1. I do not, much to my chagrin, own Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, J'onn or anything associated with them or the Justice League.
2. Reference to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I don't own Star Trek either. Star Trek belongs to Paramount.
3. Many, many thanks to Jenn for taking the time and having the patience to beta this for me. Your Devils beat my Leafs the other night, but I won't hold it against you. ;) Thanks Jenn.
4. I envision this taking place a short time after the end of JLU, and as such it is based primarily on the animated series.
5. Any feedback, be it positive, negative or indifferent, would be most appreciated.
The monitors in the Watchtower's monitor womb were busy displaying the news and events of the world, ready, willing and able to alert the Justice League of any and all problems that their world faced. It was an essential tool of the Justice League, and keeping an observant eye on those monitors was equally important.
Or so Flash was told. Frequently.
"This is the hind end of space", thought Flash, remembering the line from Star Trek III as he tried to fight off the extreme boredom that always enveloped him during monitor duty. It was a description truly fitting of the duty…for him anyway. Diana never complained of monitor duty, proclaiming that watching the planet through the various newscasts and so on gave her valuable insight into Man's World. It was pretty much the same thing for J'onn. In fact, the only other League member who hated monitor duty with the same type of passion that he did was Shayera. She just didn't have the patience for it.
A red blip appeared on the main monitor indicating a disturbance. Flash's fingers flew across the keyboard at a speed that couldn't be matched by anyone, not even Superman. Finally he sighed as he realized that the League wouldn't be needed. It wasn't that he was asking for trouble, not at all. He had been around long enough, experienced and seen enough, to know better than to ask for trouble, but monitor duty was just sooooooo boring.
A familiar audio alert sounded and Flash looked to his right at the monitor that covered the teleporter. Wally initially shuddered at the sight of the newcomer, as was usually the case, but then something on the monitor piqued his interest and gave him cause to smile. On the monitor was the image of Batman, enough to make Wally shudder at the best of times, carrying what appeared to be a bouquet of flowers and a box big enough to hold a dress, certainly enough to make Wally smile.
Then it all came back to him in a flash, so to speak. Bruce and Diana were going out, and after Bruce stood Diana up for their last planned outing a week earlier, and the two times before that one, Diana made sure that he would be around this time. To that end, she agreed to an evening out provided that Bruce came up to the Watchtower to get her. Plus, Bats had to bring a gift…or two.
Flash smiled at the memory of a more agitated than usual Batman trying to interrogate his teammates to see if Diana had mentioned to any of them what sort of gift she wanted. It wasn't pretty for a couple of days. The thought of being caught in a tug of war between Wonder Woman and Batman made many of the Earth's mightiest heroes walk on eggshells and continually glance over their shoulders.
Flash thought it was very unbecoming.
Diana finally relented and 'let it slip' to Shayera what she expected, as well as her implied permission to inform Bruce. A new designer dress and a bouquet of flowers from Themyscira was all it would take…and a night out, of course.
Wally balked at the idea for several reasons. One, it wasn't Bats' fault that some old acquaintances of his showed up out of the blue and cornered Bruce at whatever function he was attending before their last date. Sure, he supposed that Bruce could have gotten out of it somehow, but those things get tricky when you're trying to hide a secret identity. Two, flowers from Themyscira was as unfair a foul as Wally had ever seen. Going to an island of immortal, man-hating Amazon women just to pick some flowers for something that couldn't have been avoided was a little extreme, in his humble opinion. Flash wondered briefly how Bats had pulled it off. Three, a designer dress? Okay, Wally couldn't find anything wrong with that one. Bruce could afford it and any opportunity to see Diana in a knock 'em dead dress was worth a little of Bruce's dignity. And the night out…who wouldn't want to go out with Diana?
A slight rumble in his stomach shook Wally out of his thoughts. He stood up and took off at his top speed sending the chair into a whirlwind induced spin. The chair just finished its fifth full revolution when another burst of air signaled Flash's return. He sat down in the chair and placed his triple-decker sandwich and ice mocha on the computer console. A quick survey of the monitors told him exactly what he expected to find…nothing had happened in his absence. He swiveled in the chair to his left to turn on up the gain on the audio alert, just in case.
He sighed as he turned back and reached for his mocha. His fingertips just grazed the glass when a menacing, "No drinks on the console, Flash", startled the speedster causing his hand to jerk out of reflex, which in turn sent his mocha crashing to the floor.
