When the Rain Falls
Disclaimer: JLU and all it's characters do not belong to me. I gain no monetary profit from this fanfiction.
A/N: This is it friends(wait, do I even have those? Heh heh.); my very first real attempt at a non-humorous story, as well as a multi-chaptered story. All the others before this didn't count. Yeah, you wouldn't believe how nervous I am right now. XD
Also, there are a number of major roles to go around, but this is intended to be a Flash fic at the core. Because Wally is awesome(And just why is Flash not one of the search-able characters on here?). Hopefully somebody out there will enjoy. If not, critique away! I'm a big girl, I can take it.
"Oh, come on. It's not that big a deal, is it?"
"Look, it's nothing personal. It's just that people have been complaining..."
"Yeah, but I'm not the only one who does it. This isn't fair."
John Stewart, also known as Green Lantern, sighed as he blasted another thug in the face with his ring. "Maybe, but you happen to do it the most. By a long shot."
"Do not." The Flash shot back, whilst zipping around two more punks, tying them up with a length of chain that one of them had previously been using as a weapon. "I bet Booster Gold does it more."
"Only if you add it up between him and Blue Beetle."
"It still counts!"
"... No it doesn't."
"Touché." Flash grumbled, taking out his irritation on a goon who was attempting to sneak up on John. "Anyway, it's not as if leaving drinks at the monitor is all that bad. I mean, nobody complains when J'onn leaves cookie crumbs all over the freaking place."
"That's different. He cleans up after himself." John landed on the ground after the last of the would-be looters was knocked out.
"Hey I clean up after myself!" Wally defended, crossing his arms with a frown. Then lowered his tone to a whisper. "Usually."
"You're going to pay for this!" The conversation was interrupted when a loudmouth among the criminals below started screaming at them. "Every last one of you damn capes!"
"Capes?" Flash glanced to Green Lantern, then back at the guy. "Nope, don't see any of those around."
Leaving the mob bound up for the police to take away, the two heroes moved out of the jewelry store, and back to the streets of Central City. A black cat scurried away, just in time to avoid being stepped on. With an annoyed hiss, it darted off into a nearby alley.
Neither Flash nor Green Lantern paid the creature any mind as they headed down the sidewalk. They had just finished their ritual Tuesday morning breakfast a few minutes earlier, but it had been cut short when the alarm in the jewelry store – which had been right across the street – went off.
"So, you think we have to time to head back to the cafe?" John asked, glancing toward the establishment.
"I wish. But 'Wally West' has to make a stop at the lab to drop some stuff off, and I've got monitor duty at the Metro tower in five."
At that, John gave him a reproachful glance.
"Hey, don't worry. No drinks, I promise." And with that, he sped off, leaving Green Lantern staring at where the red blur vanished in the distance.
Silently, the ex-marine turned to look at the sky. A few silvery clouds rolled by, chased by one much large and darker than them. A storm was coming.
Not wanting to fly in the rain, even with his ring, John discreetly called for transport to the Watchtower.
As Flash ran, his attention was diverted to a toy store. Well, not the store itself, but rather the small boy that stood before it. His clothes were dirty, and he was rather pale and worn down. There was nobody near by that even looked like they could be his parents. Probably because nobody was nearby; people seemed to be avoiding him.
Wally backtracked and came to a stop right next to the child. "Hey, there." He greeted with a warm smile, holding out a hand to the boy.
"Huh?" The kid gazed up at him with large, brown eyes. "H-hello." He looked away quickly, chewing on a fingernail.
"What's your name?" Wally coaxed, kneeling over to be at about eye level with the kid.
"Henri." His eyes seemed to drift back to the toy display, particularly toward a little battery powered robot. Flash got an idea.
"Be right back." The speedster seemingly vanished, then appeared four seconds later. "This what you were looking at?" He held up a boxed version of said robot, along with a case of batteries.
The boy stared at the package for a moment, then took it as it was handed to him. "I-I can keep it?" He sounded unsure.
"Of course!" Wally grinned, playfully tousling the kid's ebony hair. "Now..." He took on a more serious expression, although not overly so. "You should get yourself home." He pointed toward the darkening sky. "It's going to rain soon. Wouldn't want to catch a cold, do we?"
