Jinx sighed contentedly.

What a night!

She pushed backward against him as she took a deep breath, feeling his warm skin against hers from head to toe as she did so. Not quite head to toe. She could feel his breath against the back of her neck. She gave a squeeze to his left arm across her breasts with her left arm and sighed again. It was the day. It was his birthday.

She opened one eye and saw light starting to fill the morning sky and filter into their window. This would be the day. She closed her eye again and smiled contentedly. It was right. Sooooo fricking right. And that was that. If any asshole wants to tell us that we shouldn't or that we're white trash for being so young or figures that . . . She looked down past the fair skin of his arm at her taut, Titan trained abs. If they want to guess that, let 'em keep guessing for months before they figure out they were wrong. She sighed. Irritation gone. There was no place for anger today. Today was the day. And she knew what he'd say. She felt certain. He was feeling the same things. It was there in the look in his eye. Even after they got back from the club and were making love. That look. On the verge of something, something wonderful.

She reached back with her left hand and enjoyed the shape of his body and the feel of his skin against her palm, stopping as always at what she now routinely called his "only contribution to society". She smiled remembering that planning meeting a month back. Robin finished pointing out their assignments on a map for protecting the Jump City street festival. And Wally had pointed to another street intersection and said "And here's where Jinx'll stand in her black lace dress of interlocking pentagrams and make snarky comments about the odd taste of passersby."

She immediatley pointed at the corner of a third intersection. "And here's where a crowd will gather and," she pointed to the opposite corner of it. "Here's where Wally will turn his back to them and make his sole contribution to society," she said with a pat of his butt. "Just make sure they're in the light, okay? It's what you're there for." Starfire laughed and Raven even sort of snickered as Wally rolled his eyes.

She gave him a pat now. Ahhhh speedster body. Maybe it was her villain beginnings. All the top hero types, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, were barrel chested hypermuscular types. Ultra jocks. Sure, there was Wally's uncle now adoptive father. But he was the exception. And it wasn't just the villains who tended in the other direction. Everyone in her world, the outcasts, the folks in the alternative world tended to be the skinny guys, the geeky misfits and such. Wally was like the best possible skinny alterna-dude. She gave his butt another pat. Okay, he was more than that. He was totally built for speed, every ounce of him. She sighed again and thought of last month in the Tower library, him stretched out on the couch, all abs and buns and muscles and energy in his red and yellow suit and yet reading that book. Gods! What a combination. She'd had to cross her arms over her chest when Cyborg came in from the hallway. Wouldn't change a thing about him.

Although. She smirked, feeling it against the small of her back. Gods Wally! She broke into a full grin now. She remembered making fun of him, picking up her communicator with a serious expression and saying it was urgent that she call a doctor. It's lasted more than four hours! Ahahahaha! He'd rolled his eyes at her doubled over laughing on the covers. And she'd laughed more at him taking it sort of seriously and making excuses, just in case.

Look, that's only if you take one of those pills. And you didn't see me when I went to the bathroom. I wasn't . . . and-and besides, I'm a Flash.

She grinned some more now. He wasn't a saint. He fired back sometimes, but only in private. He completely got it. There was a her, a him, an us that was just for us. All the shields are down with the person who'd never hurt me, the guy who'd take on the whole world and rob the city and ruin his life if that's what it took to not hurt me. That person can see the me I don't show to the world. He got that. And, in a funny way, he did the same thing. He presents the same happy go lucky, kind of geeky face to everyone else. I'm the only one who sees the guy who almost HAS to get it. I'm the only one who can make him feel that. Jinx sighed contentedly. Last night was the best ever. That song he played when we got back!! Gods, that was perfect. Perfect! Almost like he knew I'm going to! And then everything afterward! Well, okay, the boy wasn't made just for speed. Another smirk.

And a thought occurred to her. That's another reason why Hinduism's so much more civilized than all the different variations of crap that came out of the middle east with their stupid denial. Oh don't do that. Oh no. Don't give each other joy. Just, um, feel guilty about anything you like and remember that you're dirt. Because . . . GodAllahYahweh loves you! Uh . . yeah. Sure.


