Wally rubbed his burning eyes. Monitor duty sucked for the average alien/metahuman superhero, but for the Flash it was worse. He has to stay still for hours and sometimes with the worst partner. Batman was stoic and quiet and John got annoyed quickly. Flirting with Hawkgirl and Diana for two hours wouldn't end well for Wally. J'onn didn't really react until Flash damn near tapped a hole into his shoulder. He really didn't like two hours with Superman, he didn't want to get drop-kicked out of the room or get two holes burned through him. (For two weeks, he'd flinched whenever Superman glared at him after the whole Heart of Darkness snake-gem-evil-thing.) Right now he was sitting as quietly as possible (which meant vibrating pretty hard for the entire time) with Superman, staring at the monitor in front of him. As much as this was true, he still wasn't comfortable. He was stiff, sleepy and tired from staring at screens for the entire time. He was hungry, too, but if any of his team mates caught him in the cafeteria they'd scold him as if he was a child. He may be the youngest but he will be treated as a full-grown superhero. And going to the cafeteria to stuff his face 3 hours after his last binge wasn't going to help his image.
He was just thinking of putting actual effort into going faster than the speed of sound to grab several large mugs of coffee (and determining that the sonic boom would alert literally anyone in the Watch Tower), one of the monitors beeped.
"Lex Luthor got out again," Superman said flatly. "Time to go." Clark alerted the rest of the team, and then jogged through the door.
"Wait- I need a snack," Wally grinned at him and zipped off to the cafeteria. He was going to make himself a coffee with as many sugars as possible in 3.7 seconds, but as he ran around the room he noticed something terrifying. There was nothing to eat or drink. "Uh oh," he muttered, hands on his hips, at the same time that Superman popped his head into the cafeteria.
"No, Flash, we need to go."
"What's taking so long?" John marched over, his expression one of deep, deep irritation.
"I need a snack, John, but-," Wally started to wail.
"What? No. Just- We need to go, Flash." John pinched his nose and turn on his heel, walking away.
"But my hyper acc-"
"But nothing Flash." Superman scowled at him.
"Fine. Fine," he relented, then muttered, "Don't blame me if something goes wrong because I'm too slow to save your ass."
They ignored him.
So, Lex has a mind-control gun. The moment they figured that out, based on the way the police were currently trying to riddle the Justice League with bullets, Superman was kindly and calmly flung very far away from the battle (courtesy of one Green Lantern). They would all apologize and happy-fluffy-mushy hugs would be distributed but at the moment, all of them were glad. Superman getting controlled wouldn't be a fun experience for any of the League, surrounding civilians, or nearby buildings.
"You sure you're in the right mind-set to be controlling people, Lexie?" Flash taunted. He saw the way Luthor's jaw clenched and a vein in his forehead throbbed when he called him 'Lexie'. It was hilarious, almost enough to lift Wally's mood. It didn't though because his stomach was trying to digest itself, his arms turned into wet sand, and his legs felt like overcooked noodles. Luthor seemed at a loss and spluttered for a moment, and instead decided to point his gun at John, who was shielding them from the brunt of the police's bullets and tiring quickly.
This is when thing went to shit. Wally planned it out in his head at super-speed. He laid out the steps he had to take to simultaneously save John, and not get holes poked in him with lead or get hit by the ray himself. He was going to dismantle the gun as fast as possible. Wally summoned up the last of his strength and ran, pushing all of his speed so that he could go faster than the speed of sound. He reached super-speed levels, but he wasn't able to break the sound barrier. There was no sonic boom, Wally's speed just. Stuttered out. So he was left smack dab in the middle of John and the ray, his face gray with shock (Why why why- my speed what just happened?). Behind him, he heard his team yell his name, telling him to move, he heard John's choked 'What the hell?'
And then the world folded itself up neatly, leaving him in the creases.
None of the other Justice League members were able to articulate much thought further than a crude, 'Flash in front of ray' and 'Flash not running' before a beam of dark blue light hit him. He stood up straight, moving mechanically toward Lex Luthor.
"Flash!" John yelled. He gave a final push, shoving the police back, and jumped back toward Diana, Hawkgirl, J'onn, and Batman. "We need to take him down quickly."
"He's not that much of a threat, though, is he?" Hawkgirl's asked.
