It's been nearly three years. Three years since the South Pole. Three years since Wally vanished. The League, broken by the loss, was aggressively pre-empted by their heartbroken former protégées, bent on making a better world. Under their rule, the Earth has no crime, no poverty, no violence…and no choice. But when Wally returns, thrust into this future by the energy that should have killed him, what will happen to their society? Will Wally make them question everything they have come to irrevocably believe over the past three years? Or will they be able to convince him that it has to be this way?
I have returned! Yes, I should probably be working on "A Year's Worth of Strange Things" but I read this prompt and a plunny was created and it ran away with me. What fun!
Okay, so this is based on the prompt found in chapter 15 of the AMAZING MathisMagic's story "Fixations" asking someone to write out a version of the Justice Lords set on Earth-16. For people who haven't seen JLU, basically, the seven founders are kidnapped by alternate versions of them from a universe where Wally, the Flash, was killed, which resulted in a hostile takeover of Earth. Here's the full prompt.
So, as per several theories, Wally actually got sent forward into the future after the Episode-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named. When he pops out, though, it's nothing like what he expected. Without him, the League went rogue a la "A Better World." They're thrilled to have him back, of course, even if they have to keep him on lockdown and in an inhibitor collar until he 'understands how things have to be now.' I kinda feel like it should be the senior members of the Team who are in charge, rather than the League as we know it, but eh, details.
I just have this really strong image of Wally being a sort of 'kept man' to the Earth's emperors and empresses as he tries to remind them of the way things used to be (and hey, if they convince him their way is better, that works too.) I can just totally see him trying to hang with the 'common people' and them being like this is Artemis's consort/Nightwing's best friend.
So this stuck in my head and started cooking and after many, many, rewatchings of "A Better World" (which remains my favorite JL episode) and much reading of Wally-centric fanfiction, I am finally able to present the beginning of this story. I hope you enjoy it. Small note: Anything up to Wally's death in the last episode is canon. The rest of the episode is fair game and may or may not be accurate.
And unlike my other stories, this one will not contain Nightwalker. No matter how much I really, really, want it to. Damn.
Disclaimer: Yeah. Is Young Justice still on hiatus? Then there's an excellent chance I do not own it.
March 10, 2019
Miss Martian stands on the deck of the recently-built Watchtower, which is filled with workers at their stations, giving their reports. This Watchtower is very different from the original one, which is now off-limits to anyone but the Lords. This one is purely functional, housing hundreds of monitor banks that keep watch over the entire world. The hourly reports are coming in, keeping them notified of the conditions below.
"Sector 7, all-clear."
"Sector 10, alert terminated."
"Sector 11, all-clear."
"Sector 19, all-clear."
"Sector 33, all-clear."
"Sector 50, all-clear."
"Sector 42, report delayed."
M'gann spins on her heel and walks over. :What's the trouble?: the Martian asks telepathically. She hasn't used speech to communicate with anyone outside the Lords in months. She doesn't wait for a response. It's a waste of time when she can simply reach into the man's head and pluck the information she needs from it.
:Ah. A storm. Everyone's been evacuated, nothing we can do.: She leaves the terminal and flies up to hover above the floor. :Continue. Sector 30.: The reports continue, but her brow is furrowed. We've fixed everything else. There must be a way to fix these storms. She makes a mental note to bring it up at the next meeting.
"Sector 35, all-clear."
Elsewhere, Kaldur has communications open with the President. "I am sorry, but what you are suggesting does not seem prudent at this time."
"Well, it's kind of a tradition, y'know? Like Thanksgiving, or, or football. Folks aren't going to be too happy."
"They seem happy enough to me. And an election bears very little resemblance to football. There is much more to be lost."
"True enough." But the man would not let this go. "So…when do you think it might be a good time to have one?"
Kaldur holds back a sigh. Luthor was elected. And look how that turned out. Elections are far too risky. That would be impolitic, however. So he merely says, "Patience, Mr. President. Patience." Kaldur ends the call, and calls out, "Batwoman!"
Barbara's head pops up from her computer banks, and she makes her way over.
"I will be journeying to Atlantis. I wish to see how King Garth is doing. You will remain behind to take command in my stead."
She nods and moves into his position, watching over the workers. He turns and headed for the Zeta tubes.
After they had removed the League from office, the next order of business had been Atlantis. King Orin had been taken care of, just like the rest of the League. Since Kaldur had refused the throne, it had been entrusted it to Garth instead. La'gaan was now the head of his guards.
Wonder Woman, formerly known as Donna Troy, and Red Hood, who had been the second Robin, both stand on the upper deck of the Beta-Watchtower. Both of them had returned to the Team after Wally's death, at the behest of Kaldur in order to depose their respective mentors. Donna wore her old costume of black and silver, with a few minor upgrades. And since Nightwing rarely left the Batcave, consumed by his hunt for some evidence that Wally was alive, Jason was the senior representative of the Batclan to the Lords.
"Looking at it—it's so peaceful. You'd never know just what a mess it used to be," Donna remarks.
"It was a hellhole, alright," Jason says, leaning on the railing. "I just can't believe that the League never got their act together. If it hadn't been for us…"
"Guess you were right all along," Donna concludes. "It's just a pity it took the rest of us so long to see it."