Well, mostly to the floor. Unfortunately, a black boot got in the way and managed to get plastered with the liquid. Flash looked at the mocha-covered boot with more than a little dread. He had no choice but to look at it; he had tried, in vain, to catch the glass as it fell off the console, even going as far as nearly falling out of the chair. As it was, he hung over the side of the chair directly facing the offended boot, hand reaching down as if he could will the glass to refill and fly magically up to his hand.
Flash managed to stifle the groan at his misfortune when the seriousness of the situation was brought into crystal clear focus as he realized that the boot looked pissed off at him. Now, Flash knew that there was no possible way that the boot itself could actually be pissed off with him…it was a boot after all. No, Flash knew that his subconscious was transferring the extreme anger that he knew the owner of the boot was feeling onto the boot because it was what he was looking at. Simple transference.
Wally's head was starting to hurt. He gulped loudly and slowly lifted his head to regard the person he had soiled with his drink. When he reached the waist of the person he hesitated for a blink of an eye, the yellow utility belt positively confirming what he already knew: he had just dumped an ice mocha on Batman's boot.
"I was wrong", thought Wally as he sat up in the chair and moved his gaze up to Batman's irritated visage, "this is the hind end of space."
The white slits of Batman's cowl were narrowed so much that anyone who had never received a glare from the Batman would have thought they were closed. Wally, unfortunately, had received more than enough of Batman's glowers to know exactly what was next. Before he could stop himself he glanced down to the mocha-covered boot then back up to Batman's face.
Wally stood up very slowly, not wanting Batman to mistake the movements as an attempt to escape, and studied the monitors for a brief moment hoping for divine intervention to save him. He didn't really care where the intervention came from, as long as it came. Unfortunately, despite the plethora of deities roaming around the cosmos there was no such respite for him, so he turned to Batman, smiled widely and took off in a blaze of red to the commissary. The speedster returned only a moment later with two cloths, one wet and one dry.
In a matter of seconds he had the offended boot cleaned and dried, as well as the floor. Wally picked up the glass and placed it on the arm of the chair, then looked at Batman again. His breathing hitched as he checked the objects in Batman's arms to see if anything had wasted on them. Luckily, they were spotless.
Wally took a very deep breath, held out his arms in a gesture that was both pleading and apologetic and started to speed mumble an apology.
"SorryBruce,ImeanBatman,InevermeanttodothatIdidn'tknowyouwerethereandyoustartledmesoreallyit'ssortofyourfaultnotthatIblameyoubut…" Wally stopped and dropped his arms to his side. A second later, unable to further tolerate the cold, hard Batman gaze he was receiving, his head lowered as well to the point where his chin rested on his chest.
"Sorry", he finally whispered, closed his eyes and waited for Batman to let him have it.
"Flash", came the ominous growl Wally had come to fear so much, "I have to go."
Wally's eyes shot open, and even though he immediately lifted his head up from his chest, Batman was already halfway to the door. Wally was just thanking the gods who had abandoned him only moments before when Batman whirled around and faced him.
"We will discuss this later." The tone left no room for negotiation, and no doubt that said discussion would most definitely be unpleasant for him.
As Batman walked through the door, Wally whispered to himself, "What I wouldn't give to be on a nice warm, sandy beach right now." He turned around and looked longingly at the world map displayed on one of the monitors. "I hear Tahiti is nice. Maybe even Bali. Somewhere where Linda and I can just…"
With a sigh worthy of a super hero, Wallace West sat down heavily in his chair without letting himself indulge in thoughts of a quiet escape in paradise and wondered why the universe seemingly had it in for him.
He didn't have long to really think about his bad karma in respect to Batman. A combined visual and audio alert from the main monitor screen demanded his attention and he leaned forward to better view the trouble that was brewing.
At speeds beyond comprehension, his fingers again flashed across the keyboards and controls to show him news feeds of an inferno in Chicago. "Figures", he thought grimly. Then out of nowhere another part of his mind said, "Big fire in a towering sky rise…wasn't that done in a movie?"
Wally took in all the information as quickly as he could. It wasn't serious enough, according to the guidelines, to alert the League en masse, but it did warrant contacting the nearest members to lend assistance if needed. He toggled the communications switch and began alerting those members. He was speaking to Captain Atom when the image of Batman on one of the internal security monitors caught his attention.
A moment later Flash signed off with Captain Atom and, after notifying the local authorities of the impending assistance, looked back to the security screens. The Green Arrow had stopped the Dark Knight and was talking to him, rather animatedly, just outside the men's locker rooms. If Wally didn't know better, he would say that Arrow looked like he was asking Batman for something.