"Are you kidding me?" John looked at her as if she'd just claimed the earth is flat. "He could take us all out in the blink of an eye!" They all looked at him incredulously, all except Batman. He knew how fast the Flash was, how he could still push himself faster than Mach 2.
"Yes, he's fast, but not enough to take out four of members of the Justice League on his own, right? It's just speed. He doesn't have a weapon, and he doesn't have mind powers or any armor." Diana said.
"'It's just speed'. 'It's just speed'. Flash has poked a hole in space time before and you doubt that he couldn't poke a few holes through us?" The three of them blanched.
Their rapid-fire discussion was interrupted by Lex ordering, "Flash, destroy the Justice League!" Unfortunately for all of them, he obeyed. He targeted J'onn first, zipping over to him and knocked him into Batman. They collided with a wall, cracking it and dislodging some bricks and dust.
Oh, Diana thought, It isn't just speed. She pushed off the ground and flew out of his range, and Hawkgirl followed her lead. They floated toward each other near a building and watched as John shot past them, floating high over any building.
"No! Get away from the-, " John tried to warn them, but it was too late. A streak of red and gold made its way up the building that the two of them were flying near. If someone had stopped time in that moment, they would've seen the amazing acrobatic maneuver that Wally pulled off, pushing himself away from the wall. They'd also see the way his face was tight with pain, his forehead was sweaty, and his eyes were dull with exhaustion. Not even a moment later, Flash was very suddenly on Hawkgirl's back, hugging her wings. They went down in a flurry of dusty brown wings and flailing limbs. John jerked forward and used his ring to catch them on a platform just before they slammed into the ground. Hawkgirl stayed there, clutching her wings, while Wally tumbled off. He got to his feet immediately and was about to run when his body locked up. A grimace appeared on his face and his legs twitched, but nothing happened. He was still.
"What the hell are you doing? Get them!" Luthor yelled.
"Flash, fight him," Luthor and the four Justice League members looked over at where Batman and J'onn had been and saw that the two were now standing. Bruce clutched his ribs, and J'onn was leaning against the wall, but he spoke as calmly as any other day. As if he wasn't fighting a close friend.
"No, Flash. Destroy them!" Wally stumbled back and gripped his head, doubling over. The tension was thick in the air as both sides waited for the speedster to do something, anything. Then he stiffened and straightened himself out again, and turned toward the Martian. In the blink of an eye he was slamming J'onn into the wall repeatedly, and then flung him at Batman again. He ran over to the fallen human and snatched the Batarang that was meant for him, stabbing it through his cape. He stole several more and stuck Batman to the ground. Then, he starting to spin his arms in tight circles to try and blow Wonder Woman and Green Lantern away. John flinched and tried to brace himself, but the wind never came. Diana looked down at the same time he did and saw that Flash had fallen to his knees, heaving in breaths.
"Flash…?" She started to float down toward him so he if he was okay, but a hand clamped down on her shoulder. She looked up and saw it was John, who shook his head.
"Wait. He might still attack."
"Get up, you useless dim-wit." Flash twitched, and tried to get his legs under him, but collapsed again. Lex hummed, and then kicked the speedster in the ribs repeatedly, drawing almost inaudible gasps of pain from him. "I guess you didn't feed him right," Lex sneered.
Suddenly, there was a gush of wind and a new presence that prompted all of the Justice Leaguers in their right mind to look. Superman had made his way back (finally) and wasn't looking very pleased. In fact, his body language and expression screamed 'If you even look at me wrong I'll blast a hole through your brain'.
"And what the hell does that mean, Luthor?" He growled.
"One of your own is in better hands with me than you," He ignored the Kryptonian, "I may as well take him. Maybe figure out what makes him tick." Now a wicked grin spread itself across his face, sharp, like the look in his eyes. Superman took a threatening step forward, which was matched by Lex. His grin widened, turning toothy, "Flash. Stand. Up." A noise of distress wiggled itself out the speedster's lips as he pushed himself to his unsteady feet. "Destroy Superman." Sweat covered the visible skin on his face and he looked unable to even stand up straight.
"Superman," John said lowly.
"I won't hurt him," Clark said, starting to back up.
"You can literally bend steal, Superman, so you won't engage him. Fly around the city as fast as possible. Tire him out." Batman growled, ripping his glove away from the Batarang that held it down. Clark didn't have to opportunity to answer, Flash had already streaked over. He pummeled the taller man with blurred fists for only a second until Superman was flying away. "J'onn, do you think you can knock him unconscious?"