Let it go. It doesn't matter and there's no point in worrying too much about stupidity. Thank gods Wally wasn't into that crap, she thought then smirked. They'd have kicked him out anyway. Supernaturally powered speedster with genes almost all from the future and a total sex freak, too. Hmmph. So freaking flexible! Must be part of the super speed deal, she smirked. Like to see anybody but that Elongated Man character try those Kama Sutra things he does! Even if somebody could, they wouldn't be able to tongue at super speed or vibrate their . . . . like he can. How can I ever be with another guy now? What a conversation that would be the first time. Soooooo . . . let me get this straight. You can't vibrate it and that . . . that's . . . all you've got? Seriously. That's it? You don't have, like, some temporary dwarf equipment condition or something? Average huh? Graded on what curve? Oh, did I just crush your self esteem? She smirked. You'd be an impossible act to follow orange hair. But you're only with me. If somebody like Speedy could . . . ?! Oh gods. He'd cut a swath through even more of the populace. She smirked. She knew she should find him a bit sleezy, but somehow, she sort of liked him and his voracious, omnivorous appetite for action didn't bother her. Sort of like Wally but with everyone as a target instead of just her. At least he was sort of honest about it. Archer on the make. The longbow you should get to know! No qualified applicant turned away! Have quiver, will deliver. No, Have quiver, will make you shiver! She chuckled softly. How many of the wait staff did he get last night? Gods, that's a great club.

She smirked anew recalling the looks on everyone's face at the door. All that debate at the Tower. Let's go here! No, let's go there! No, lets's do this! No. No. No. And finally Wally shouts down half the young heroes on the planet and tells 'em to trust him and go to that place. Everybody changes to normal clothes to try and pretend not to be the freaks we are and Wally leads everybody down the end of that L shaped alley to the unmarked black door. And off a cliff. Jinx smirked recalling the exchange Wally had with the huge, coke machine of a bouncer only visible through that little slit in the black door.


Metal slit opens.

"Yeah?" came forth the decidely unimpressed voice after looking at skinny, orange haired Wally Allen in his black suit and black and white print shirt.

"Tell Jabba the fricking Greek that I'm here with my friends."

Two beady eyes squinted out the door in shock. What?! Then the slit shut. A minute later, young heroes glancing all the while at each other wondering about the wisdom of Wally's greeting, the slit opened again.

"Greek says we don't need no skinny ass, underage losers with clown hair in here."

"Oh yeah? Well tell fatso he can go screw himself if he can ever find it!"

The metal slit shut.

"Um, what'd you just do, dude?" demanded a worried Beast Boy speaking for the rest of the heroes.

"He just screwed up our plans,"' said Argent from the back. "That's what he did."

But Wally was nonplussed. He nodded slightly over his shoulder to the others.

Got it all under control.

Jinx had laughed. The others were about to shout at him and slap the back of his head for his being an idiot and ruining their plans. But, she'd been there with him before. Most exclusive club in Jump City. If you were a young billionaire and you just moved into Jump, if the NBA all star game was in Jump that year and the players were looking for the best club, if you were the creme de la cool of Jump, you went to the Greek's place. And in an age of minimalist one word club names, the Greek had 'em beat. His didn't even have a name. That was part of the mystique. People had to refer to it by their fond recollections of it. That place with those girls! That place where we partied with the MVP! Or that place with the incredible food and the crazy drinks! It didn't have an address either. There was no number on the door. But its vague renown had spread across the city and was spoken of in hush wanna be there whispers by the 98th percentile of cool in Jump City. They didn't make the cut.

Finally, the door flung open and a huge, bowling ball of a guy six and a half feet tall and almost as wide, with, black hair and carefully cultivated 3 day beard in a shockingly well fitted silk suit appeared on the other side of the doorway. Latin dance music burst forth from the darkness behind him.

"Ahhhhh, Carrot!" the huge man shouted. "Come in you little son of a bitch!" he waved and they all followed Wally inside.

"And, if we were being turned away earlier, we would have known that how?" Raven had muttered.

The Greek hugged Wally a moment, enveloping him and asked how many. Twenty two, Wally had replied meekly. Ah, no problem, said the huge man and he clapped his hands and told some waiters to bring them to one of the medium size tables.

The young heroes all looked around assessing the place as they went. It was all red and black leather, and everything was the highest quality from glasses to silverware to plates to the floors and walls, everything. It was like an oasis of the highest tax bracket in the middle of a gritty section of Jump. And it was huge, almost illogically large. It took up that whole floor of that building, all smaller areas half broken off from a larger dance floor with bars all around. Everyone got seated and Wally explained to the others that he had saved the Greek's life and had a standing invite to drop by whenever he wanted. The music was a little less loud where they were seated but the lights were just as dim. Gar loved it. Somehow his green came off as perhaps dark skinned latin perhaps who knows what in the light of that club but not green. Though the ears were a little off, no one gave him a second look, none of the usual gawking. Food came quickly and plenty of it, amazing lamb, shrimp and lobster and something they did with chicken and honey on sticks for appetizers. And after Wally quickly huddled with the Greek, nodding over at his apparent dark skinned latin friend making jokes in the corner, a vegetarian tray arrived with sweet peppers and exotic specialties that Gar pronounced the best he'd ever had.

