A companion to my crossover story "Transposed", although you don't need to read that one to understand this one. Straight JLU. Semi inspired by "Legacy of The Bat", by Jarec, which is a good read. It's on my favourites list.
Chapter One: MIA.
"Superman, everyone! Flash is still alive!"
The Martian's words had an instantaneous effect. Superman dropped the naked Luthor, who clutched at his throat, feeling the bruises Superman had given him. The rest of the group just stared at the alien.
"I'm in telepathic contact with him. His spirit is weak, and growing weaker. But he's still here." The stoic J'onn's voice had been tinged with desperation, and he reached blindly around him. The rest of the League began to imitate him, and Shayera suddenly stumbled across the soft point.
A whirling maelstrom of light blue energy appeared in midair, and Shayera plunged her hand into it desperately.
"Shayera?" Wally's voice seemed dazed, unconcerned. "It's so beautiful here." Not unconcerned. In awe. "There's a force. A Speed Force. It's calling me home." He sounded like he was smiling. "I have to go now…"
"NO, WALLY!" Shayera screamed, and reached blindly, grabbing a limp arm by luck more than anything else. "TAKE MY HAND!" His arm remained unresponsive, and she found herself being dragged along with him.
Suddenly a powerful arm grabbed her left wrist, and she was pulled back from oblivion. Green Lantern had taken hold of her.
"I'm here too, Wally!" The ex-marine grunted.
"We're all here!" Superman added, as the remainder of the Seven formed a (mostly) human chain.
"You've gotta come back to us!" John shouted, as they struggled against the vortex.
It was no use. Soon, all of the members began to find themselves losing ground against the wormhole. As Shayera felt her right wing completely enter the tunnel, she felt a hand wrest Wally's wrist from her grip, and she fell back as the hole closed itself.
"No…" Shayera stared at the hole in space where her almost brother had vanished, barely noticing John's arms around her.
A heavy, shocked silence descended upon the street, punctuated by the subdued and slightly disbelieving chuckles issuing from Lex Luthor.
Superman sat in the Watchtower, staring at the view from the window. His quiet was disturbed by Wonder Woman entering. After a little while, he spoke.
"How's everyone holding up?"
She sighed. "Bruce has vanished to his cave, and wouldn't answer when I tried to talk to him. John and Shayera are trying to comfort each other, and J'onn has gone quiet. He's just standing in his room, not moving." She walked over to him, and looked at him. "How are you holding up?"
Superman looked at the ground. "It was my fault."
She scowled. "How did you figure that out?"
"How could it not be? If I had just dismantled that… damned… weapon, if I had beaten Luthor when I had the chance, if I had listened when I was told we were going too far, we wouldn't be here right now, and Wally would be here right now."
"Clark, you mustn't blame yourself. How could you have known this would happen? And remember who it was that fired the cannon."
Instead of answering, he changed subject. "Are we sure he's gone?"
The answer came from the doorway, where Batman stood, along with a man who looked in his fifties, wearing a red shirt and blue trousers. A winged helmet was in his right hand, and he walked over to Superman and extended his left.
"Jay Garrick; the first Flash."
"Superman." They shook hands.
"He has something to explain." Batman said, and Clark couldn't avoid hearing how old his voice suddenly sounded.
"Yes." Jay sighed, and ran his fingers through his grey hair. "Wally hit the Speed Force." The confusion evident on the face of the most powerful man in the world indicated that he should continue. "The Speed Force is, in layman's terms, a ball of kinetic energy that all speedsters tap into for their powers. It also serves as a kind of Valhalla for speedsters. Wally went too fast, until his body couldn't take the energies of the Speed Force any more and he was sucked in. He's gone, and the only way to get to him would be to repeat his feat, which would have the same consequences for anyone that tried it, even if they could. I'm sorry."
"What will you do?"
Superman sat up, and looked at Wonder Woman. "Is everyone back at the Watchtower?"
"Get everyone to the bridge. I'll have to tell them what happened, I suppose. Anything else can wait."
"What do you think they're gonna say?" Supergirl asked Green Arrow as they waited for Superman's arrival, along with the other heroes and the entire maintenance staff.
"Probably just a pat on the back for dealing with this crisis."
"You think? They seemed kinda grim over the intercom. And they've got all the staff here as well. No one's on clean up."
"Well, what do you think it is?"
"I don't know. That's why I asked you."
Their neighbours were spared further bickering by the arrival of the Original Seven. Supergirl blinked, then recounted in her head.
Superman rested his massive hands on the railing, looming down over the crowd below, looking for all the world like a preacher. He breathed deeply, once, and then began to speak.
"I have two things to say, so you're going to have to bear with me here.
"Firstly, I want to congratulate everyone on their performance during this crisis. You all exhibited exemplary behaviour, and I'm proud of you all. Special mention goes to Steel and Supergirl, for their defence of the Watchtower, and to Green Arrow for his coordination of the evacuation."
Those mentioned had the decency to look smug.
He closed his eyes before continuing. "The second thing I have to say concerns the Omega Level alert you were all alerted to earlier today.
"When we moved to apprehend the true culprit behind the crisis, Lex Luthor, we found that he had fused with the supervillain Brainiac. In the following battle, we defeated them, separating the two, and destroying Brainiac, but at a cost."
Another pause, and then he spoke again, the next line obviously rehearsed.
"The Flash defeated the enemy, and destroyed Brainiac, but was killed in action."