Hi there peoples! I hope you all had a brilliant new year that was all full of nice clean fun. I seemed to have written myself into a hole last chapter in that I now need to continue two storylines simultaneously. It's a bit of an annoyance in that it's like writing two chapters at once. Le sigh. Ah well, it means that it looks like I actually write long chapters this way! I'll be keeping to this split style for a while until the first strand catches up with the second with little breaks for the neglected other members of the JLA. And, since I haven't mentioned it in a while, I do not own these characters. They are trademarked by other, rich people, and I'm only borrowing them for a short while.
Once again, huge giant blobs of thanks goes to Oku-San The Monk (thanks for pointing that grammar error out for me!), spoodle monkey, Kim, you who reviewed as a little smiley face, iknoweverythingLIAR, and fluffyinmypocket. I don't know if you know how much your words mean to me. Reading them just makes me happy and thank you so much for that. It's for you guys that I'm even continuing this story.
By the by, I was so, so, so unhappy with how the last chapter turned out that I did a bit of a re-haul on it. I changed most of the beginning and a little bit of the dialogue. It's not necessary that you read it again, but you're more than welcome to if you would so desire. Gaffaw.
Enough of these terribly long author notes and anon to the story!
The smell of antiseptic and the sound of a carefully controlled quiet were the first things to greet him as Wally slowly struggled back to consciousness. Groaning, he tried to open his eyes and winced at the goo that had all but glued the lids closed. How long had he been out? The last thing he remembered was Bruce and—
Kissing him. Wally imagined that if he had been in complete control of his body's functioning at that present time he would have blushed a nice solid scarlet. Sure, he could be a little spontaneous every once in a while, but to kiss someone that he had just met? It made him feel so…so…whoreish. He could only hope that it hadn't shot his reputation with Bruce completely.
Though with the response he had gotten, Wally mentally smirked, he could be more or less sure that it had done anything but. That kiss had set off fireworks behind his eyes, made him feel like he'd been hit by a ton of bricks, or had gotten rammed by a huge six wheeler—Oh.
With a jolt, Wally's awakening tactile experience came back to him with the association of hospital and he ripped his eyes open and, as if he'd burst a protective bubble at the movement, pain suddenly rippled down his leg in an echoing response to the sudden sunlight stabbing at his sensitive eyes.
Gasping, Wally brought his hands up to rub at his crusty eyes, the plastic covering on his right middle finger cold against his face. Staring at it in disbelief, Wally traced the wire running from the plastic and up to a steadily beeping heart monitor—his heart monitor. His heart.
"Good to see you're finally awake." Wally didn't exactly jump in surprise; he couldn't. His left leg was in a cast from hip down and was hanging from a ceiling sling. The position didn't exactly make for ideal jumping conditions. Though that didn't stop his heart from jerking at the sudden noise, the erratic beat dutifully noted by the monitor on his right.
Eyes wide and still a bit crusty, Wally focused his gaze on the hunched form reclining in the only armchair by the single window in the room, "Dick?"
"Well it sure ain't Dr. McSteamy." his friend dryly retorted and folded back that day's edition of The Gotham Inquirer. Standing up and walking over to the bedridden man, Dick tucked the paper underneath his arm nonchalantly.
Wally grinned, "No, I don't suppose I'm dreaming anymore, huh?"
"Not unless I'm a sentient figure of your imagination. In which case you're going to need a crap-load of therapy," Dick snorted.
"That's for sure." Grinning up at his best friend, Wally suddenly realized something with the help of the afternoon sun streaming in through the window, "Hey! Sorry I didn't make it last night—was it last night? I don't even remember—but I seemed to have been a little indisposed—obviously you know that, I mean, you're here aren't you—hey, why are you here?" Wally paused a moment, wincing as a forgetful attempt to tense his bandaged leg caused pain to knife through it, and the thought chased itself through his head, "Not that I mind, you know I don't, but just how'd you know I was hurt? What hospital I was at and everything?"
Dick just smiled through the verbal onslaught until Wally wound down to his final point. Smile slipping off his face, Dick sighed and settled himself on the right side of Wally's bed, careful about how he positioned himself so as to not make Wally any more uncomfortable, "It's fine, don't worry. You can make it up to me some other time. As to how I found out…well, let's just say that we have a mutual friend who was, ah, kind enough to alert me about your condition."