"Yes, I believe so." The Martian nodded.
Batman clicked the comm. in his ear. "Superman, J'onn is going to…mind-blast Flash in 15 seconds. Get him in the air. Make sure to catch him."
"Mind-blast? That doesn't sound good." Clark said, sounding hesitant.
"Just get him in the air, Kent. 10 seconds." Batman snapped. He was just as worried about their youngest member as the rest of them. Wally needed to rest before he literally and figuratively ran himself into the ground. But, Bruce needed to take charge before anyone else got a taste of how powerful the Flash is.
"He is going to hurt himself if he keeps going like this, you dolt. His hyper accelerated metabolism is going to kill him. Five seconds."
Realization dawned on Superman, his eyes widening as he was flying straight up and hovering near a building. "Oh God." He muttered, guilt curling in his stomach.
Meanwhile, Batman watched as Diana beat Luthor into the ground, forcing the truth out of him with her lasso.
"If you destroy the gun the mind-control will be disrupted if he's knocked out." Lex glared at her as he spit out his answer. She crushed the gun in her hand, shaking the metal bits off of her palm.
Her fist dug into his jaw, knocking him unconscious instantly. Then, she turned back to where the rest of the Leaguers were standing. Keeping a grip on her lasso, she walked over, enjoying the fact that Luthor would have some nasty road rash and scrapes when he woke up. J'onn's eyes glowed just as she stepped next to Hawkgirl and John, who was watching the sky intently. "He'll be okay," Diana said softly. He grunted to acknowledge but didn't look at her.
"He is unconscious." J'onn reported.
"I've got him," Superman said through the comm. link.
"Bring him over, Luthor is down," Hawkgirl said, sadistically gleeful. "Would it be too wrong for me to kick his teeth in?" Before any of them could assure her that it would fine for the billionaire to lose some teeth, Superman landed. He was cradling a battered Wally in his arms, bridal style.
"Let's get him back to the Watchtower. Superman, you turn in Luthor. " Batman said. He nodded and passed the speedster to Diana. Her brows furrowed and she frowned sharply, arms curling around him tighter. He was so light. He gave a low groan, eyes fluttering, but he never opened them.
"Hungry," he muttered, struggling to get up. He seemed to be favoring his right side, where Luthor had kicked him earlier. It made her blood boil to think of the man, but her focus stayed on the young man she was holding.
"Shh, Wally, shh," she shushed him, "You're okay, Wally." John grabbed his limp hand, squeezing it comfortingly. Shayera carded her hands through his hair. Wally went limp in Diana's arms again, his face slightly less tight than before.
"Why aren't his ribs healing?" Hawkgirl asked. She was standing behind John, who was sitting next to Wally's bed.
"His body does not have the strength to heal itself yet." J'onn answered. He hooked up another IV bag. It was the fifteenth bag, but according to the Martian it usually took around 43 to get him into tip-top shape. But this time, he'd been pushed far past his limit and didn't have sufficient snacks before the battle. It would take twice as much to get him to minimal strength. "The battle tired him greatly. Where is Superman?"
"I think I saw him in the cafeteria restocking the fridge." Diana said, her hand resting on Wally's ankle. He looked small and out of place, his red hair shocking against the pristine white of the sheets. It stood up in places; the cowlicks making him seem even younger. The sheets were pulled down to his waist, just barely brushing his sharp hips. The upper half of his suit had been peeled off of his bruised and sweaty skin so that his ribs could be wrapped. The diagnosis had been reached 2 hours ago, so they'd been in the Watchtower for about 3 hours. Wally was malnourished, dehydrated, and severely exhausted. His body had been pushed to the edge and kept there for far too long. He had cracked 2 ribs from Luthor but thankfully the surrounded bones were only bruised. No organs had been damaged, which was a blessing. None of them were doctors, and even if J'onn has studied the human body thoroughly, he wasn't a doctor back on Mars. No one wanted to go digging around Wally's body, especially because they had no idea if anesthesia would even work. John shuddered, pushing away all thoughts of surgery on his friend.
"Well, we have plenty of time to talk about this I guess," Diana said.
"What is there to talk about?" Hawkgirl asked, not unkindly.