There were hours of dancing and talking, socializing with sort of co-workers, maybe more like workers at other branch offices of the same company, people doing the same job who would understand what other people didn't. They could unwind with each other like with no one else. The hours flew by in laughter. Jinx danced with Wally a bunch of times to the pounding dance music, mostly latin but also DJ played top hits in the next room. She talked a lot with Argent, Batgirl, Wonder Girl, Raven and Mary Marvel, too, unwinding and sharing after a drink or two each, not quite confessional but revealing and fun. There were some questions about her and Wally and she didn't hold back. They asked about his hyper, braggart rep. She said it wasn't true. Well, it was a little bit true. But she told 'em about how his mild super speed high and his new excuse. The other teen heroines laughed.

"Oh, come on Jinx! Comic books!"

Laughter all around.

"This is real life Jinx. The world of Marvel comics is just fantasy. He does know that, doesn't he?"

"Of course. He just . . . He just says that he sees parallels with the character of Spiderman, because-"

Louder laughter all around.

"Does he spin webs, Jinx?"

"Can he walk on ceilings?"

"He can run on water."


"Hey! Hey! Seriously!" Jinx took a gulp of her drink. "Peter Parker is kind of a nerd and he's treated like dirt so when he goes out fighting crime as Spiderman-"

"Jinx! Those are comic books! You think that Marvel company draws up surveillance camera footage?"

"-so when he goes out fighting crime as Spiderman and being his real, powerful self, it's such a rush that he talks like a wiseass and shows off. Wally . . "

"Wait! That's his name? Wally? Kid Flash is a-a Wally?!?"

The most laughter yet.

When it finally died down, Jinx continued.

"Look. I had the same reaction at first. But the name means something totally different to me now. It means . . him. It means . . " she had a smile of lascivious recollection mixed with affection and they all hushed. "Anyway. Wally was treated like . . like shit by his family. I'm so glad I . . . well, never mind. Anyway, so, when he became Kid Flash and got to feel the joy of that, well, yeah, he went overboard at times. But, Brahma! He's not a hyper dope. Believe me. I know. I would not be with a hyper dope. I wouldn't . . . . with a hyper dope. I-I know everything about him that a girl can know about a boy. He's not like that."

This led inevitably to more questions about just what he was. She answered some. She knew she might have to. She saw the girls all eyeing him a little more seriously this year than last but it didn't matter. Still, she protected him and their 'us' but gave up anything else. She smiled at him as she was talking at one point. He smiled back from 50 feet away. He was going off to talk with Dick. He came back a little later in as good a mood as ever looking at her with that look. The invitation look. You want to? That night, every time he looked at her part of his smile was the invitation look. Though she felt the same way, she demurred. No storage rooms for her. Leave that to Speedy.

The night only ended when a couple of the younger heroes started yawning a bit too much and a few others found that their super powers did not include alcohol tolerance. Robin carefully shepherded the group from the Greek's club back to the Tower in two trips and soon enough the conversational and dance pairings at the club were tried out at the Tower as sleeping arrangements were decided.

Jinx smiled again now. Gods, Beast Boy! And she examined her own reaction. Almost a bit motherly, she realized. Hmmph. Next thing I'll be making sure he puts on a warm hat and mittens when he goes out in the cold. Maybe that was just the quality of the affection she had for him. It was definitely affection, anyway. Arrowette, huh? Go Beast Boy! Go Beast Boy! Go Beast Boy! She smiled and let herself doze off still spooning with Wally, her last wisps of thought being that she couldn't deny anyone the chance for this.

Wally woke with a sigh, slowly realizing where he was, holding Jinx in his bed, the two of them lying diagonally across it with sheets only haphazardly covering them. He wanted to cover her but didn't want to wake her. Hmmm. He pondered his options. Then he spun the index and middle fingers on his right hand, off the edge of the bed by hers and kicked up a short lasting breeze in the narrow confines of his room. The sheets billowed up like sails and came down gently across the pink haired beauty. Wally smiled. It's good to be a Flash.

He pressed his lips to the back of her neck and took a long slow breath soaking in the smell of her skin. He sighed contentedly and with his left eye looked past her soft skin and some pink tresses to the sky out the window. It was a crystal clear blue that would almost make you think you could see all the infinite beyond it. That seemed appropriate to him, Jinx part of his view of forever. This was going to be a great day and what a night that had been!

