Part 2: Treatise of Unnatural Disaster
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Summary: Wally West struggles through his recovery but what happens when he gets an offer he can't refuse? What will it mean for him, for the world and for his future with the League?
Disclaimer: The DC characters are not mine. I'm just playing with them. They'll be returned…eventually, not in good condition but that can hardly be blamed on me!
Author's Note: You may want to read Part 0 and Part 1 before you read this story. Just to remind you, Barry Allen does not have super-speed. Wally is the only Flash ever and was never part of the Teen Titans though he does know Dick Grayson. This doesn't fly with the comicverse (I know) but it does work with the animated universe (I think). Anyway, Enjoy!
Chapter 1 – Luctor et Emergo
The window was open, circulating the air in the apartment and creating a pleasant breeze. Summer was around the corner and you could almost feel the general mood of the northern hemisphere improving, but not Dick's. The changing seasons just meant that time marched, dragging with it more work, more crime, more crap and trampling anyone who resisted. He didn't think his current companion cared much for the approaching season either. Wally didn't seem to care for much of anything though lately, not that Dick blamed him.
He'd had to threaten Bruce with bodily harm before the older man had dropped enough information for him to figure out what his friend had suffered. There was a part of him that wished he hadn't been so insistent, wished that he was still ignorant. He didn't know the details –hadn't been able to ask and fight back the encroaching nausea at the same time. When the shock had worn off he'd stumbled into a rage –that night the law-breaking punks of Bludhaven where the unfortunate victims of his turmoil.
He felt the man next to him shiver and looked over. "Want me to close the window?" he asked.
"No, it's okay." He took a sip of the beer Dick had brought over and continued to stare at the TV. Underage drinking was least of their worries and it's nothing numerous people all around the world hadn't done at one point or another. Besides, given the situation, a little beer could be overlooked.
Dick turned back to the action movie they were watching but didn't pay any attention. He'd seen it before, seen it so many times he could recite some scenes from memory. But oddly, he'd never really like the actor in the movie or the movie itself. It's like real doctors and lawyers not liking doctor and lawyer shows. It was the same for crime fighters.
Grayson leaned forward to retrieve his beer from the coffee table. Wally's feet where propped up next to it, perilously close. Dick frowned.
"You better not have contaminated it," he said with good humour, taking extra care to wipe the brown glass rim. Without turning away form the TV Wally smirked and started waving a foot in Dick's direction. Dick batted the offending appendage away and they both settled down to watch the movie again.
Not five minutes later there was a knock at the door. Wally startled a little but compared to his response to an unwanted touch, it was mild. The dark haired man smoothly ignored the response.
"I'll get it," Dick chugged half his beer and pulled out his wallet as he headed for the door.
"Forty-one, thirty," the pizza delivery boy stated immediately. He held out one hand with the stack of three pizzas and the other was empty to take the cash. Though tall he couldn't be more than eighteen and had the usual teenage enthusiasm for job he didn't like. Dick gave him forty-five, grabbed the pizza and closed the door. Neither of them was offended by the other's haste or lack of enthusiasm.
"Sustenance," Dick announced and spread the pizza boxes on the coffee table. He poked at Wally with the corner of one box annoying him into moving his feet from the table. Three large, three topping pizza for just over forty bucks was a great deal and Dick was starving. He dug into his sun-dried tomato, green pepper and mushroom pizza and only after he finished his first slice did he notice that Wally hadn't taken any. He'd even ordered Wally's favourite: double pepperoni and extra cheese.
"Wally, eat something."
With near mechanical movements the younger of the two took a slice and began eating. From the corner of his eye Dick observed him. He'd noticed the moment he laid eyes on him that West was too skinny and Dick had taken it upon himself to get him eating again. He wasn't really one for comforting, even holding hands was pushing it–not that Wally would want that from him anyway –but he could work a phone and order in.
Once he had his first slice Wally seemed to realize how hungry he was and finished the rest of the double pep and cheese pizza in twenty minutes. Not a staggering speed but Dick was confident that he'd be eating normally again soon. He had to. Wally got really weak, really quickly when he didn't eat, a fact that Dox had taken advantage of when he'd captured the Flash.
A loud burp punctuated the murmurs from the TV.
Dick smirked. "Nice."
Wally smiled weakly but didn't say anything. His lack of affect had been the most worrying of the symptoms Dick had seen since he arrived at Wally's place this morning and he was making extra effort to coax out the loud-mouthed guy he knew. While not as apparent to the casual observer this near-catatonic, severely un-Wally-like behaviour alluded to deeper psychological issues that would not be as easy to cure as the malnutrition.
