This is the more depressing version of my story, Ginger Invasion. Same basic premise, except Lian does not make an appearance and the tone is much more serious. Enjoy the angst!
Batman didn't like outsiders in his city. He especially didn't like metas in his city. And he really hated it when a criminal attacked any of the numerous Wayne industries spread throughout Gotham. It just hit too close to home, and always made him nervous that someone would look a little too close at Bruce Wayne and suddenly discover some incriminating coincidences.
So when a metahuman who definitely didn't belong to Gotham broke into Wayne Corp in the middle of Batman's patrol, he was seriously displeased.
It was pure luck, actually, that Batman noticed the disturbance in the first place. It was so fast, he almost didn't catch it, but still his keen senses couldn't ignore the brief blur that zipped up the tower of Wayne Corp, and expertly slipped into a window that should've been locked and alarmed. A speedster, then, which meant whoever it was was probably one of the Flash's rogues. A closer look revealed a figure in dark clothing of average height, male, hood pulled down low over the face. He was on the top floor in the biggest office, fingers a blur as they typed away at the computer. Batman's computer. Or rather, Bruce Wayne's. That was his office.
Batman didn't come crashing in like he normally did. Considering the perps meta-abilities, he had to be a bit more careful with this. Instead, he landed silently on the ledge outside the office, noticing how the window hadn't even been opened, nor the alarm tampered with. He phased through, then.
The speedster had his back turned to him, so busy he was with the computer. Batman used the distraction to override the alarm on the window and carefully ease it open, just enough so that he could toss in one of his foam pellets.
The speedster noticed it a second too late. He ran just as the pellet exploded, clearing most of the blast but still getting most of his left leg caught. No amount of tugging would get him out.
Batman swept into the room, glaring as he loomed before the speedster. He still couldn't get a good look at his face, due to the darkness, but he didn't look frightened. Panicked, maybe, but not afraid.
"Aw crap," the speedster said. He sounded younger than Batman expected. "Look, I'm really sorry for breaking in, I didn't want to, but it's really important, and-"
"What were you doing?" Batman growled, cutting off his rambling.
"I'm looking for someone," he answered. "I swear, I'm not a bad guy or anything, I'm not even supposed to be here, I promise I can explain it all but it's really important that I find this girl first-"
Batman ignored him, and instead walked over to the computer to see what the speedster was doing. What he saw made his blood freeze.
He had logged into the backup system for the Batcomputer. Batman didn't like having such a blatant connection between himself and Bruce Wayne on something this public, but it was a necessary evil since he couldn't be in the Bat-cave 24/7. Accessing it wasn't easy. You had to know it was there to find it, and even then you'd probably only end up getting rerouted to the desktop where the computer would then freeze and wipe its hard-drive. This guys had to know exactly what he was doing to get this far. Even more worrisome, it looked like he didn't hack in. Which meant he had the access codes.
"Aw man," the speedster groaned. "I know this looks bad, but I swear, I'm not your enemy, Bruce, you have to just listen to me, I-"
He didn't get the chance to say anything else, because he was already slumped on the floor, unconscious.
"He looks...really young." Superman clearly wasn't comfortable with the situation, and honestly, Batman had to agree with him, but for completely different reasons. They currently had a teenaged speedster who knew his secret identity and had the access codes to the Batcomputer unconscious on the Watchtower. Batman hadn't wanted to take him here, but given the circumstances, it seemed like the best option.
"You said he was looking for someone?" Wonder Woman asked, equally unnerved by the speedster's youth. He still had the barest traces of baby fat on his cheeks, freckles speckled across his nose and under his eyes, with bright red hair that fell messily around his head. He looked vaguely familiar, but Batman couldn't quite place where he'd seen the boy before.
"That's what he told me, in any case," Batman replied. "The fact that he was looking through my files to do it makes me suspect that this person isn't someone very friendly."
"You think he was searching for one of your rogues?" Green Lantern asked.
"Possibly. This is all very suspicious."
"Can't J'onn read his mind, find out what he was doing?" Hawkgirl asked, turning to the Martian. He didn't look too keen on the idea.
"Only as a last resort," Superman said. "Criminal or no, that's still a huge invasion of privacy."