Ha! Totally fooled everybody at the door to the Greek's club. The look on Dick's face! Wally grinned still holding Jinx. He remembered dancing with Jinx and dances with Argent and Batgirl as well. So weird, the way they were all looking at me. They-they know there's no chance and yet . . . . Cy must be right.

Wally remembered going by Mary Marvel and Argent to the bar and getting looks like, well, the S.T.A.R. Labs MRI couldn't have provided any more information. It had surprised him. He found himself next to Cyborg at the bar. Cyborg had seen the quizzical expression on his face as he approached.

"What is it?"

"Huh, oh, nothing." Long pause. "Do I look very different to you than I did last year?"

"You?" sniffed Cyborg. "Nope. Still a skinny ass manorexic masquerading as a real-"

"Hey!" laughed Wally. "I've got some muscle. Seriously! Do I look that much different?"

"A little different I guess. Why?"

"The-the girls." He glanced around and saw Batgirl and Wonder Girl talking to each other while looking at him. "They . . they all look at me different, even different than last year, like-like they're more interested. But . . . they all know about me and Jinx and how we've been a couple. Shouldn't it go the other way?"

Cyborg shook his head, made up to match his skin and with his eyes behind sunglasses to hide his red one. "You have commitment halo now."


"Commitment halo." Cyborg chuckled. "Girls like to see that a guy can make a commitment. Aside from whether he's attractive," he tapped his own impressive chest, "or not," he tapped Wally's through his print shirt, "girls want to know if the guy can commit. Can he be faithful. Even if it's subconsciously, you're making big points with all of them. Help Jinx away from the villains and stay tight with her for a year? You've got a commitment halo around your head."

"But . . . shouldn't it push them away? I'm with Jinx and that's all there is to it."

"Doesn't work that way Wally. You might break up with her tomorrow."

Wally shook his head emphatically. Amazing. And then another thought occurred to him. "Hey, Cy, how do you know this stuff anyway?"

"What, do you think I only know circuits?" said Cyborg finishing his drink with a gulp and walking away leaving Wally to stare curiously after him.

That was a surprising conversation. But after more dancing and drinking and laughing there had been another one later on.

He'd watched him off and on during the night as he kept watch over his flock, looking around the room checking on everyone, being the leader even there. Even the independents and heroes from other teams. They were in Jump City; they were his responsibility. They smiled back and forth at each other a couple times. I know what you're doing Dick. And a sheepish smile back. Yeah, it's true.

Finally later in the evening, it seemed like the right time. Wally tugged on Dick's shoulder pulling him away from a conversation with Hot Spot and nodding toward the bar for Dick to follow. Dick didn't feel like another beer but trailed after Wally anyway. But Wally kept going past the bar and Dick had to try and keep up as Wally traveled a serpentime path through a kitchen door and then past two cooks and a waiter down a hall and then out into another alleyway on the other side of the building. Dick looked around at the darkened dead end between two buildings with trash blowing gently about. To their left, a waiter was smoking a cigarette on break. They didn't understand why the waiter looked so surprised then breathed a sigh of relief. They didn't hear him mutter about "the other redhead" and getting fired if he couldn't be found another 20 minutes. They might let that pretty girl off. She could go off with . . . Hey, wait! Did she go off with him, too . . ?

Wally nodded to the right and he and Dick walked over by a bricked in window.

"Good night to be the leader huh? Everybody happy."

Dick nodded with a tiny smile.

"Good for you man!"said Wally and he wrapped his arms around his slightly embarrassed pal.

"W-wally!" Dick gasped for air.

"Oh, sorry," said Wally releasing him and patting his shoulder. "Just wanted to congratulate you," he added and they traded thank you and you're welcome smiles. Right after they did, the skies opened up and in just a few seconds it was raining hard. Dick quickly saw that there was a large air conditioner sticking out of the window a floor up and just a step to one side that would provide cover and he put his back to the brick there. Wally looked around and seeing no other option squeezed under the same air conditioner facing toward the wall with one foot between Dick's and one outside, just a few inches away.

"Jeez Wally!"

"Where else can I go? I want to talk to you. Don't worry. I won't go all Garth on you."

Dick rolled his eyes. Meanwhile, the waiter on his cigarette break was watching them from beneath another air conditioner equidistant from the door and wondering. This redhead too? Thought he was with that punk girl? And while he confirmed no blips on his gaydar, the two hero teens were talking.