It's only been a week, Dick warned himself. Just a week since Wally had been moved into this new apartment just days since he finally admitted to himself what had happened to him, just hours since Dick brought back the precious possessions saved from the looters at Wally's old apartment. Time, it would take time.
Dick started awake with an undignified snort, dark strands of hair falling over his barely opened eyes. Sleep dulled senses scanned the area. He was at Wally's place. It was dark, far into the night, probably around three am. A glance at the clock proved him right, 3:09 shone back at him. He didn't recall when he'd fallen asleep but he'd been up all night in Bludhaven the night before and then travelled to Central City so he had reason to be tired.
The apartment was mostly silent but something had woken him and he could guess. He turned on a lamp as he passed it and walked briskly to the bedroom. Before he opened the door a pained moan filtered through the quiet.
"Wally," Dick crept to his bedside. The redhead had tangled himself in his sheets. He struggled against them and against the nightmare but he couldn't escape either. Crouched awkwardly next to the bed Dick's hands hovered uncertainly over the distraught form. "Wally, wake up!" Dick yelled trying to rouse him without having to touch him for fear of making the nightmare worse.
The pale sweaty face contorted in pain and his head rolled side to side. "…no…don't…please…"
"Shit. Wally, wake up!" Dick grabbed his shoulders and shook. He was desperate to spare his friend the added torment of his traumatised psyche. "Damn it! Wake up!"
Wally still twisted and struggled in the throws of his nightmare. "…oh…God…" he fairly choked out. His whole body tensed in one moment before relaxing into complete stillness. Dick eyes darted up and down the prostrate form. He reached up and felt for a pulse and found a strong but rapid one. When the sea-green eyes slowly opened he snatched his hand back.
"Wally?" The glassy eyes slid over and appeared to stare through him. "It's okay. You're safe here." He squeezed the arm near him trying to convince Wally that this was real.
Dick heard a hitch in Wally's breathing. He brought his other arm up to cover his eyes and just laid there. Grayson looked on in concern. He moved his hand lower to grasp Wally's and felt a dire grip returned.
As tremors wrack the thin frame Dick folded his legs beneath him in a more comfortable kneel. He promised silently to stay there until he was sure Wally was okay and it occurred to him that it might be a very long time before 'okay' came around. Dick focussed on the quivering arm in front of him and for the first time he felt and had no choice but to acknowledge the fear coiling around him.
He rested his elbow on the edge of the bed, his palm against his forehead, and despaired. He'd read the stats, read the symptoms but wasn't prepared for it to be real. They couldn't deal with this. They couldn't give him the help they needed. A "support system" he'd read in the articles relating to this trauma. Wally had him, the league and the Allens. Nobody else could broach both the Wally and Flash side of the issues, nobody else knew for sure. Alas, Grayson wasn't sure if they would be enough. It was very possible that they might lose him, that there was no coming back from this. Dick squeezed his eyes shut fighting back the sting of tears.
Rays of dawn slipped through the pale green curtains some time later. The slight change in illumination stirred the only lightly dozing Wally West. He quelled his initial and instinctive reaction of flinching when he realized there was somebody near him. His mind kicked in quickly, informing him that it was only his friend but other parts of him didn't care, as proven by the rapid heartbeat. A few deep breaths left him more in control and a few careful and almost painfully slow movements had his hand extricated from Dick's loose grasp.
He stealthily made his way out of the room needing the space. He was somewhat surprised when he made it to the corridor without arousing Dick from his slumber. He must be really tired, thought Wally. He looked back at the dark-haired man who slept seated on the floor with his head pillowed on his arms on the mattress. He's going to be sore after sleeping like that. Wally gave a mental wince but the rest of him was otherwise blank of expression.
Breakfast that morning consisted of cold pizza just like it had been on other insignificant mornings. It seemed like ages ago but it had really only been a few weeks. A sharp pain in his hand had him muffling a curse and nearly dropping the container of juice he'd been holding. He managed to place the carton on the nearest counter before the spasm of the muscles in his hand had it completely cramped and useless. He massaged the palm of his right hand with the thumb of his left, using firm strokes from wrist to fingers and back, in an attempt to relax the muscles hidden just below. Teeth clenched as the spasm intensified. Wally face slowly began showing the discomfort he felt and the anger at his own traitorous body reminding him of what he was trying to forget.