They had taken down a lot of villains, working together. And really taken them down—not just thrown them into jail and waited for them to break out. Why try and patch a broken system when you could just build a new system that actually worked?
Donna looks over at the wall where a hologram is projected, a picture showing the eight founding members of the Team. Rocket and Zatanna left the League to return to their old friends after the…incident, and are out on assignment right now. Artemis—now Tigress—is probably tracking down the last remnants of the League of Shadows. Superboy (now –man) is pulling public duty in Metropolis. But the most heartbreaking part of the picture is Wally, red hair tousled and green eyes shining as he smiles his familiar carefree life-is-great grin at the camera. He stands in the center of the group with one arm slung over Artemis's shoulder and one over Robin's, but his smile includes everyone around him.
"I keep expecting him to come running in at any moment," Jason says, looking over the globe below.
"And then say something really stupid, right?" Donna asks him with a wry grin.
Jason chuckles. "There was that," he admits.
"I miss him too, Jason," she says, quietly. "We all do."
There's a beeping from the screen. "Protest in Sector 34," Batwoman announces. "Could get ugly."
"We can take care of it," Donna offers.
"The police have it handled."
"Yes, but it's always good to show we have our eyes on things," the new Wonder Woman says, firmly.
Batwoman lets out a sigh. "Fine, if you're so desperate for a fight, go ahead."
March 10, 2019
Wonder Woman and Red Hood land on the roof of the building directly across the street from the Metro Tower. There are dozens of college students outside the base, waving signs and yelling about elections. Jason's fingers twitch for his guns, but Donna's hand on his arm stops him.
"No killing. It's just civilians. We start openly killing civvies and they never trust us again."
"Or we finally get the fucking point across," he growls. The protests bug him more than they should, but seriously!
People never cared when Gotham was a fucking shithole. Why are they so fucking worked up now, especially when the world's better off?
"Elections now! Elections now! Elections now!"
Jason's eye roll is hidden by his helmet. These idiots have no idea what they're asking for. Why does everyone care so much about fucking elections? You scribble something on a piece of paper and toss it in with a hundred other piss-poor votes like 'em just to wind up with some shmuck bastard running the show who'll wreck everything anyway.
"There's the police," Donna says, pointing down the street. They're marching in formation, riot armor on and shields raised. One of them launches a tear gas bomb, the students throw rocks in retaliation, and Jason starts to reach for his grapple gun. Wonder Woman puts her arm over his chest.
The kid who started the rock-throwing points up at them and shouts something. The students immediately start to scatter in all directions, the police catching and cuffing enough of them to make a point.
"Remember when people actually liked us?" Donna wonders aloud.
Jason shot her a look. "Since when has that bothered you?"
She looks at him with concern in her eyes. "Since I started seeing the fear on everyone's faces."
"You wanna talk about fear? When I was a kid, I went to bed every fucking night not sure if I was going to wake up to see the morning. So did everyone else in Crime Alley. That was just the way things were, and people accepted it. They didn't think there could be a better way, but we found one."
"So, do you sleep better now?" Donna asks with a suggestive smirk.
Jason's answering feral grin is hidden by his mask. "You know I do."
March 10, 2019
Nightwing bends over the computer, focusing on scanning for energy signatures. He didn't care that it had been almost three years. There was no evidence of a body, not even of scorching from disintegration. Wally wasn't dead. He couldn't be.
"Dick," a voice says from behind. Nightwing turned around to see Red Robin stepping out of the shadows.
"What is it, Tim?" he asks, sharply. "I need some time. I'm on a new lead here…"
"No, you're not."
Nightwing spins around to glare at his younger brother, who holds up his hands in a placating gesture. "Dick, we've been over this for over two years now. We have checked every energy signature, every trace, every anything that might possibly give us a clue. We've found nothing. It's time to move on."
"We can't!" Nightwing snaps. "If there's even a chance that he's alive, we have to find it! I'm not giving up!"
"Well, maybe it's time!" Tim yells back. "We worked for years to build this world up from the ground, and you won't even see it because you're too busy hiding in this cave! You're turning into Bruce!"
Dick, who has turned back to the computer, spins around again to give Tim his most deadly glare. "Don't you ever compare me to him," he says, angrily. "He tried to destroy his friends. I'm trying to save mine."
"You're chasing down the ghost of a friend who's been gone for years and leaving the rest of us to rot," Tim says in a voice that was closer to a snarl. "Is that what Wally would want?"
Dick turns back to the computer. "When I find him, I'll ask him," he says in a deadly voice. "And I will find him."
Tim stands there, not speaking. The faint whoosh of air that only a Bat could detect is the sole indicator that the third person to take up the mantle of Robin has left.
A lot of this chapter borrowed heavily from "A Better World, Part 1."
So what do you think? Finish, ditch, keep as a single chapter to terrify you and hold you in suspense? It'll take me a little while between chapters, but the next one will be up in a week.
This chapter was mostly Lord-centric to freak you guys out. Any explanations will come from Wally's viewpoint. If there's anything you want to see when Wally comes back, please let me know!
As always, REVIEW!