"Yeah, I'm gonna, Dick. I mean, I intend to. But I want to know what you think."


"Yeah, you."

"Is she?" He gestured at his stomach.

"No! Of course not. I wouldn't just be asking because . . . "

"Wally. That's what people'll think. You . . . 16 and her just a few months older. Duh."

"Well that's not it."

"Fine. I accept that. Just be ready for a lot of people staring at her to see if she's starting to show."

Wally sighed and then nodded.

"But seriously, why run this by me?"

"Because . . because you're the single person in the world most like me. But you're not me. You can see me and understand without necessarily having my blind spots. You deal with the same weird identity thing as I do. You understand how our lives are on a different schedule than normal people. You won't laugh off my being 16 years old because you know where we are. And-and even though I make fun of you, the differences between us are all things I-I respect. I couldn't be the team leader. I just couldn't. And you just take it all in stride. I guess I could ask Flash but . . . I don't know. He's almost on a plane too high up there. It seems weird to discuss . . personal stuff with him. And he already had a whole life when he got into this business. You're-you're like me. And you know me and her. So . . . . ?"

"It's nuts." said Dick. And Wally's eyes went wide in disappointed shock as he almost fell backward. Dick caught him by the shoulder and pulled him back.

"I know that's what I should say," Dick continued. "But, hell, I think I'm more scared that you're gonna get to drive the T-car. I don't know why. I'm on the outside. I don't see the two of you once you step inside your room. But I . . think it's right. I think it's right. Part of my . . . my Bat Boy training as you call it, was all this detective work on reading the room, reading people, reading expressions. Did someone not belong? If not why? What made them incongruous in that situation? Besides all the gym work and combat training I spent hours and hours, probably hundreds getting tutored by Batman watching film and being taken to these odd high society Wayne Corp. social affairs just for practice. He'd ask me all these questions rapid fire. What does that expression mean? How did he react to those words? What does that mean? Is looking up to the left recollection or making up a story? He had it all down to a science. But as scientific as you try to make it, there's art to it. You have to judge who's the real fighter of a group of guys facing you, who'll run, who will stick with whom. But I see you and Jinx . . . and I see," he intertwined the fingers of his hands. "I'm no expert. I mean, I've had fear. I've been aggressive. I can judge those things. I'm kind of guessing with a guy and a girl. But if the question is do I think it's nuts or do I think it'll work, well . . . " Dick never actually answered. He broke into a big smile at his best friend that said everything. He was wrapped in another hug at super speed.

Eventually Wally let him go with a smirk. "Don't think I don't realize your ulterior motive in this."

"My ulterior motive?"

"Come on, Dick. There's not a notion somewhere in the back of your head that, if we make it, it paves the way for you and Kory?"

Dick tried hard to suppress a smile but couldn't quite keep it under control. Wally guffawed and Dick started laughing too. "Well, I suppose there is that angle."

"Uh huh. Uh huh!! It's okay glorious leader. We'll be the guinea pigs and the trailblazers. Let fucking CNN and and the rest of the press jump on us. If you and Kory follow suit it won't be such a big deal.."

"Thanks in advance, Wally. If it all goes down like that, thanks. For me and Kory."

Wally smiled. "So, um, you said you've had fear. When was that? I always feel like chickenshit compared to you."

"Now and then. It happens."

Wally nodded with a dismissive expression. Suuuuuuure it does. The rain was letting up now and the two incognito teen heroes went back into the club. There were a couple more hours fun there and then a few hours fun back at his room. He somehow remembered to play that song that Flash had suggested to him. He'd played it on Flash's record player. Actual vinyl! God! May as well be papyrus. And that one was something like 50 years old. Too Young. It-it was perfect. It said everything about them. Wally immediately downloaded it when he got back to the Tower that day. When Jinx heard it that night she immediately adored it. They made love over and over, interrupted only by a communicator going off.


Wally had looked over his shoulder at the beeping, flashing communicator on the nightstand beside his bed. Jinx laughed and shook her head. "Well! At least stop pouring the honey!"

"Sorry!" Wally tipped the jar upright and gave Jinx his I-have-to-answer-this look. He pressed the series of buttons for video communication and saw a frantic Beast Boy with the great room in the background behind him.

"Wallydude pleasepleaseplease you gotta do me a favor!" Beast Boy was frantic.

"Sure, Gar baby, what?"

Beast Boy momentarily lost his bearings on being called "Gar baby". Gar baby? And what was with Wally, that silly grin on his face and his his hair all messed up and . .