Wally's confused frown only deepened, "'Mutual friend'? I don't even know anyone in Gotham."
"That's not completely true, Wally." Dick admonished.
Rolling his eyes, Wally stretched out with his left leg, releasing the pent up tension in muscles that had been left still for far to long though being more careful not to jostle his wrapped one again, "Yeah, well, except for Batman, I guess. And Bruce Wayne and his…replacement-for-you ward? Tim Drake. But I just met them today. Or whatever day that was."
Dick chuckled incredulously, "You really have no idea, do you?"
"What?" Was Dick talking about what day it was? Wally was being left in the dark. He hated when people did that.
"It's…not my place to say," Dick said with a frown of his own, "But I'm sure that when he gets here he can explain—"
At the sound of the voice, both Dick and Wally turned to face the doorway, Dick blanching while Wally blushed furiously at the figure framed by the hospital hallway's neon lights.
"Ahhh…Bruce. Back already?" Dick asked, sliding off the bed and standing, Wally noted, almost at attention.
"Yes. Nothing interesting was happening." 'What the hell did that mean?' Wally wondered with a mental glower. Bruce hadn't even glanced at him. Sure, he hadn't been there for more than three seconds, but surely it didn't take that much effort to just look at him. Maybe…maybe he really did think less of him because of the kiss after all.
"That's good, though, isn't it?" Dick continued to respond even as Wally's mind was thrown into turmoil and he stared as hard as he could at the unmoving statue that was Bruce Wayne, willing and begging with his eyes for him to look at him even once. What was with the cold shoulder? Wally had saved his life! Not that he thought he owed him or anything, it was just the principle of the thing. If he thought that someone owed him every time he saved them from certain death, he most certainly wouldn't have made it in the superhero business for very long.
"It is." Bruce curtly answered. Noting Wally's stare and beginning unease, Dick shifted his gaze to lock with Bruce's.
Meeting the cold steel that currently made up the optics of the man before him, however, Dick realized that Bruce Wayne was no longer present; the Batman had officially taken over.
"Dick. I need you to leave for a bit."
Stiffening at the tone as well as the implications, Wally finally transfered his gaze, staring instead in shock at Dick who could do nothing more than shrug at him. What was he supposed to do?
Try Wally's eyes all but screamed at him. Sighing, Dick railed his courage as a tribute of friendship and attempted to talk the Batman down, "I don't think it would be best—"
Eyes flashing, Batman only lifted his chin higher, his jaw clenching, "Leave, Dick. Now."
Shrugging at a desperate looking Wally (Yes he wanted Bruce to give him some sort of attention, but not if he was looking that angry!), Dick made his way around a scowling Bruce and out the door, shutting it lightly as soon as he was clear.
After the click of the lock sliding into place, silence reined the room. Wally felt like he was suffocating. He thought he had really hit it off with Bruce the night before, thought it could have developed into something great and wonderful but it seemed that he had ruined everything after all with his usual stupid habit of not being able to calm down and just take things slow.
Clearing his throat, Wally looked down at his twisting hands clasping the white sheet draped over him and tried to break through the eerie quiet, "Look, Bruce, I'm sorry for—"
"Save it." Oh. Ouch. The voice was deep and gruff, not Bruce's normal one at all. Yet the gravely tone registered somewhere in Wally's mind as almost…familiar. The comment had stung, still, and Wally winced at the implications of his wrong doing.
But he had to try to make this right, damn it! "I just want to apologize!"
Hissing low in his throat, Bruce leveled a glare at the now determined redhead, "Why bother? You've had your laugh. Though I'm sure it didn't turn out exactly how you wanted—the truck and all."
"Huh?" Wally was confused. To say the least.
Stalking closer to the bed, Bruce was all but seething with barely controlled rage that dripped from his every stride, "Don't you dare play dumb with me, West."
"It's hard not to when I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You tricked me!" Bruce yelled, rage uncoiling throughout his voice, "You pretended to be this perfectly normal person who thought I was normal and got me to like you, got me to kiss you—" Bruce stuttered to a stop and just glared at the floor, unable to continue looking at Wally's pleading green eyes.