"Damn it," he ground out. The episode passed a minute later leaving his hand aching and his composure shaken. He could still recall with disturbing clarity the manacles that had bound him while he'd been a guest on Dox's lunar base. The was a result of being hung from the ceiling by the wrist. His doctor said something about the bones in his wrist and hands being somewhat out of alignment and had prescribed a pair of special braces to help with the re-alignments. Until he was healed he'd have to get used to the temporary discomfort of the spasms in his hands and the memories thus invoked.
He contemplated the container of juice for a moment, wondering whether a second attempt was in order. He walked away, leaving the carton on the beige counter. He wasn't really in the mood for "Tropical Passion Mix" anyway.
He went back to Dick who was still sleeping half off the bed. He shook one shoulder.
"Dick. Get up and on the bed. You're going to be sore."
Sleepy dark eyes peered up at him. Grayson moved and was about to say something –probably that he was fine –but flinched when his stiff back protested. "Ok," was all he said and crawled into the cool sheets. As West turned to leave a soft call paused him at the door. "Wal. You okay?"
A charged silence filled the room, as Wally tried to come up with an answer. "I will be." He wasn't sure if it was a lie.
Amanda Waller stood off to the side, her round but imposing frame casting a dark shadow against the oak panelled walls. Before her another panel –this one a group of people with about as much wit as the wood at her back –was assembled. They were top-ranking officials here to discus the issues of security but instead they bickered like children. This is why I don't like group work, Waller thought in frustration. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes as Rear Admiral Jared Ross ridiculed yet another idea posed by Major General Richard Meyer. This whole Navy-Marine pissing contest was getting old really quick. She was tempted to step in but she was here only as an observer not as a tactician or a government official. So she held her tongue and suffered silently as the insults became decidedly sophomoric.
"Your squids couldn't take on a dolphin, let alone these super-villains," came Meyer's retort.
"Can we get back on topic?" interjected on of the seated members. Judging from his lack of uniform he was either a civilian or from one of the defence departments. "Current estimates put eighty-seven active criminals with level two or higher superhuman abilities in the continental United States alone. And who knows how many more are still in hiding. It's time we started looking at these domestic threats and building a force to thwart them." The issue of the Justice League taking care of these threats wasn't even suggested. Everyone assembled was of the belief that the USA needed an alternative. "You're all here because you have some expertise –training, equipment, technology, transportation, intelligence –to offer the team Admiral Ross has already begun to assemble. What we don't need are petty arguments and childish name-calling!" he glared at Ross and then Meyer in turn. "The President wants this done and done well."
"We've recruited the best of the best from different branches of the military and had them in SEAL training for the past few months," said Ross. "But no matter how well trained they are, they'll need more."
"Tech R&D is being covered by First Sergeant Howard."
A black man in an Air Force uniform and a buzz cut nodded and began to speak. "Research on induced or acquired meta-human powers has been ceased." He didn't go into the details of the tests or the results on men and woman who had given their bodies and minds for science. Across the armed forces all such projects had been put on hiatus and until some magic secret was found to stabilize the added powers they would stay there. "We've been testing new weapons and new body armour. It should give even the slowest and dumbest enough of an edge to be the victor."
Many of the officers began flipping through the thick briefings that had been placed before them at the beginning of the meeting. The Research and Development section gave a brief outline of some of the new technology and most of it sound like magic but if it worked they didn't care about the how and certainly not the why.
"It's a good start," said Ross earning him glares and affronted looks from the many individuals who'd put vast amounts of effort and time into their respective sections of the project. "But we're going to need more. "
"What did you have in mind?" another person asked.
Ross smiled. "A secret weapon."
Waller frowned. Sharp eyes skipped to each of the faces she could see, gauging their reaction. Amanda already knew what Ross was thinking but she wasn't entirely supporting it. She, for possibly he first time in her career, had been the voice of reason. She'd made her protest, given her argument but she'd been outvoted. Outvoted! She wasn't sure when national defence turned into a democracy but apparently she missed the memo.
"So what do you think?" Jared asked Amanda when the meeting had ended. They were making their way through the open corridors of the Pentagon's E-Ring. Ross returned the salute of a lower ranking officer as they passed.
"I think you're getting ahead of yourself," she cautioned darkly.
Ross eyed her carefully before saying. "You know, jealousy is an ugly look." Waller didn't respond. They came upon the office of the Chief of Naval Operations where Admiral Ross stopped. He had a report to give but Waller continued on without a pause. "The age of CADMUS is over." He told her retreating back.
