know he's trying to get better and I know I can handle it-"
"'Handle it'?" If Wally's voice was hot tempered, Len's was venomously cold. "Why? Can you handle it because you're a super hero, Kid? Because you have some fast healing gig and since you get beat up by bad guys your pain tolerance is larger than life?" He stalked towards the young teen, who stubbornly held his ground even in the face of the angry Rogue. "Maybe you can handle it because your bleeding heart thinks you should be able to do more than this for your family? Because you're a hero?" Cold didn't miss the flinch.
"But I can-!"
"Don't feed me that shit." His glare was enough to stop Wally from protesting further. "I don't care if you think you can 'handle it'. Nobody deserves that, least of all you."
Wally stared up at him, furious that he treated how he felt about the situation like it was a petty child's argument- not even worth humoring. But then he looked past it, and realized why Cold was doing this- he cared. He was worried. For all the bluffing Wally had been doing to keep people from finding out, he had never considered how guilty he'd feel once it was out. How would he feel if someone he cared about was facing this and didn't say anything- even knowing he could help?
"Aren't you supposed to be villains?" He deflected. "Caring about this sort of thing is a little out of your field."
Cold was unimpressed. "Yeah, and aren't you supposed to be a hero? Doesn't that mean doing what's right?"
Kid Flash slumped his shoulders at that, finding it easier to look down on his bare toes than face his villains proving what he already knew. He wondered how messed up exactly his life was that it had got to this point. "He's still my dad, Len. I don't… I know he'll get better…"
Cold didn't comment on the last statement. "Even if the man's family, it doesn't change that he should pay for what he's doing. Because what he's doing is wrong." Wally glanced up at Cold, and was somewhat surprised to see the icy glare had thawed somewhat. "You fight for justice, Kid. Not what's convenient, not what's easiest. Villains get to do whatever the hell they want and hope the consequences don't catch up to them- you heroes have to do right by everyone, even if you don't like it."
"You're still a hero in training, though." Mirror Master added in from the far side of the room. Inwardly, he was brutally fighting down the urge to do something as stupid as hugging the kid- he looked like a kicked puppy- his worst face. "So we're holding ya hostage until the problem is taken care of."
"Wait- 'taken care of', what do you mean?" His eyes widened dramatically, and the group instantly realized their error. "Guys- you know where I live?! Did you attack my family?!"
"Don't be daft, of course we didn't!" Cold cut in, keeping the attention off the slightly flustered Hartley. "At first we thought Flasher was your dad, and were going to pummel him senseless." Cold ignored the outraged sputtering from Wally, "Since apparently he's not, we'll wait for him and his goody Justice friends to take care of the mess before handing you back over."
Wally- after being told they didn't know his secret ID (and thank God for that- Barry would kill me! The League would kill me!), calmed down somewhat. So… they were keeping him… safe? What? Maybe there was a ransom involved that they weren't mentioning. "But, my dad… will it be bad, for him?" He kept his voice hushed, sort of hoping he didn't have to hear an answer.
"As bad as it would be for any regular kid, I'd bet. You know law better than we do."
Wally didn't answer that, hating how afraid the idea made him. What would his dad think? His mom? There's no point in freaking out about it now, just… think of something else. "So… you're waiting till they pick me up… like, what, you're babysitting me?"
"More like, you're having a surprise sleep over." Wally glanced back to Hartley, who now seemed to have a wicked gleam of amusement in his eye. "Since darts didn't work out today, you'll stay with James." Wally felt his worry drop at that statement. Oh crap, they are not… "He's excited to share his action figure collection with you."
They couldn't possibly be doing this to him- they were joking- "James?!"
"Whose room did you think you were in?"
"Oh cripes." Wally groaned, surprisingly dropping his fear of the future in favor of his inevitable time being covered in glitter, playing video games with someone who threw itching powder if they wanted to liven the game, and snored like a lion. "You're punishing me on purpose, aren't you?"
His only answer was the door behind him bursting open and being tackled to the ground by a joyful bellow of "BABY FLASH!".
It took Barry longer than he would care to admit, but he had managed to finish things close to the next morning. Oddly, understanding why the Rogues took him had lessened his stress about Wally, knowing he was at least being protected and not thoughtlessly abused. Len was a lot of things- but Barry knew that man took no pleasure in hurting people- only did what he thought he had to for his goals (is frequently thwarted goals).
Batman had helped pull some strings behind the scenes, but even after seeing the literal confession footage, it hurt and confused him when he made his way up the West's front porch with the local officer to have the door opened by Mary West- sporting a bruised forehead.
Honestly, they were lucky. Rudy was a loud, rather tempered man, but he did love his family. The loss of his job and increasing threat from debt collectors was stressing him out to the point where he had returned to old drinking habits. Wally wasn't alive for those days, but Barry heard he had been borderline alcoholic. When they confronted him, Rudy had confessed with glistening eyes that it was indeed his doing. He didn't resist arrest, and for that Barry was glad. They would be able to get him the help he needed, and once he completed rehab, it might be better.
Mary, the poor thing, was actually the more difficult matter. She connected the dots and immediately went to blame Wally. When Barry had insisted that he refused to tell any of them, that they had figured it out themselves, she still remained furious. She hadn't wanted her boy hurt, but she didn't want to see her husband taken from her either. In the end, both agreed that it would be in Wally's best interest to stay with the Allen's for a little longer instead of returning home on Monday- until Mary cooled down enough to realize the blame she wanted to cast was at the wrong person.
Since Rudy confessed, they did not need to see Wally until later, which worked fine with the Uncle, considering he was currently being baby-sat by the city's most infamous group.