Who, by this point, was severely requestioning and reconsidering that whole psychiatrist thing because there was clearly something here that he was missing.
Voice more controlled, Bruce continued as if he had never stopped, "Was it some sort of bet? What? Because I never would have thought that you, Flash, of all people, would be so mean."
Wally's heart stuttered to a stop. His eyes widened and his mind guttered out until all that was left was an ohholyshitcraphowdoesheknow?! He had worked so hard at getting his identity a secret again and now this guy knew. What the hell? What the goddamn hell was going on here?!
"Wh—What did you call me?" Wally croaked, his throat hardly cooperating.
"Don't be coy with me West, I called you Flash. You heard it. What—didn't think I would figure it out? You got hit by a truck and before the ambulance had even arrived I had to set the bone myself because it was healing so rapidly. A few blood tests latter and I was sure. That's how I knew that the truck couldn't have been a part of the 'Try to Embarrass Batman' plan you had going on—you had gotten so badly hurt that I can't imagine it would have been planed that way. But, really, come on. Was it worth it? All this just to embarrass me and get out a few laughs at the Batman's expense?"
Wally's head felt like someone had just taken a mallet to it. Repeatedly and continuously. "Ba-Batman?!" he rasped.
Said Batman rolled his eyes, "Don't pretend you didn't know." As Wally's face continued to display a state of shock rather than a growing sheepishness, however, Batman suddenly began to rethink things, "You…did know, didn't you? How could you have not known if you knew who Dick was?"
And then it clicked. Wally almost couldn't stop himself from banging his head against the wall. Duh! Richard Grayson, youthful ward to one Bruce Wayne. Richard Grayson who had been Robin which would only then make sense that Bruce Wayne was Batman.
God but he could be dense sometimes. Chuckling at the thought, soon Wally couldn't hold back and he was cackling madly, the short bursts of pain from his leg at the brief jostling movements hardly registering as his logic sensors shorted out at the realization of how stupid you would have to be not to get it.
Bruce's glare slid completely off his face at Wally's unusual reaction, "You didn't know? But…I mean…wasn't it a little obvious?" There was little in this world that could reduce the Batman to a stumbling mess that was at a loss for words, but apparently Wally's apparent lack of observational skills managed to register as one of those somethings.
Wally, who still couldn't stop laughing, just shook his head and answered in between his chuckles, "Now that you—chortle—mention it, yeah—snicker—it does make complete and freaking—chuckle—absolute freaking sense. God! Giggle—how'd I miss that?!"
Shaking his head in utter disbelief at the cluelessness, Bruce then had one more question that still needed to be answered, "Then why…why'd you kiss me?"
Laughter trailing off with a few resistant and residual giggles, Wally's lips curved up into a smile, "Because you were dashing and sweet. And very, very good looking. Believe me, if I'd have known who you really were, I would have been out of my mind to have done what I did. Especially as a joke. I value my life, thanks so much."
Bruce cracked a smile, "That...really means a lot, Mr. West. Thank you. I think."
"Not a problem, Mr. Wayne." Wally's eyes twinkled and he crooked a finger at the man who was still looming over him, "Now c'mere. I was expecting a much warmer reception from you then I was given and now you owe me."
Smirking, Bruce obeyed and lightly lowered his lips onto Wally's unresisting ones.
"Awwww! It's just so cute!" Only to be rudely interrupted by a very dead Nightwing in the now open and unlocked doorway.
"Dick!" two voices growled and, laughing, Dick took the hint and left the room, once more shutting the door behind him and, in honor of the reconciliation tinged mood, decided to let it slip that the exclamation had sounded more like an insult then his actual name.
Well, he thought, that could have gone worse.
Well, Wally thought, it could always be worse.
Though he hoped not because if it did get any worse, he would cry. Though maybe not cry, exactly. Manly superheroes like him did not cry. But he could whine and complain and be absolutely annoying about it until people's ears bled.
Which, groaning and arching his back to take pressure off of his chained hands, is exactly what Batman awoke to as he finally regained consciousness.