Leaving his knew home was an ordeal and a small battle won for him. If it took over an hour before he actually stepped out and lock the door that was excusable –outside had never looked so imposing before. He'd donned his ball cap and sunglasses as protection against being recognized but a part of him thought it wouldn't be enough. The unfounded and paranoid idea that somehow people would know immediately who he was and what had happened had his heart racing. However once he stepped into the bright spring sunshine and people passed him by too busy with their own respective lives to even notice him he felt a little better.
The walk to the Allen residence was long but peaceful. He didn't dare take public transportation and he didn't have the energy to run –besides the fresh air helped. The familiar hustle and bustle of Central City helped too, though as the many residents passed him by it was the first time he could ever recall feeling as though the world was moving too fast for him to keep up.
He didn't approach the Allen house from his usually direction. Instead he cut between other houses and through neighbouring backyards until he reached the back patio of the Allen's. He knocked on the locked glass door and waited patiently for someone to answer. In his distraction he didn't notice he'd been followed.
"Wally!" Iris Allen exclaimed when she saw her nephew on the back patio. "How are you?" She quickly unlocked the door and slid it open.
Wally couldn't hear her through the glass door but he recognized the common phrase by reading her lips.
She hugged him as soon as the door was completely open and he fought with himself not to push her away. To his relief she quickly let go.
"Come on in. Barry's asleep but Don and Dawn are in the playing a game in the living room."
Iris ushered him in taking his jacket and hat.
"How have things been around here?"
"Oh, a little hectic but nothing we can't handle." Iris kept her tone light. It was clear to her from both Wally's movements and his demeanour that he'd suffered. She didn't need to load him with problems they had with the media hounding them. "I wasn't sure you were even going to come with all the reporters out there." She peaked through a curtained window and visually scanned the street. "I can't see them but I know they're out there."
"Yeah, that's why I opted for the back entrance."
"Wally?" a young voice asked from the living room from which the two adults were only a few feet outside. Don quickly appeared and had his arms wrapped around his cousin. "Are you okay? What happened?"
Wally patted head resting against his stomach reassuringly. "I'm okay."
A moment later another blur of similar height rushed out from the living room and entwined its arms around Wally.
"Hey Dawn," Wally greeted and tried to return the embrace of the two much shorter people. "So how has Double-D been?" He settled into the usually banter with his cousins and for a little while the rest of the world and his problems fell away.
Iris left the three of them and went upstairs to wake her husband. She had to help him down the stairs but he'd been improving lately and he'd be able to move about without her assistance soon. The cancer treatment and the treatment for the damage done by the cancer treatment were working and soon Barry would be fully recovered. She wasn't sure whether she'd even allow him to go back into a lab but it was what he loved and the medical bills weren't going to pay themselves.
The past due and over due statements were crammed into a drawer in their bedside table, asking for funds they didn't have. It was a growing problem that she and Barry had been ignoring; more concerned with enjoying the extra time they'd been given. It was a drawer full of 'I told you so's that threatened to bankrupt their grandchildren if they didn't come up with something soon.
"You look as bad as I do," Barry said to his nephew upon seeing him.
Iris shook her head ruefully. Sometimes her husband was completely tactless. Wally didn't seem to notice though. He'd joined in the board game set up on the floor. Barry turned on the TV a flipped through the programs, trying to stay away from the news stations should they be doing a program on the Flash or the Justice League but he liked to know what was going on in the world, particularly since he'd been shut away from it for so long.
"You can't do that!"
Wally looked at Dawn with faked confusion. "Really? Why not?" He'd decided to count two squares as one and move his piece twice the distance indicated by the dice.
"Because it's against the rules?"
She and Don began looking around for the rulebook, which Wally had already pilfered and hidden underneath him.
"I can't find it," Dawn finally admitted.
"Well then how do you know it's against the rules?"
Don decided that two could play this game without the rules. He moved his piece to the end of the game. "I win," he announced.
Dawn joined the new game. She knocked her brother's piece away and replaced it with hers. "No, I win!"
The peaceful game soon escalated into a little brawl on the carpet with Iris and Barry looking on in disbelief. They should have named their kids Chaos 1 and 2.
"Looking for this?" Iris leaned forward from the couch and tugged free the small booklet from beneath Wally.
"You had it!" Dawn accused and tackled him. Don jumped in too.
"Look what you've done," Barry admonished but couldn't keep a straight face.
Iris tossed the rulebook into the game's box. "He started it."