Wally grinned in amusement as Arrow put his hand on Batman's shoulder, and quickly withdrew it when Batman slowly looked to where Arrow's hand touched his shoulder. Not even Ollie was immune to Batman's menacing demeanor. Batman's shoulders slumped for a millisecond and he nodded curtly. After a moment Arrow disappeared with a wide grin into the locker room and Batman laid his precious cargo on a nearby cart.
Flash smiled and thought, "Now what do you suppose he's up to…?" Batman hesitated and glanced uncertainly at the bouquet of flowers resting on top of the box holding Diana's dress, then looked around to make certain that there was no one around. The white eyes of the Flash opened wide in amazement and his mouth opened in shock. It was the first time he had ever seen Batman so uncertain about anything…
Another alert sounded and Flash focused on the monitor. "Some flash flooding in Thailand", thought Flash. "Hehehe. 'Flash' flooding…" He shook his head to remove the funny, yet inappropriate, thoughts from his mind. He automatically placed a call to the local authorities and as they responded he saw one of the maintenance technicians exit the locker rooms on the screen. The poor woman had so many towels piled up in her arms that she couldn't see the cart, or more specifically, that there was something on the cart that hadn't been there earlier. She plopped the towels down on top of Batman's gifts and pushed the cart away.
Wally told the local police chief that the Justice League would help with any evacuations if they became necessary as quickly as he could, and after the chief voiced his thanks Wally cut the connection.
Flash looked from monitor to monitor in rapid movements, searching for the progress of the cart carrying Diana's appeasement presents. "Where is it? Where is it? Not by the commissary, or the laundry facilities yet…there!' Finally Wally found the gift bearing cart at the secondary access to the female locker rooms a couple of corridors away from its previous position.
It was then that movement from the first monitor drew his attention. Batman had exited the men's locker room, looking somewhat…no, make that thoroughly annoyed. Flash watched on as Batman walked to where the cart had been, stop and then stare at the now empty space.
Crimson started in the skin of the Batman's chin just above where the cowl ended, then worked its way slowly upward until it disappeared underneath the part of the cowl that hid the eyes of Bruce Wayne from the world, and a second later steam erupted in twin geysers from the pointy ears of the cowl.
Of course that was the way it went in Wally's fertile, and admittedly juvenile, imagination. What actually happened was Batman just stood there intently looking at the empty area, apparently trying to will the cart, or more to the point his gifts, to reappear.
Wally watched as Batman slowly turned around and surveyed the area, and he could practically see and hear the gears in Batman's analytical and deductive mind spinning in super high gear.
Two courses of action fought it out within Wally's soul for his attention. One, he could call Batman and tell him where the cart was. On the upside, it would mean that he had helped Batman and hopefully earned some reprieve for the mocha incident. On the down side, Batman would probably put together that Wally had been paying particular attention to him and his progress, which would most certainly annoy him further. Forget probably…he would definitely put it together.
The second option, and the one with the most chance of giving him some genuine amusement, was to let Batman miss his date with Diana while he searched for the gifts. A quick glance to the nearest clock told Wally that Batman only had five minutes to find the gifts and get to Diana's quarters. If it were anyone else besides Batman, Wally would have said it was impossible. That being said, being Batman only downgraded it to unlikely instead of impossible.
But then another variable entered the equation: Diana.
Diana was his good friend and he liked seeing her happy. Diana liked Bruce and he made her happy. So, for Diana, Bruce equaled happiness. For Bruce to make Diana happy, he had to be with her. For Bruce to be with her this particular evening, he had to find his presents and get to her quarters. Ergo, he had to call Batman and give him the information he needed.
"Ergo? Where the heck did 'ergo' come from?"
With a sigh at his only chance for some amusement being cruelly ripped from his grasp, the Crimson Speedster reached up to his ear and activated his communicator, saying, "Flash to Batman."
"Not now", came the instant growl.
"But Bats, I know…"
"I said", interrupted Batman with the venomous voice he usually reserved for the Joker or Two-Face, "NOT NOW!"
The soft click that signaled the end of the transmission sounded more like a sledgehammer in Wally's ear for some reason and he visibly flinched from it.
Flash was just bringing his hand up to his ear to try again when multiple alerts sounded. He nearly jumped up out of the chair and only just successfully managed to stop the very nasty word he thought from escaping his lips. He leaned forward and once again his super speed came into use upon the keyboards as he gathered all the data on the multiple events.