Quickly changing into costume, he headed to the slum part of down-town. Eerily consistent with when Mr. West was officially processed, less than an hour later some latitude and longitude coordinates were sent to him via Kid Flash's communicator. He raced around the city until he found his spot- some of the worst apartments still available to purchase in the city. Zooming in until he came to a stop at number 8, he quickly knocked and felt ridiculous waiting.
There was some shuffling from the other side, but a few minutes later he was facing a rather tired looking Len Snart.
"Sam and Mark already hit the hay." He said by way of greeting, turning and casually placing his ice gun back on the table. Eye brow raised, Flash walked into the… well, relatively mundane apartment. There were water stains on the ceiling and walls, and the place hadn't seen a woman's touch in years, at least, but it over all looked normal. He briefly wondered if anyone else was disappointed that their villains didn't have themed layers.
"Kid Flash? How is he?" Flash kept pace with the man, who was rather sluggish and clearly tired.
Len rubbed his face, trying to look less scruffy and failing. "Put him with the other two. James wore him out pretty quickly, so he'll probably sleep like the dead till morning." And god, if it wasn't surreal hearing your villain talk about your partner like a family friend over for a slumber party, Barry didn't know what was.
They walked through a hallway until they reached the end room, where Len stepped aside and let Barry through.
While Wally was now (in his mind) a mature 15, the sight that greeted his mentor was purely adorable. It looked like Hartely had at some point been pulled into the fiasco, and was snuggled down to the left of the two. He had grabbed an extra blanket to cover him and Wally, since it looked like James had cuddled into the initial one at some point and cocooned himself like that. Wally lay in the middle, turned away from James as a probable result of trying to encourage the slightly mental adult to stop talking and let them sleep. James, whenever he had fallen asleep, had purposefully clung to Wally, but the speedster had gradually worked his way out of the hold in his sleep.
Combined with the occasional splash of glitter and the two Rogues still clutching their video game controllers, it looked like a five-year-old birthday party aftermath. Although the loud snoring was off putting. Jeeze, who'd of thought James had the lung capacity?
Barry let out a quiet sigh of relief when he saw his nephew's mask still in place. Thank god the Rogues had some unspoken code that- for whatever reason- kept them on a certain level of professionalism in that regard. He noticed the gloves and boots were missing, but even as he went to ask, Cold was grabbing them from a desk on the far side of the room and demandingly extending them to him.
Carefully, the hero attempted to nudge the sleepy speedster awake, but when it was a no go, ended up just lifting the kid up like he used to before Wally even had powers, holding the boots and gloves on Wally's chest. Almost absently, Cold comes up behind and tucks the other two in so they'll not notice his absence for awhile.
Wordlessly, Len led them back to the front door and opened it for them, walking them to the apartment entrance. "Take good care of him this time, or we won't give him back."
Barry paused, surprised by the gruff care in his nemesis'' tone. Cold, as if realizing it himself, frowned deeper. Flash couldn't help but give a small smile. "Thanks, Len."
"Huh," Len turned away from the door as if the whole situation was frivolous. "Now the hero is thanking the villain- never thought I'd see the day."
"Yeah, well," Barry walked down the steps, keeping his voice hushed. "No one's saying you aren't a cold crook- make sure I can't find you here by tomorrow afternoon, okay?"
"Getting lenient on us 'cause we did the kid a favor?" Cold's voice sounded decidedly unimpressed.
"No, being gracious because it's the first thing Kid Flash will ask me to do when he wakes up."
Len stayed at the door for a long time, even after the speedsters had gone. Mark and Digger had already fleshed out a 'pester-chart' for the Rogues who wanted to participate with 'check in' on their baby hero, and while James would gripe through the morning after realizing his friend escaped his clutches, he'd perk up after Sam brought up some of the new tech he was planning to use for a heist. As long as their baby was safe, things would go back to normal.
He trudged back to the apartment and grabbed a beer in one hand and his gun in the other. Groaning, he settled into his seat, somewhat impressed with himself for getting this place fixed up for Flash to pick up his kid from. The real Rogue base was at a different part of town- sans a few pieces of furniture Mirror Master was coaxed to transporting over for the sake of appearances (lamented that they were using him as cheap labor, but gave in after Mark promised the next week's worth of drinks would be on him). In truth, this had been Len's place a long while back. But after forming their crazy family, he hadn't had a reason to come back to the rust bucket.
He never really thought about it before, but he was… glad. Glad this dump didn't mean anything to him, and that the crazy destroyed Rogues hideout did. Taking a swig of his beer, he got back to work on recalibrating his freeze ray. As bizarre as the week had started, enough was enough. They were villains, not turn coats.
And he had a heist on Thursday.
Soo, whattya think?
Before ANY of you can ask for it- no. I will not give you more chapters. This story was center focused on the Rogues protective reaction to when Kid Flash was in need of help. Since the 'abusive-parents' cliché was so temptingly available, I went with that. But I wanted a fluffy/humor Rogues fic, not an angsty/fluffy Wally fic. Hopefully I accomplished that for the most part.
But no more. Trust me when I say there are some excellent author's available for the much desired Wally angst, and once you find you will not be disappointed. Feel free to use my favorites list as the start point for your search, should you choose to go that route (I make an effort to be picky about what I favorite, so whatever you find there I guarantee it will be a good read).
If its alright to ask- I received way more reviews than I was expecting- and love it! But for those of you who just alerted or favorite but never reviewed before, PLEASE do so with at least a sentence on WHY you paid attention to this fic. It helps me with future writing, and I appreciate any commentary I can get!
Thanks again for reading everyone!