Chapter 1: Fix Me.
It was cold. The lights were dizzyingly brilliant, and the walls and floor made an immaculate, suffocating white box around him.
He shivered beneath his blanket.
God, it was cold.
He felt the thin cotton slide against his smooth, freckled skin as he pulled it further up his body.
He breathed a little deeper, and felt his chest heave as it escaped from his lips, jagged and hot.
The air smelt of anesthesia, antiseptics and pine. It stung like water in his lungs.
It was not as though he didn't remember. He did. It had been a deafening, crunching, splintering earthquake in his head, and it had shot up his body like cold fire, ebbing over him like the ocean waves, and reminding him again and again of how human, how mortal he was. That was his sin. Forgetting he was mortal. Though he had always denied it, it had always been true.
Now, he was pulled out from his denial, with all the suddenness of a pin pricking into a large balloon. He felt his chest deflate.
He wasn't confused. He wasn't dizzy. He was perfectly aware of his surroundings, beneath the silent, unmoving, tear-stained visage.
He was exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally. He had spent the night, screaming in his head. Screaming until the tingling had dissipated into numbness.
And then, he was alone, drowning in the void of apathy and detachment. It was as though his body and soul had been wrenched apart, tossed to the farthest corners of the universe, left to wither and rot, separated and useless.
He had reached out, willed himself to the brink. But his body… his body refused to move.
For the first time in his life, no joke came to his lips, to chase away the reality. No comfort could be found in the pile of food that lay stagnating on the table beside. And there was nothing in the words of others to save him from the void. They were all shadows anyway, flickering through the halls of hypocritical, growing monstrosity.
The room became colder and a hunched, cloaked figure floated in, noiseless as the air on a still summer night. He felt the presence, looming, foreboding.
He could see through his eyelids. They were a lurid red-amber. He could tell the light had gotten dimmer. Heavy, laboured breathing caressed his ears. Strangely enough he was soothed by it.
The voice was characteristically monotone and guttural.
Slowly, the red split into light and colour, and he squinted as his eyes began to focus.
He forced a smile. It was something he had perfected long ago, during the early, unforgotten, angst-ridden days of his adolescence.
Suffering was the strangest thing. He was in pain, but he couldn't feel, and this unfelt pain gave him strength to look up into the stoic eyes he had always avoided, out of dread, out of sheer terror of judgment.
Bruce shifted in the light. The edges of his silhouette were blurred against the whiteness.
He was exhausted, and his smile melted away into the unadulterated face of his accession.
"Don't. Just say it."
Bruce breathed. It was odd. It was almost as if he was afraid. But Bruce was never afraid. At least… never to Wally.
Finally, Bruce's sober lips parted, and the sound was muffled by the vastness of the room.
"We're sorry. We tried the best we could." He exhaled arduously. "You're paralyzed from the waist downwards. There isn't much we can do. I'm sorry, Wally." He nodded, and his shoulders relaxed under his cape, as though the burden had been lifted. "If there's anything you need, don't hesitate to ask." He turned to the exit.
Wally watched him leave, and then, there was no one in the room but himself. He opened his mouth to whisper, but he was voiceless. He closed his eyes, and he was out of tears.
And all he could do was pray.