"What're you doing with that big jar of honey?"

Wally glanced down. "Um . . . making baklava."

Gar paused, perplexed. Greek pastry at 2 am? In his room? Why would he be . . . ?

"Never mind. You gotta do me a favor, Wally, now! Arrowette's on her way down to my room. I'll do anything you want but could you please clean my room. Now. Please!"

"Gar?! What am I the cleaning service?"

"Wally!!! Please. I don't want to look like such a slob to her!"

Wally nodded and dropped the communicator. Jinx caught it on the fly after watching a naked blur disappear into the next room.

"Gar! Don't hang up!"

Beast Boy was walking along the hall now. He couldn't get there too long after Arrowette. He said he'd just be a minute. Now he was looking at Jinx, apparently looking down at her lying on the sheets of Wally's bed.

"I'm-I'm here."

"Look Gar. It's okay to want Wally to fix your room. But don't try to be something you're not. Show her you, the best you, but show her you. Remember how you felt when we beat the Brotherhood because you kept things going?"


"Well, keep that pride in the back of your head as a quiet underlying confidence when you talk to her. Not a boast or arrogance, just a quiet sense of pride that you were the key hero. You're really cute Gar. No bullshit! Just talk a little less than you usually would and remember that you're that guy. Quiet confidence! Got it?"

"Um, yeah. Sure. Thanks-thanks Jinx."

The picture cut out. Wally smiled at her from the wall across the room. "You know, I'm the guy who took out Slade. I say that not as a boast or with . . arrogance but with a quiet underlying confidence. I-"

Jinx hit him with a pillow that he didn't try to dodge as she laughed out a "Shut up!"

He sped to her side and kissed her. "That was pretty cool to try and help him. What a . . nice person you are!"

Jinx zapped his butt with hex energy interrupting his chuckling.


"Nice? Don't ever call me nice. Nice is good without any courage. I've been bad and sometimes I'm good and when I am I'm sure as hell better than 'nice'."

"Yeah well, we'll see what good those words do."

He moved in close and smiled. "How will they work for me?"

She pulled him closer and they kissed.

Wally smiled again now first thinking of Gar and then thinking of Dick's blessing as he held Jinx in his arms in his bed. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered what he'd said. Was there anything that gave him any kind of pleasure that Jinx wasn't part or all of? Books, jokes, sex, even the heroing now. How he thought of everything was in relation to her. If she wasn't there what-what life did he have? Not this one. Not the way he lived now that he loved so much. This one was all about her. Could there even be another one? He forced a sigh to calm himself and tried to consider it but quickly dismissed the idea. It would be impossible. That's why it didn't matter, in a way, what Dick said. He was ready to ignore a negative reaction or at least work past it. So, maybe the positive response didn't mean quite as much as it might have. He'd already decided.

He sighed spooning there with her. Her skin was so soft. He sighed again. What an amazing body. Her loose hanging goth clothes sort of concealed it even if they gave glimpses of her skin here and there. They didn't let people who encountered her realize what an amazing body she had, slender with that incredible butt and those perfect little breasts. What a fantastic slender figure she has. She could be displaying it and have half the world at her feet, but she doesn't. She doesn't. Hmmph. He felt a little guilty about his own uniform. Course there wasn't anything else to do. But she dressed her attitude and didn't flaunt what would've had everybody wanting to be on her side instead of fighting her. He sighed feeling something like admiration.

When she stirred, he tickled Jinx and laughed with her when she woke and they made love again and showered and made love, the processes not entirely distinct, and then joined the gathering group of young heroes in the kitchen for breakfast. Jinx thought it was funny to see some of these people not in their freak suits or attempting to look normal in suits and evening clothes but in pajamas and bathrobes. Wally helped Cyborg make waffles and dole them out to the nearly two dozen heroes. At least, Cyborg thought he was being helped. He was a whirling dervish of waffle making, filling plate after plate at the counter in response to Wally's orders. Three more helpings, Cy! Two more Cookie! Fire up a couple more Cy! But at some point, as the orders kept coming and he kept whipping up batter and cooking up more waffles, Cy wondered why he wasn't making more headway. He started counting all the demands Wally'd made, tallying them in the air.

". . plus 3, plus 2, plus 4, plus 3 more is . . . WALLY!!"

Wally zipped to his side with a platter empty that had just been full. "Yeah, Cookie?"

"Don't yeah cookie me, Speedo. I've already made 27 servings for the 20 other people. Where-?"