"We can't have Wally passing out in the middle of a fight because he didn't get the chance to eat, but I don't know how he can have a steady stream of food." Diana explained. Hawkgirl hummed in understanding. Both women were preoccupied worrying about the redhead to get too competitive. It was just as much of a blessing as Wally's lack of internal injury seeing as John didn't have the patience to let them work it out themselves.
"I agree," John said, his voice rough, "But what can we do? Have him carry around a buffet?" He huffed. His tone wasn't exactly pleasant, and he didn't mean to snap at them, but he was tired and concerned. They chose to turn their cheek unanimously.
"Maybe he doesn't need a lot of food, just something packed with nutrients. Like those protein bars he only occasionally eats." Despite Wally being out cold, Diana glared at him. It was without heat. She just wanted to see him up and about, zipping around the Watchtower, flirting and eating and talking too quickly to make out any words. Even when he was dozing off on monitor duty, he was twitching or vibrating in his sleep, occasionally mumbling the name of a food. Now, he was silent and still. At least once they'd gotten him in the bed and hooked him up to the IV his face had relaxed from a pained grimace, now serene. It was simultaneously unnerving and reassuring.
They all jumped as Batman spoke up, "The cafeteria ran out of food before the fight." None of them had even realized he'd come back from doing whatever it was that Batman did after fights. "We may all have to pitch in to keep the cafeteria stocked to avoid this happening again." He checked the IV, adjusted the drip, and felt Wally's forehead.
"He doesn't have a fever," Diana said.
"Exactly. Wally vibrates constantly, enough so that he body temperature should be elevated. He's cold right now." Bruce carefully lifted the arm that had the IV in it and pulled the sheets so that they lay over half of Wally's torso. He set down the arm and moved the other arm from under the sheets. They were astonished. That was the most fatherly, caring thing Batman had ever done. And then they realized that Batman hadn't done that, Bruce Wayne had. Bruce Wayne could afford showing affection, and this was how he did.
Then, J'onn turned toward Flash and smiled faintly. Everyone else turned to look at him, too, and saw that the speedster's eyes were fluttered. His rosy lips parted in a huge yawn and his right arm, the one connected to the IV, to rub his eyes, which snapped open when he felt the pinch of the needle. Hawkgirl gently placed her hand on his chest before he could sit up.
"What- Who- Where?" Wally's words blurred together as his head turned to look left and right rapidly. Then, he groaned and sunk back onto the mattress, rubbing his head with his left hand. "Oww…It feels like Grundy stepped on my head." With another groan, he added, "And ribs."
"Do you remember what happened, Wally?" John asked.
"Uh," he paused for a moment, and then his memories flooded back, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry! DidIhurtanyofyou? Don'tanswerthat,Ialreadyknow,I'mtheoneinahospitalbed-"
Batman placed his hand on the speedster's shoulder. "It's alright. You were the only one injured enough to need any medical attention. I do have one less suit, though." He said with a hint of humor. Wally blushed, his freckled disappearing under the red dusting his cheeks and ears, but looked relieved all the same.
"Okay. Tha's good…" He was already slurring and his eyelids were drooping. He struggled to stay awake though. "Di' I destroy…an'thin'?" Another jaw-cracking yawn.
"No, Wally. You didn't destroy anything," Shayera said with a small smile.
"Alright," he mumbled. "Okay. Didja get Lexie?"
"He's not getting out of jail any time soon," Diana reassured.
"Sleep, Wally." J'onn said. And he did, face relaxing again and all tension melting from his body.
It was nice to be able to take care of their resident speedster for once. He always deflected questions about his health, mental, physical, and emotional, and joked his way out of any sort of situation where he was going to be taken care of. It was always a struggle to get him to let J'onn and Batman to check out his injuries after a battle. Unless he passed out or had bones that needed setting, he went to his room in the Watchtower to wait until he wounds were healed, regardless of bleeding or pain. It was ridiculous. So being able to pamper him when he was hurt was only an occasional treat. And, sure, maybe the tiny victory was almost outweighed by the extra worry that they had no idea how to help Wally stay properly fed, but they had plenty of time to figure that out, as a team. As a family.
A/N: I was desperate enough for more Barry Allen that I watched Justice League, and I fell in love with the team…so it didn't really matter that it's actually Wally West. Anyway I'm planning on writing more for this but even this little one-shot took a while to finish. I hope you liked it, I hope it wasn't too OOC because I may have wrote most of this after an all-nighter…but whatever. Bye bye.