Henri looked down at his feet. Flash realized he wasn't wearing any shoes. "Um... can I... c-come home with you?" He looked up hopefully.
"Err... I don't think that's a good idea." The speedster rubbed the back of his head. "Wait, don't tell me you don't have a home." He wasn't surprised when Henri shook his head. The boy was clearly in poor straits, although it was still hard to imagine one so young living on their own. "Don't worry, though. I know a nice place you can stay at."
Wally turned to a nearby police car, in which two officers were currently taking a coffee break. "Yo, guys! You mind giving this kid a lift? He needs a place to stay for the night."
One of them peered out the rolled down window, then got out and approached. "Sure thing."
Henri glanced nervously at Flash, before letting the officer take his hand and lead him back to the car. After watching them drive away, the speedster zipped off, hoping he hadn't fallen too far behind schedule. He knew how Vigilante tended to get when he was forced to work overtime.
Unfortunately, the Flash found himself again set back. A loud crackle of thunder sparked overhead. He slowed down, looking up curiously as the storm stewed and rolled above him. Lightning snaked through the air, on the prowl for something to strike. And a few of them did strike; hitting trees, lightning rods, and even just the ground. The intensity in which they hit was greater than Wally had seen in a long time.
People took notice rather hastily, and most of them made for buildings, others leaped into their cars, anxious to keep away from the awful weather. It was then that rain decided to join in the fun, pouring down upon those who didn't seek shelter quickly enough.
"Should have brought an umbrella." His quip was drown out by the deluge, although at his speed, Wally had avoided getting really wet.
Another loud roar sounded out, but this one was slightly different in pitch to the thunder. And that's because it wasn't thunder; it was an explosion. The rain blotted out much of the smoke and fire, but Flash could clearly see the sheer destruction and falling debris coming from a hotel just a few blocks away.
With a frown, the speedster altered his course toward the building. Vig would have to wait a while longer.
When Batman entered the Metro tower in his usual sneaky, stick-to-the-most-shadowy-areas, sort of way, he was greeted by the sight of one apparently snoozing cowboy, and a distinct lack of a certain scarlet speedster who was supposed to be on-duty at this time.
"Up." The cowled hero muttered to Vigilante, while not actually looking at him. His eyes were on the monitor.
"Hrmph?" On seeing Batman, Vig quickly sat up, tilting his hat away from his eyes. "If you'll excuse me; late night." He explained, while not actually looking or sounding like he'd been asleep at all.
"Kid hasn't shown up all noon. Reckon he's finding more ways to get outta this." It was clear that Vigilante was not at all pleased.
Batman scowled. Without saying another word, the Dark Knight spun around and stalked out. Vig stared after him for a minute, before sinking low in his seat and tipping his hat back down.
It had been almost a whole day since Flash was reported missing. Shayera was leading a search team over Central City, trying frantically to find any trace of the speedster.
There were a number of witnesses that reported seeing him enter a collapsing building to evacuate the people inside, but he'd never come back out. An investigation of the wreckage had uncovered a humbling death toll – thirty-nine in all, and they were still searching for the cause. But Flash wasn't among the bodies, which brought the Thanagarian some relief.
Relief that was soon replaced by more worrying. There wasn't any possible way Wally would have willingly left so many people to such a fate. Something happened, and Shayera was determined to find out what it was.
She, along with Green Lantern, were scouring above the city. Batman, Blue Beetle, and Elongated Man were combing the streets and back alleys. Atom and Aztek were back at the collapsed hotel, searching for any traces that might have gone unnoticed, as well as helping with the cleanup.
Shayera frowned and turned to her left as the city limits drew close before her. Attempts to contact Wally had been met only with static, too low and garbled to make out whether there was actually somebody on the other end or not.
She took notice of Green Lantern in the distance, obviously not having any more luck than her. She knew he was torn up over this. "If only I stayed with him a few more minutes!" He had said, angered with himself. Despite all the attempts to persuade him otherwise, there was no doubt he would continue to blame himself until Wally was found.