Five seconds of typing, quick glance to the monitor showing the cart; five more seconds of typing, another quick glance at the monitor to see where Batman was; another five seconds of typing and a quick glance to see if the cart had moved. Another quick glance at the time showed that Batman only had three minutes left to find the gifts and get to Diana's quarters.
Finally, Wally focused his attention on the main monitor and watched as the data on three new events was displayed on the monitor. None of them was serious enough to necessitate a League response and he sighed in relief…
…only to nearly choke on the sigh as he cut it off prematurely when he saw Batman approach the door to Diana's quarters. A look to the clock showed that Batman was nearly out of time, and he had apparently decided that showing up without his gifts was better than not showing up at all. Wally's respect for Batman edged up a notch. Diana was going to be pissed.
He stood up screamed at the screen, "Wait Bats…they're by the locker room! THE LOCKER ROOM!!!" (Later on, he would realize that in his haste and excitement, he never thought to try use the comm. system again, which of course would have been the simplest solution to the problem, assuming that Batman would have listened. He would also joke to the one or two people he would tell, that doing what he did instead was much more exciting anyway.)
Wally whirled around and was absolutely delighted to see J'onn. "J'onn!", he announced excitedly, adding wild gesticulations towards the monitors in an attempt to convey to J'onn the seriousness of the situation. "Batman…Wonder Woman…dress…locker room…almost there…"
J'onn placed his left hand on Wally's right shoulder, and in as soothing a voice as he could muster said, "Flash, calm down …and breathe."
Wally stopped his muttering and took a deep breath. J'onn was afraid he was going to start up the speed mumbling gibberish again when Wally asked very deliberately, "Can you stay here?"
J'onn was in the middle of an affirming nod when the Flash took off in a blaze of crimson out the door. J'onn merely shrugged and sat down in the main chair, pulled up the data logs for Wally's shift and, not for the first time, wondered how the human race had survived for as long as it had.
With unimaginable velocity, Wally whizzed through the corridors of the Watchtower, zigging around some obstacles and zagging around others. He was going so fast that he never even had time to consider anything but getting those presents to Bruce so he could get them to Diana.
As Wally zoomed past Supergirl while she talked to Vixen, sending her short cape into a wild flutter, Batman was a mere five steps away from his destination, walking as one convicted of a crime would move to the gallows on their day of reckoning.
As Batman took another step towards Diana's quarters, Wally turned the corner closest to the women's locker room. His targets came into view right where the monitor showed them to be and he set his sights on them.
Another heavy step from Batman and Wally had Batman's missing cargo in his hands, cradling them gently yet securely in his arms as though they were the most precious of treasures.
Batman made another, slightly hesitant stride just as Wally blazed down the corridors connecting the common areas to the personal quarters section, not once slowing his break neck pace.
As Batman took his final step and stood in front of Diana's door, the Flash zoomed through the corridor adjacent to the one in which the Batman awaited his imminent doom.
Batman sighed heavily, immensely grateful that no one appeared to be around to see his discomfort, and pressed the buzzer to Diana's door. Wally turned the corner and eyed Batman…and Diana's door just as it started to open from the inside. Wally clenched his teeth and dug deep for that extra little boost he so seldom used, because he very rarely needed it.
Ever so slowly the door opened, at least that's the way it looked to Wally as he sped towards Batman. Of course, when one goes as fast as the Flash was going, everything else seemed to move in slow motion…it was one of the aspects of his super speed that he enjoyed, after all.
The same effect was happening for Batman as well, though for an entirely different reason. Everything had slowed down and the door opened at an agonizingly slow pace, his subconscious' attempt at delaying what he knew to be inevitable…confronting a disappointed and very angry Amazon Princess. Batman suppressed a gulp as Diana's hand became visible as the door opened, pressed as it was against the doorframe. Never before had Bruce Wayne been so saddened to see the perfectly painted nails of Diana, or the silver bracelets that covered the soft wrists that his lips had had the pleasure of caressing more than once. It was then that something happened…
Wally approached Batman and zoomed past him, arresting his velocity just enough to safely deliver into Batman's arms his missing apology gifts for Diana just as her face came into view past the sliding door. He was going so fast that Batman didn't even register an interruption of his view of Diana.