There was a woosh, and suddenly Flash was there, saying, "Sorry I'm late! I had to tell my boss that my uncle was sick. What's the emergency?"
"Him," Batman said, gesturing to the passed out speedster in the containment cell. "I found him in Gotham, using my systems. He's a speedster, and he knows my secret I.D. It's possible he knows all of ours. You know him?" Batman frowned when he didn't get an answer, and turned to see that the Flash was frozen, staring at the unconscious boy. "Flash?"
The Flash started, looking wildly between all of them before choking out, "Know him? He's...he's me!"
"Um...what?" That was Hawkgirl.
Shaking his head, the Flash pulled back his cowl, revealing hair just as red and a face strikingly similar to the boy's.
"Oh my god," GL muttered as he glanced between the two speedsters.
So that's where Batman recognized him from. The two did look remarkably similar, though the boy was obviously younger. He supposed it could be possible that he was just a younger Flash.
"What does this mean?" J'onn asked.
"Maybe he's my evil clone?" Flash suggested with a nervous chuckle. "Doppelganger? From another dimension?"
That gave Batman pause. "That's...possible," he conceded.
"It would make sense," Batman insisted. "It would explain the differences, such as his age, slightly different appearance, and the fact that he has his speed at a much younger age than you first got yours."
"How do you know when I got my speed?" Flash demanded, before huffing. "Y'know what, nevermind, you're Batman. I shouldn't even ask."
"It would also explain how he knew my I.D," Batman went on. "If he knows the Batman in his dimension, it's possible that I-or rather, he revealed his identity." It still didn't explain the access codes, but that was a question for when the boy woke up.
"If he is from another dimension," said Superman, "then why is he here?"
"I don't know," Batman replied. "Let's ask him."
The boy was waking up, groaning as he sat up until he noticed his hand cuffed to the wall. His arm started to vibrate, but when nothing happened, he started to panic. "Oh crap, shit, shit, oh man, shit," he was muttering, looking frantically around the room. "Hey!" he yelled. "You have to let me out! Look, I can explain everything, I really can, but it's really important that you let me out first!"
"He sounds serious," Wonder Woman murmured.
"He said he can explain everything," Batman grunted. "I say we let him." He unlocked the door and opened it, fully intending to give his most intimidating Bat-glare, but before he had set no more than a foot in the room, the boy had suddenly zipped past him, leaving a pair of unlocked speedster-proof cuffs behind him. A quick glance revealed that he didn't use his speed to get him out, he actually picked the lock. Batman didn't even know that was possible (for someone other than him, obviously).
"Where'd he go?" GL asked, head whipping around.
"He's at the command bridge," J'onn reported. "I think he's trying to escape."
"Flash," Batman said. "Lock down the hanger then meet us there. If we lose this kid we're going to be hard pressed to find him again."
"On it!" He had his cowl back up and zipped away a moment later, leaving the rest of them to chase after their rogue speedster.
"I thought those cuffs were designed so that someone like the Flash couldn't phase out of them," Hawkgirl huffed.
"They are. He picked them," Batman grunted.
"He picked your lock?" Superman asked. "This kid is just full of surprises."
They were at the command bridge a moment later, revealing the kid frantically typing away at one of the computers, clearly trying to get the teleporter to work. He whirled around at their entrance, eyes wide and panicked as he tensed to run.
"Hold on," Superman said gently. "We don't want to hurt you. We just-"
"Believe me, I'd really rather avoid a fight you guys as well," the kid said. "But unfortunately, I really don't have time to explain things. I have to-"
"Wally!" Batman cut him off.
The kid frowned. "How do you know my name?"
"Because of me," the Flash said, appearing in the room with a woosh. He pulled back his cowl, an easy smile on his face. "You're from another dimension, right? We just want to-"
"You're Wally West," the kid said, eyes wide and face pale.