Wally let out a belch that also seemed impossible for a hundred forty seven pounder. Cyborg advanced on him and Wally sped off in his Titans jammies back to the great room. "Hey, a couple of them doubled up, too!"

"Don't chase him, Cyborg," said Raven. "You'll never catch him and it's just as well that he ate all those waffles at the counter when you had your back turned. You know what it's like for the women here to watch him eat? Appetite without ever having to be contrite."

The day went on with some birthday party preparations being made but mostly young heroes enjoying the rarity of free time with peers. It wasn't spent all that momentously, video games and fights in the combat simulations room, joking around and exploring the Tower. Jinx and Wally kept looking at each other with big suppressed grins each wondering if the other was about to say something. But both kept quiet. Wally went over and hung around with Garth a while. He wasn't sure how many of the young heroes knew about him. Maybe it was Garth subtly isolating himself. But he didn't want Garth to be any less happy at this gathering than the others. Still, there was an edge about him. At one point, the guys were considering having a baseball game at the field in the park across the bay. Wally was excited at the prospect. He'd really missed playing when he became Kid Flash and had to quit any sports he played.

"I was really good even before I got super speed, Bat Boy."

"Ha ha. How good could such a skinny kid be?".

"Hey! I was really good. I could switch hit. I swung really well both ways."

"Speedy must be really good, too, then," quipped Garth luckily only loud enough for Robin and Kid Flash to hear. Wally gave Garth a look. Alright! Alright Garth's shrug seemed to say. But there was a bitterness just below the surface with him. It might go away a while but it came back easily. And when Aquaman arrived around dinner time with Green Arrow and Captain Marvel he could immediately see the worsening in Garth's mood. Robin saw it as well tried to make sure Garth had friendly company. As Herald and Mas and Menos were approaching, Wally found his way back to Jinx who smirked at the sight of Captain Marvel in his red suit.
"Has he got the beadiest eyes you've ever seen or what?" she snickered.

"Quiet!" Wally whispered. "What if he's got super hearing? What if Junior hears you?"

Hmmmph. Jinx sniffed. "There's a frosty relationship for ya! I was there next to him when they came in the room and Batgirl asked him a couple questions about him but Junior wouldn't even say his name!"

"Garth's got the same thing going. His mood dropped off when Aquaman showed up."

Jinx had a solution. She pulled Gar away from Arrowette and got him to fire up the Tower sound system. The birthday cake was still a ways off but what the hell! A minute later dance hits were blasting into the air over the bay and the mood of the room improved quite a bit. A short while later, Jinx's mom arrived on a shuttle from the other side of the bay and shortly after that Flash, not Barry Allen but The Flash in his red uniform, arrived.

"DILF," muttered Batgirl by Jinx's side as they watched him approach from the hallway.

There were introductions all around and a short time later everyone gathered round and sang happy birthday to Wally, sending up a big cheer when he blew out all his candles. He opened a few gifts right away and looked for the one from his adoptive father. At last he found a very small box with the right tag. He held it up, looking curiously at Flash. Flash nodded with a big smile. Wally tore it open at super speed.

"Ohmygod!AFlashring!" he said holding up another ring just like his own. "Is it . . . ?" He looked expectantly toward Flash.

"You've earned it," grinned Flash and Kid Flash ran from the room. When he returned, he was wearing not his usual red and yellow uniform but an all red one just like Flash's with a full cowl top only with the word "WEST" in yellow letters on the left side of his chest.

"Jinx, look! I'm a full Flash! A full Flash!" And after first running to stand before Jinx to show her he sped to Flash and hugged his mentor as the room burst into applause. Flash patted his back and whispered to him, "You've earned it son. You've shown you've got what it takes."

Wally stepped back from Flash grinning ear to ear. "I'm a Flash today."

"Sooooooo . . . this was your Flash Mitzvah?" quipped Gar and everyone laughed, including Arrowette. Beast Boy stood up a little taller.

The party was a lot of fun just as it had been the previous year. Gar had put Eminem's "Without Me" into the queue of the sound system and when it came on, everybody razzed Robin. Wally had a dance with most all the girls. Dancing was always fun. And Gar made some great jokes. But Wally wasn't completely into anything. All he could think about was Jinx.