"I think you should all meet back at the hotel. We have... a bit of a problem." Aztek's voice came over the comm. His tone sounded decidedly urgent.
This didn't bode well. Shayera turned again, this time heading back toward the hotel. She saw Lantern do the same. But then he paused as somebody else spoke up.
"Shayera and I will go. The rest of you, keep searching." It was Batman.
Within no time at all, she reached the pile of debris, which was now a bit smaller from when she last saw it. Batman was standing near Aztek, and they both looked over at her as she landed.
"What's going on? I thought we–" She started walking toward them, but Aztek held up a hand, gesturing for her to stop.
"Look." He pointed to the ground. At first she saw nothing, but after staring for a few moments, she started to notice the dust and tiny pieces of debris were shivering and vibrating ever so slightly. But only in a small, circular area. "Don't touch it." He cautioned further, a frown coming to his lips.
"What is it?" She asked, looking back at the other two.
"Some sort of teleportation device." He answered, walking around it. "When Atom tried to examine it..." Aztek didn't finish, he didn't need to. It was fairly obvious what had happened.
"Did you try contacting him?" Batman questioned coolly.
Aztek sound just a little affronted as he replied. "Yes. But it was the same as when we tried to contact Flash."
"So they both got... transported away by this thing?" Shayera wondered.
"That seems the most likely conclusion." Batman murmured.
"Wait, wait... but why those two?" She waved her hand around them, indicating that they were standing over what once was the hotel's lobby. "I can't even begin to guess how many people must have walked over this spot. Why weren't any of them teleported as well?"
"Programmed for something specific, probably." Aztek pointed out.
Batman narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. Then he took off his comm and stepped back. Shayera and Aztek realized what he was about to do, and both did the same. When they were both a comfortable distance away, Batman tossed the communicator into the circle.
As it sailed into the midst of the energy, the device froze in midair, crackling and rattling around. After a few seconds, it phased away, leaving nothing visible behind. All three exchanged looks.
"Where do you think it goes?" Shayera asked after a minute.
It was the obvious question on each of their minds, but none of them yet had any answers.
Batman took out a scanner from his belt and proceeded to take various readings that Shayera couldn't even guess at. After two more minute of silence, he glanced at both of them. "I'm going to look into this. Make sure nobody goes near this; I don't care who they are." Without another word, Batman grappled his way to a nearby roof and disappeared from sight.
But neither hero would have to guard it for long. Before their eyes, the transporter radius erupted in a bright light, which faded rapidly. Shayera and Aztek looked on in surprise as the ground grew still, and the energy dissipated into nothing.
It was a grim day indeed. Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, had just about convinced himself that there was nothing left to search for, when Shayera sent word that they had found a lead. And by 'lead,' she was referring to a transporter that had been set up inside the collapsed hotel. And unfortunately, said lead had also vanished. Which cut off the more simple – if incredibly dangerous – solution to finding out where it went.
Presently, he was making his way back over there. There was nothing and nowhere left to search that he or the others hadn't already exhausted.
Something caught his attention, however. A small boy, looking no older than ten, was curled up in an alleyway, back against a dumpster. He was pale, gaunt, and his clothes were a mess. A black cat was sitting at his side, and he was clutching a scrap of blue cloth. Tears were rolling down his face.
Blinking, Ted slowed down and stepped nearer to the child, which caused the cat to leap away and stride off somewhere out of sight. "You alright, kiddo?"
The boy looked up at him, his brown eyes large and wet. "I'm s – sorry..." He held out the cloth, and Ted realized that it was flecked with blood. "I killed them." He dropped it and buried his face in his hands.
"Hey, hey. Don't cry." He tried his best to sound soothing, whilst collecting the piece of fabric and examining it more closely. "Just tell me what happened."
The boy sniffed, lifting his head just slightly. "S – some nice men were taking me somewhere to stay for the night." He bit his lower lip and rubbed at his nose. "Then it started raining, and the car got real fast. Started screeching. And th – then there was a loud noise." The kid looked away, chest heaving with sobs. "And then everything stopped. The c – car, the men, everything. It was m – my fault."