"Well, there goes the rest of my secret identity, but yeah. And you're-"
"I'm not you," the kid interrupted, face suddenly hard. "Look, I came here by accident. It was Klarion the Witch Boy. I wasn't expecting it, and afterwards, I found myself here. And I wasn't the only one. There was a girl with me. My friend's little sister. Her name is Ellie and I was babysitting her. I have to find her. She's only six years old and while she's a pretty spectacular kid, she's still just a little girl and she could be anywhere in the world or even a completely different dimension and I have to find her." He turned to Batman and said, "That's why I was using your systems. I needed connection to a satellite to hack into her tracker."
"Wait, tracker?" GL cut in. "And you said she's six?"
The boy rolled his eyes. "Her dad is Nightwing and her mom is Oracle of course she has a tracker. Now can I please use the Watchtower's computer to find her?"
Batman eyed him carefully. "How do we know you don't intend to attack us?"
"Batman!" Superman said.
"We can't know for sure."
The kid sighed. "Look, I'm guessing there's no Nightwing or Oracle in this dimension, so let me put it in a way you'll understand. Ellie's grandfather? Is Batman."
"So…" the Flash said casually, looking over to the other speedster. "You said you weren't me?"
The kid sighed, not taking his eyes off the building. "Look, I'd be happy to tell you my entire life's story once this is all over, but for now, can we please focus on getting Ellie?"
"Right, right, sorry," Flash nodded, hands up in surrender, but he couldn't help it as his eyes drifted back to what really looked to be just a younger version of himself. It was almost like looking into a mirror from the past. Red hair, freckles, round nose. The only notable difference were the eyes, grey rather than green.
"I've located the girl," J'onn's voice echoed over the coms. "There's a basement level where she's being held.
"That doesn't sound good," Flash muttered.
"Then let's get her out," the kid huffed, already jumping from his hiding spot and zipping towards the building.
"Kid, wait!" But he was already gone, and Flash had no choice but to follow. "Figures Batman's granddaughter from another dimension would get kidnapped by Lex Luthor of all people," he grumbled to himself, easily making it past the security without raising any alarms. Hopefully, Superman had Luthor distracted by now. Otherwise, this next part might not turn out to be so easy.
By the time Flash made it down to the basement level, the kid was already crouched at the corner, carefully eyeing the room. "Two guards," he reported once Flash was next to him. "And an alarm system that will automatically put the entire building on lockdown if tripped. Ellie's in a cell in the back. She looks unharmed, but she is a bat, so she could be hiding any injuries."
"I still think it's so weird that not only does Batman have a kid, but a grandkid as well," Flash whispered back.
"Batman has a bunch of kids," the younger speedster replied. He pulled the hood lower over his face and said, "He has a habit of adopting orphans." He tensed, ready to run, and said, "You take the guards, I'll deal with the alarm."
"Yeah, sure, take the lead," Flash muttered, but he was already gone. With a sigh, he pushed himself up and ran straight for the two guards, slamming the first one into the wall and tripping the second before he even had time to raise his gun. He hit the ground hard, groaning while his eyes lolled to the back of his head. "How we coming, Kid?" Flash called, turning to the boy. He was messing with some kind of control panel, fingers a blur over the wires.
"Almost got it," he called back.
"Wally!" the little girl exclaimed, jumping up from where she had been huddled in the corner. She was pretty small for an six year old, with bright blue eyes that shone with relief and hair just as red as the speedsters.
"Got it!" he shouted, grinning as the cell door opened. Ellie raced out of it and into the kid's arms, who scooped her up and held her close to his chest. "Oh thank god," he said, letting out a breath. "Oh man, your dad's gonna kill me."
"It's okay Wally," Ellie said. "It was the mean boy with the cat's fault!"
Flash let a smile twitch at his lips as he tapped his coms. "This is Flash," he said. "Three to the Watchtower."
"Copy, Flash," J'onn replied. "Standby."
A moment later they were back in the command room of the Watchtower, the rest of the Justice League waiting for them, Superman included.
"I'm guessing your distraction went well?" he said to the Kryptonian.
Superman nodded, a grin on his face. "He's pissed though. Figured out what was going on just as you guys were done. He's probably having a tantrum right about now."
"Wally?" Ellie's soft voice spoke up. "We're in another dimension, aren't we?"
"Yeah Ellie, we are," the kid-Wally replied. "Don't worry. Lian will tell the Justice League what happened and your dad will find us."