It almost seemed too easy, too obvious. With great effort he made himself think it through again. Were there reasons not to? What would objections be? He tried to think of these things but they didn't seem real. He and Jinx weren't white trash. And historically it wasn't early at all. They didn't have to. It wasn't a shotgun deal. They weren't afraid to meet other people. Afraid?! She'd thrown aside her whole life, such as it was. And he'd risked nearly as much. They weren't mistaking a degree of affection or a dalliance for the real thing. They'd been all but official a year now. And they'd both risked everything when there was the possibility of the other being threatened. He sighed. She is so fucking amazing. And then he smirked. Yeah, fits reversed too. People who'd say we should wait and meet other people. How . . . how could it feel more right? It's not possible? And how do they know that she's not right, that I'm not right for her? We're not too young to know. We're older than our years for the lives we've led. We know. I-I know.

He took a deep breath to calm himself. He pulled his red cowl down to rest loosely about his neck. Speedy was telling a funny story. The sound system wasn't playing and everyone was listening to his tale. At the end, everyone was watching him and burst into laughter, everyone but Wally and Jinx. She was at the far end of the crowd at the moment, every face looking left toward Speedy but she was staring at him with great intensity and a faint smile.

He sped through the crowd to her and took her hand.

"Would you like to go-"

"-up on the roof?" she finished. She nodded. He nodded too.

They walked at normal speed and took the stairs, quiet at first then both stammering as they began talking.

"I-I wanted to-to talk to you alone. I . . ."

"Same-same here I-I've been thinking about-about something. I-I

They looked at each other and smiled. Funny that he/she would have trouble talking while I'm trying to start asking him/her!

Once up on the roof, they went over to the roof side that had the biggest part of the Jump City skyline as its backdrop. Wally stepped behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

"I love how a skyline is beautiful without any effort toward beauty. All those lights, the product of great effort and intelligence." He bent down and kissed her neck. "Just like you, never giving yourself to an effort to have people appreciate how beautiful you are and the product of so much effort that should never have had to be made and so much intelligence." He kissed her again. But she surprised him, by slowly walking around back of him and wrapping her arms around him before running one hand slowly up and down his red suited side.

"It's beautiful because it's all totally designed for a single purpose without a single wasted line, like someone I know. And, yeah, it's beautiful because it's the product of so much thought and effort. I-I liked you from the start, orange hair, but when I found out you were a book lover too . . ."

She sighed and squeezed him about the chest. When she relented he turned around to face her.

"You know this life I have here is . . . more than I dreamed things could be when I was struggling to be Kid Flash and Wally West back in my little room at 36 Owens Street. And then I got this gigantic room and a best friend to top 'em all and other pals who understood my life and everything provided for me as if I was rich and-and everything made sense. My life made sense. But when I was threatened with you not being part of my life, I-I was immediately ready to throw it all away. I resisted when I was being beaten within an inch of my life but when that life couldn't include you . . . Jinx. I-"

Jinx put her hand forward to his mouth.

"No. Let me say this. I-I got as far as I did before I met you because of my, well, my talents, but also because I-I wanted to pay back the whole world. I wanted to pay back the whole fucking world. You know how hard that is? It fueled me. It kept me going. The other academy students? I blew right past 'em. Every stupid kid's . . shout for my-my hair or my skin or my eyes! My parents having to leave me! Being misunderstood at school and no one giving me a chance to be the intellectual sort of girl that I was. I-I had it all tallied up and the world was going to be paid back for it and the interest was gonna kill. Kill. And it became a sort of vicious circle, anger making more anger and not leaving the possibility of anything else. And then I met you and okay, I like skinny athletes. So, okay, but then you didn't want to fight. You didn't try and hurt me. I hurt you and you still reached out to me. You still trusted me! But if we weren't playing heroes against villains, what were we playing? If we weren't going to say the normal lines and run through the normal choreography, then I could make changes on the fly, couldn't I? I could question the way things were going, the way my life was going. And you really got me with that line at one of our first dates about how staying with the villain life to pay back assholes who'd hurt me as a little girl and all they represented was giving those jerks a veto power over my whole life. Have-have you read The Count of Monte Cristo?"

Wally nodded.

"At the end he completes his grand revenge on everyone only he so completely made himself into an instrument of revenge to do it that there's no original person to enjoy it once it's all done. You pulled me back from that and that doesn't mean I should stick with you. It entitled you to my thanks, not me. But, living with you, orange hair! I feel like you led me back to the original me. And I feel like this is . . this is right. It's -"

She paused to finish and he put one finger over her lips.

"Let me. Jinx I have to ask-"
"No, I have to ask-"

"Virginia . . ."

"Wallace . . ."

By dint of super speed, Wally was down on one knee first. Jinx was sort of crouched in almost a curtsy, halfway to having one knee down. She grinned. "Super speed cheat!"

"Will you marry me?"

She beamed at him.

" . . yes . . "