To the casual observer, it looked much like a magic trick one would find in Zatanna's Vegas act. One second, the Batman was standing empty handed outside the quarters of Wonder Woman as her door opened. Then out of the blue, or red in this case, flowers and a box appeared in Batman's arms just as Wonder Woman came into view.
When the door opened fully, to reveal a very pleasant looking Wonder Woman framed in the doorway, Batman was looking in the direction that Flash had gone. He looked back to Diana, absently noting her bemused grin, back down the corridor and finally back to Diana again.
By the time that Batman had looked back to Diana for the second time, a very slightly winded Wally was back in the monitor womb, watching the security monitor as Diana stepped out into the corridor and gave a recovered Batman a kiss on the cheek. She smiled widely at him and relieved him of the cargo that Wally had so recently returned to Batman.
Wally stood next to the chair in which J'onn rested, his left elbow resting on the back of the chair; his right hand resting on his right hip and his left foot crossed casually over his right foot. He had the air about him of someone who had just done something extraordinary, of which the most telling sign had to be the mile wide grin he had on his face.
"Well done, Flash", said J'onn in a tone that echoed his verbal statement. J'onn reached over to cut the video transmission feed to give their friends some privacy, then looked up to his very young friend.
Wally's reply was typical. "Yeah it was, wasn't it? I mean how many people could have pulled that off? Not too many, but I had a whole second to spare. Not too shabby if you ask me."
J'onn chuckled softly as Wally straightened up and slowly walked towards the door, strutting as though he had saved the world when absolutely no one else could.
The next evening, Wally West arrived in the monitor womb of the Watchtower for his second night in a row of monitor duty. His high from the previous night had left him in the face of another boring night of monitor duty.
"Hey J'onn", greeted Wally, and when the Martian stood up and nodded in response he asked, "anything happening?"
"No, Flash", replied J'onn. "All is quiet."
Wally sat in the chair vacated by J'onn and turned to face the Martian. "Did you hear about Batman and Diana's night?" When J'onn shook his head Wally filled him in. "I stopped by the commissary on the way here and the buzz is that they had a great night." Wally tilted his head a little and lowered his voice. "Some versions even have the Princess staying overnight in our favorite Gothamite's manor." He straightened up in the chair and added nonchalantly, "And all made possible by yours truly."
"Really, Flash", chided J'onn softly, "you must not believe everything you hear."
Wally shook his head quickly, offended at the comment. "I don't, J'onn." The offended look turned into a sly grin and a wink. "I only believe the good stuff."
J'onn took a step towards the door and then stopped and said as he turned back to face Wally, "I nearly forgot." He stepped over to a table off to the right, picked up an envelope and walked over to Flash. As he handed the envelope to Flash he said, "Batman was by earlier and asked me to give you this."
When Wally took the envelope his shoulders slumped just enough to be noticed, and J'onn walked towards the door again amused by the instant change in Wally's posture. As he walked through the door, J'onn smiled when he heard a sigh from Flash, followed by a very quiet, "Probably a bill for getting his boot cleaned."
Wally looked at the envelope he held between his thumb and index finger as though it were a harbinger of ill tidings and grimaced. It was a plain white envelope, with no markings other than his name, Flash, typed neatly in the dead center of the front of it. For several moments Wally mulled over the options available to him. He could open the envelope immediately, later or not at all.
Not at all was the most appealing, as the probability was astoundingly high that it was a reprimand of some sort. That made option two the most palatable, but after a few more moments of deliberation he decided that it was just best to do it and get it over with.
Wally carefully opened the envelope, and took out the single piece of folded paper inside. He placed the envelope on the computer console and unfolded the paper, and when his eyes finally focused on the typed message, his eyes bulged open.
With his eyes still glued on the message, his mouth opened and closed twice in shock, though he never uttered a word. Finally, Wally lowered the note to his lap, used his right hand to clean out his eyes, and then brought the note up once more, just to verify that he had read what he thought he read.
'Flash. Below are instructions and information for a one-week getaway for two at a condo on Turtle Island, Fiji. Don't forget your passports. Thank you for last night. B.'
A smile spread across Wally's face, and kept spreading until it was all that could be seen under his red mask.
"Well, I'll be…", he exclaimed softly as he perused the information Bruce had given him. "Wait 'til I tell…" He stopped when a P.S. at the bottom of the page caught his attention.
Out loud he read, "P.S.- DO NOT tell anyone about this…or else."
For some reason, Wally's smile only got bigger as he whispered, "No problem, Bats. No problem."