Ted was silent a moment, piecing the tale together in his mind. It didn't take long to figure out what the kid was talking about; a car accident. There had been several of those reported, having occurred during the bad storm that had rolled through the city. "Hey, don't blame yourself. There's nothing you could have done."
The boy seemed to ponder these words. After a little while, he looked up, jet black locks of hair plastered to his forehead. It was then that Ted realized that the kid was literally drenched.
He must have been out the whole night.
"I think I n – need help." The boy finally admitted, propping himself against the dumpster and hefting up to his feet.
"Don't worry, that's what I'm here for." The boy coughed and nearly fell, but Ted caught him and held his hand so as to steady him. The kid seemed to relax, although he had a visible tremble. Probably from the cold.
"But how can you help? Nobody else could." The boy sounded more curious than fearful, although there was a trace of the latter.
"Well, that depends. Do you know where any relatives might live?"
The kid shook his head. "I d – don't got any family, sir."
"Alright, than I'll take you to some people who can help." Ted gave a solacing smile as he lead the boy by his hand toward the police station. Hopefully they weren't all too busy with the recent disaster.
The Flash awoke with a searing headache. He breathed out a groan and pressed the side of his head to one hand, massaging it gingerly. Forcing his eyes to focus, the young hero looked around the room he was currently in.
It was a sizable space. Metallic walls, dyed a soft shade of violet, rose to a high ceiling where a fluorescent light shone down on him. The floor was carpeted with a soft, white material. It felt like a rag rug. There were no windows, and only a single door.
Wally could hear breathing from somewhere behind him. He turned slowly, and caught sight of a man laying on the floor nearby, partially propped against the wall. It didn't take the speedster long to identify him as the Atom. But how did he get there?
Shaking his head, Wally stood up and staggered toward the door. Not surprisingly, it was locked. "Psst... Ray?" Wally turned and moved over to the other man. "You alive?"
Ray stirred, but didn't immediately regain consciousness. Not until Flash had given his shoulder a firm shake, and then he only cracked his eyes open slightly. "Barely." He mumbled blearily. "My head feels like... Flash?" His eyes opened wider, and he sat up.
"At your service." Wally grinned. It was strained, though. "Head's killing you too, huh?"
Ray wasn't paying a great deal of attention. He was scanning the surrounding room, but after while he nodded. "Yeah, and I think..." His hand went to one ear, and he yanked out the JL comm. "That's better."
Wally was slightly surprised that he hadn't thought of that, but quickly did the same. After a few seconds, his headache began to subside. "Huh."
"Where ever we are, something must be messing with these." Ray fingered the communicator. "I guess that's why we couldn't contact you."
"How long was I gone?" Wally still hadn't figured out exactly what had happened to him. The last thing he remembered, there was a explosion and he ran to it, and then nothing. "What happened to the hotel? The people..."
"About a day." Ray looked down, fiddling a little more intently with the comm. "Some of them made it out..." It wasn't a very reassuring thing to say.
Wally seemed to read him rather well. He stood up and pounded a boot against the wall. "Damn it. I should've – should've..."
"Should have what?" Ray shook his head. "It wasn't your fault. You didn't abandon them. You couldn't possibly have known this," he gestured a hand around the room, "would happen."
Flash didn't absorb those words very well. Instead, he angrily spun toward the door. He directed his first into it, slamming as hard as he could. "I don't know who you are, or what sick joke you're trying to play!" Wally yelled out, hoping that somebody was on the other side to hear him. "But you better get in here and show yourself, or we're coming out there!"
"That... wasn't very threatening." Ray pointed out, climbing to his feet.
"Hey, I don't see you coming up with anything."
"I already have." Ray moved over and stood next to Flash. "I'll just go under the door, and open it from the other side." It really was a simple enough plan, perhaps even too simple. Without wasting anymore time, the Atom began to activate his power.
It was only seconds later that his screams would echo throughout the room.
End-Of-Chapter Notes: What have I done? D: And if you think this is bad, things are going to hit the fan next chapter. So stay tuned... or not, up to you.