Barry continued to flick through the channels. An image caught his eyes. It was the Keystone City Orphanage, the one where Wally had grown up. The live report played and soon everybody was listening.
"Axel Walker who calls himself the Trickster has seized control of the Keystone City Orphanage and is holding the residents and workers hostage inside."
Wally gently picked Don up and off him, paying close attention to the TV. He knew The Trickster. He was a local foe that he'd taken down a few times before. The guy was about his age and last he knew he had gone into hiding when the inventor of his gadgets came looking for them.
"He's demanding that the Flash show up and take him on. Though it's not been confirmed it's clear that Trickster believes Wallace West to be the Flash, as this is the group home in which he was raised." The reporter chattered on but she wasn't heard over the commotion on the Allen house.
"Where are you going?" Iris demanded. She blocked Wally's path.
"I have to go. Didn't you hear that?"
"Wally, you can't. You haven't recovered," Barry tried to reason.
"I have to. I can't let him hurt them."
Dawn and Don watched silently. They hadn't received a straight answer from their parents about whether Wally was the Flash and they had been ordered not to bring it up in front of Wally. Now it seemed like their question was answered.
"Call someone else," said Barry.
"No! This is my fault! I'll deal with it!" He managed to get around Iris and quickly donned his outerwear.
"Wally," Barry growled in warning, clearly unhappy with what was happening. Wally didn't respond. As soon as his shoes were on he ran out the back door. He left the way he had come through the adjacent properties, apologizing to a little girl when he interrupted the garden party she was having with her stuffed animals.
"I see him," a voice from high above said, too high for Wally to hear or notice. "Are you sure? He's not-" There was a long pause as a response came. "Alright, I got him." A glance around proved the statement to be incorrect. "Damn it! He's gone." Another response came. "I'll get him. I know where he's going. Don't worry."
"If you mess this up…"
"I don't make mistakes. I believe that's your department."
The Trickster scowled as he looked out the window. He'd managed to attract a large number or reporters but still no Flash yet. Maybe he'd have to off one of those little brats to make the speedster realise how serious he was. He glanced back at the group of kids and the few adults. Many of the older kids were on an outing, leaving the whining, simpering babies behind. Walker gave a tolerant sigh. At least they had stopped crying.
"Something's coming!" his partners voice announced in his ear. Trickster gazed back out the window. He didn't see anything but he kept looking.
"I think it's time you ended this." Said a voice from above. Trickster stuck his head outside the window he'd broken earlier and looked up. Hovering not high above him was Stargirl, with her blonde hair and a navy blue, star-spangled crop top and shorts. She tapped her staff threateningly against the palm of her left hand.
"Go home, little girl. Let the adults handle this."
Stargirl glared at him thinking that maybe she should change her name to Starwoman, but to him she only said: "You're going to pay for that."
Booster Gold led the kid's out of the room while Trickster's back was turned. Somehow he'd managed to get crowd control again. The room was clear not a moment to soon, because suddenly Trickster was careening into the wall opposite the window. Stargirl flew after him but Trickster tossed what looked like a mini-Mr. Potatohead at her. It blew up in her face temporarily blinding her and leaving her vulnerable to Trickster's swift counter attack. Using his ill-gotten air-walk shoes to propel him forward he knocked her back out the window with a double fisted punch.
"That's no way to treat a lady," Booster Gold said from the door.
Trickster turned to him without missing a beat. "How you would know? You've probably never had a date in your life! Not with hair like that!"
Booster Gold's eyes, hidden behind his gold goggles slipped upward as the corners of his mouth turned down. Though he couldn't see his hair he knew it was perfect. It always was. He had to be ready of the cameras at all times. "My hair is better than yours," he accused, pointing at the spiked bleach-blonde mop on the Trickster's head.
"I'll make you take that back!" Trickster lunged at him only to be blasted back by bolts of yellow energy from Booster Gold's fist. The blast broke through the wall forcing Trickster out of the building. He fell quickly to the ground but before he could make impact he tuck his knees to his chest and in a quick flip managed to get his feet under him. His air-walk shoes activated and levitated him skyward, Booster Gold hot on his tail a moment later.
"Are you alright?" came the voice of S.T.R.I.P.E., Stargirl's partner.
She shook her head to clear the daze and took off without answering.
"I could use a little help here!" Trickster yelled, dodging bolts of energy from the pursuing heroes. A sudden change in the wind direction alerted Trickster to the work of his partner and he felt a smile slide over his face. A streak of lighting from the clear sky shocked them but the Justice League members dodged it.