"The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the—"
"Flash." Batman growled out, the one word elongated and slurred as he found it difficult to navigate through letters and sounds while his brain was still recalibrating.
"Hey Bats! Good to see you're awake and all. For a minute there I thought you might just go on hanging like that all day. I hope you know that I wasn't completely serious when I told you to 'go get hung,' yeah?"
Oh yes, Batman thought, that bloody argument. In his half state of alertness he had almost sorta not really completely forgotten about it.
"I had somewhat deduced that." He said dryly, motor control and speech functions once again established as his brain slowly crawled out from the fog and back into the land of coherency.
"Glad you're up for deducing. Now then, find us a way out of here." Flash said only a little bit snidely. Yes, they were still amid a personal tiff, but they were also professionals at their jobs. They could do this without being huffy about it. If anything, it'd show Superman that he couldn't control them and that was prize enough for almost anything at the moment. Suffering through agonizing teamwork while on a mission seemed like a small enough price.
"Where exactly is here?" Batman asked, also coming to the same conclusion concerning their personal versus professional dilemma. Now was the time for teamwork, not petty discontent. Turning his head back and forth in his limiting position, Batman was able to see more and more darkness—it didn't really give him any clues as to where they actually were.
"We're being held prisoner by a crazy monkey bent on world destruction and domination. I don't know where we are—hell, I don't even know if we're on Otherla any more. Toto, we're completely f'in lost, here."
Bruce sighed, "Grodd, is it? Well, you are only in shackles. Can't you just vibrate through them?"
"Not without killing you." Flash said with absolutely no emotion. It was a fact and letting Bruce know how worried he was about it would not only be detrimental to Batman's focus on the mission, but also to his standing in their current argument. And like hell he was giving any ground.
"Oh." Batman stated ineloquently, mind swirling as it developed and tested theories at a rapid rate, "Then I guess we've just got to think of something else."
"Please—be my guest. But I think Grodd-y boy might be listening in—"
"And you would be correct, Flash. I am not so stupid as to leave you two unsupervised." a voice answered, seeming to come from no where.
Sighing as if to indicate, "See?" Wally slumped in his chains.
Coughing, Bruce caught his eye, "Keep talking," he mouthed at him. Mildly confused, Wally nodded.
"I still don't understand why you were such a bastard about it." Wally said. Batman gave him a look and Wally just shrugged again. He had told him to keep talking, it wasn't his fault that he hadn't said what about. Yes, they were being professional, but hey—if Wally could have both professional and personal, he'd take it in a heart beat.
Sighing, but still going along with the conversation topic, Bruce said, "That's because I wasn't being a bastard about it so much as you were being a child about it," at the same time he let loose with a series of clicks of his fingers against his shackles, the myriad staccato forming into Morse Code: Need plan. How shackles kill?
"I was not being a child. You invaded my privacy, I have a right to be offended by that." Catching on, Wally replied verbally while also replying by taping his own fingers to the unspoken question: Vibrate through mine, lightning kills you. Don't know if can move fast enough to save.
"Offended—maybe. Petulant? No. You could have just asked me to take the tracking feature out instead of just not using the headset completely—it would have made it easier to find you in bad situations. Like the one we were in at the time." Batman verbally retaliated. The clacking of his fingers also relayed his message: Have to try. Only choice. Go on three.
"It's not like you would have removed it anyway. You're too much of a control freak. You would have just installed a new tracker and put it in some other place so that I wouldn't have been able to find it." Wally continued their argument while thumping his reluctant agreement: On three.
"For one, that's a lie. Two, you wouldn't know because you didn't come to me, and th—" Batman began before panels along the walls and ceiling opened up and a green gas spilled out.
Wally had just enough time to think that he was really sick and tired of being knocked unconscious all the time until once again his vision clouded over and shorted out into nothing.
Thank you for managing through that! I hope you enjoyed it and that I'm not just getting worse and worse with every chapter. I know that the whole Grodd thing is getting annoying, however, and can't they just escape all ready? No worries, they'll be out soon! Yay! And you got a little peak at what their argument was about. I will eventually, however, include the argument in the first strand for when it connects with the second strand of the story.
Well. That explanation was only slightly confusing.
Please feel free to review and know that any and all would be most appreciated!