"Cause he's been to another dimension before, right?"
Wally laughed. "Right."
The Flash cleared his throat, getting their attention. "So, um…" He trailed, scratching the back of his head. "You wanna maybe explain a few things now? I mean, I, for one, would love to hear all about Batman's domestic life as a single dad of numerous orphans, apparently, but I'm also a little curious about what you meant when you said you aren't me? I mean, how many redheaded speedsters named Wally can there be?"
Wally frowned, shoulders slumping as a sadness the Flash wasn't expecting suddenly took over his features,
"Wally," Ellie said. "He's not Uncle Barry."
"No," Wally agreed. "He's not." He set the little girl down and rubbed the back of his neck, looking at the ceiling, the ground, really anywhere but the Flash. Eventually, he sighed, and said, "I'm not Wally West. My name is Wally Crock, and Wally West was my father."
Flash felt his breath catch in his throat, eyes widening behind his cowl.
"Wait," GL said. "'Was?'"
Wally nodded. "My dad, Wally West, died almost seventeen years ago saving the world. I wasn't born yet. My mom didn't even know she was pregnant at the time."
Ellie reached up to grasp one of his shaking hands, leaning into his side and wrapping her other arm around his waist.
"So, no. I'm not you," he finished, not meeting the Flash's eyes.
For a moment, the Flash did nothing. But then he reached up to pull his cowl back and walked towards Wally. He placed his hands on the boy's shoulders waiting until he met his eyes before saying, "I'm sorry, what happened to your dad. And I know I'm not him. But I am Wally West, and I can tell you that you are one impressive kid."
A hesitant smile twitched on Wally's face. "Really?"
"Definitely really," Flash nodded. "I mean, I've known you for, like, three hours, and already you've gotten one past the Batman, bypassed Lex Luthor's security, and, apparently, you hacked into the Batcomputer. I'll admit, I am kind of a genius, but you're something else kid."
The smile on Wally's face was full-blown now. "Th-thanks," he said. "My mom taught me all her cool ninja moves. Though I didn't actually hack into the Batcomputer. John gave me the access codes."
"Still, pretty cool," the Flash said, taking a step back.
"Who's John?" Superman asked.
"He's my big brother!" Ellie exclaimed, bouncing up and down on her feet. "He's Wally's best friend, but he wasn't supposed to give Wally the access codes to the Batcomputer."
Wally looked a little sheepish. "Yeah, sorry about that, Batman. And John only gave them to me because of what happened with Vandal."
Batman gave him something of a half-glare, but was saved from answering when Wonder Woman asked, "So, what now? How do you get you home?"
"I wouldn't worry about it," Wally replied. "Between Zatanna and Bart, I'm sure they'll find us pretty quickly. This isn't the first time one of us has been lost in another dimension, after all."
"My daddy got lost in another dimension," Ellie reported, quite seriously. "He was James' age, and he met a Batman called Crazy Steve who fed him rat stew!"
"Oh my god," Wally muttered. "I still don't 100% believe that that really happened."
"Crazy...Steve?" John asked.
"Don't ask," Wally huffed. "Seriously, it's really weird. Anyway, the point is someone will come for us soon enough. Lian was with us when Klarion attacked, so she no doubt told...someone." Hopefully that someone wasn't her mom. Aunt Jade was scary.
"So you guys have a bit of time before you gotta go?" Flash asked.
"Uh, yeah, I guess so."
"In that case...would you like to go for a run?" Flash looked a little sad, but also a little hopeful, and he hoped Wally understood his meaning. He didn't remotely want to take the place of his real father, but maybe just one day, one day to pretend…
Wally's whole face lit up. "R-really? You'd do that?"
"If you're up for it," Flash answered.
The redhead nodded excitedly. "Yeah! That'd be awesome! Uh-" He turned to Ellie and said, "Hey kiddo, you gonna be okay if I go for a run?"
"Can I have some cereal?" she asked in reply.
"Sure!" Wally agreed, then turned to the Justice League. "You have cereal, right?"
"We sure do!" Flash answered. "And I'm sure Green Lantern would love to get her some! C'mon kid, let's see how fast you are!"