"What the hell was that?" Booster paused to look around for a storm cloud but there were only a few white fluffy ones coasting calmly across the sky.
A cold wind and a sudden flurry of snow, hail and freezing rain began to assault them.
"Forecast calls for everything!" Yelled a madman coming out from behind a nearby building. In his green and yellow costume the locals recognized him easily as the Weather Wizard.
S.T.R.I.P.E. from the ground fired several shots but the Wizards flew through them and at the mechanical man. From the slender wand in his hand the Weather Wizard sent a bolt of lightening to the robotic form. A special addition to the metal suit however had the many volts and amps of electricity travelling along the outside of the suit and to the ground, keeping the man inside safe. The sudden burst to electricity had the circuitry down for a few seconds and the lumbering machine hunched over with its large silvery arms dangling uselessly to the ground.
"Not bad." The Wizard commended himself. He turned his gaze up at the heroes who were still caught in his blizzard. Thin sheets of ice were collecting over them, weighing them down and slowing their movements.
A low whirring sound from behind him brought a frown of confusion to the Weather Wizards face but he didn't turn around in time to avoid the blast of white energy that sent him straight into a media truck. The force of the collsion had the metal of the vehicle crumpling loudly in around the villain. S.T.R.I.P.E. approached cautiously. He unfolded the remains of the vehicle and found the Wizard unconscious.
Without the Weather Wizard to control and sustain it, the freak blizzard dissipated. Stargirl and Booster Gold fell from the sky encased in irregular chunks of ice. Bystanders began to slowly approach the frozen heroes but back away when the other villain, Trickster, landed. He looked at the two frozen blonds.
"Cold enough for ya?" he asked.
Suddenly a set of cracks appeared in Stargirl's ice prison. Trickster barely managed to catch the narrowing of the girl's eyes before the cracks spread uncontrollably and Stargirl burst free in a shower of ice in all directions. Twin bolts of yellow erupted from Booster Gold's ice chunk and a moment later he was free as well.
"I'm definitely going somewhere warm for my vacation," he shivered.
Trickster didn't wait around for them to recover. He took to the sky and vanished in the endless blue, his mission a failure.
"Rats! He got away," said a clearly displeased Stargirl.
"We still got one," Booster consoled. "We'll talk to him and figure out where we can find the other guy. Nobody insults my hair and gets away with it."
"Wally, stop!" Superman's voice boomed behind him. He stopped running and ducked into an alley. If he was going to talk to Superman while dressed as Wally West he was going to do it where few people would see them. He looked up and a moment later Superman in the familiar red cape descended smoothly to the dirty ground.
"What do you want? I have to go."
"No. We've already sent Booster Gold, Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E."
"What? Why? This is my city. That's my home!"
"Wally, listen to me. You need to take a break. Leave the lowlifes to the other's focus on me right now."
"You need to relax." Superman place a heavy hand on the redhead's shoulder and ignored the flinch at the contact. "Leave them. Let the world take care of itself for once."
"No! This is what we do! We can't choose when we decide to help!" Wally tried to pull himself free but the grip on his shoulder tightened until it was painful. "Supes?" Wally asked through clinched teeth as the pressure increased still. It brought him to his knees, the pain and though he tried he couldn't pry the hand loose. "What are you doing?"
"I need you to focus. Here and now! Nothing else."
"Okay. Just let go." He wasn't sure how much more force he could handle before the bone broke. The grip eased but didn't let go. Superman kneeled in front of him so that they were face to face. "What was that for?"
"Well, you made me do it."
The words triggered a cascade of memories. His breathing increased and he struggled back but the hand held tighter again.
"It's okay. It won't happen again. I promise," Superman assured.
Desperately, Wally clung to the pact. "You promise?"
With his free hand he gently cupped the pale face and whispered solemnly, "I promise."
"Get away from him!" They both looked up to see another Superman coming down.
Wally's glances flipped rapidly back and forth between them. As the confusion began to melt away with understanding he stared at the impostor before him. He didn't fight. The thumb stroked across his cheek. He leaned into it.
End Chapter 1 – I Struggle But I'll Survive
Sorry for the delay in posting. This story is turning out to be longer than I originally anticipated. Usually I write the whole story and post as I revise each chapter. I can't this time since I'm only about halfway through Part 2 and it's been two months since I posted the last chapter of Part 1. I'll try to post new chapters for this story every week (maybe earlier if some inspiration blows my way, but don't count on it). Anyway thanks for your patience and thanks for reading:D