Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine.
"Are we almost there, Uncle Hal?"
Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern 2814.1, a man without fear, silently wondered how such a simple assignment could go so wrong. Stop the bad guys. A standard request. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was an almost every day occurrence. Everything had gone just as it was supposed to. They had stopped the bad guys. They had been in the process of finishing up when Murphy's Law had struck. Well, actually, lightning had struck, but it had proven the basis of Murphy's Law – if something could go wrong, it will…and it had. It had big time.
"Will Uncle Barry be back yet?"
Damn. He didn't want to think about Uncle Barry…Barry Allen, aka the Flash, his most likely former best friend. Barry was going to kill him. Then again, what Barry would do to him would probably pale in comparison to what Iris Allen, aka the Flash's wife, and Linda West, aka the other Flash's wife, would do to him. He was screwed. No doubt about it. Worse, he couldn't even offer a logical explanation for what had happened. It defied logic, which actually said something when he thought about all the logic-defying things he had seen over the years. Truth be told, he wasn't quite sure what had happened. He just knew he was in way over his head…and Barry and Iris and Linda were going to kill him.
"Uncle Hal, why aren't you talking to me?" The voice had taken on a slight whine.
He really didn't need this. Forcing a lightness into his voice that he didn't feel, he responded, "I'm thinking, Wally."
"Oh, because you look a little scared. Not that I've ever seen you scared," he quickly added. "And I thought your ring couldn't beat yellow? When did that change?"
Hell, yes, he was scared. It was one thing when he was facing things that he could battle with his ring. Then fear was a non-issue. With a fully charged power ring, there was little he couldn't do. Barry accused him of being overconfident, and at times he probably was, but he always managed to skate through. This time…well, his ring couldn't fix this problem. So, yes, he was scared.
He forced his mind back to Wally's question. Rings and yellow. "Just recently," he answered, again trying to make everything appear and sound like normal when it was anything but normal.
"Oh, well, that's good. What made it change?"
Well, there's this thing called Parallax and I went a little off the deep end for awhile, I died, served as the host for the Spectre, but then somehow I came back to life. Anyway, everything's fine now and I can fight yellow. Isn't life just great? Yeah, right. Like he could say that to Wally. If he opened that Pandora's Box, he may just as well tell Wally that Barry had also died, but he, too, was alive again. Hell, why not also tell him Iris was murdered? Like that wouldn't totally freak out the kid. The kid worshipped the ground Barry and Iris walked on. "I'll tell you later."
"Okay." The pause lasted for barely a second. "Why am I wearing regular clothes? Where's my Kid Flash costume? These clothes are way too big for me. It's like I'm wearing my dad's clothes or something."
Hal forced himself to look at Wally whom had sat down in the green bubble Hal was using to contain – carry – the boy. Wally West, aka the Flash, founding member of the Teen Titans, member of the Justice League, husband, father, and currently about twelve? Thirteen? Worse, Wally didn't seem to realize anything was wrong. Not only had his body readjusted, but his memories seemed to have as well. Yes, the clothes were way too big. They were meant for a full-grown six-foot tall man, not a skinny kid with lanky arms and legs. At least Hal had been quick enough to snag the wedding ring and wallet before Wally had seen them. Two explanations he could avoid, at least for now. "We'll get you some better fitting clothes soon."
"Okay. Did you know that Batman got Robin his own motorcycle? How cool is that? Speedy is so jealous."
Hal tuned out the babble and focused on coming up with a reasonable explanation for Barry. After the "incident," Hal had quickly grabbed Wally and run, with no particular destination in mind. Eventually he had found himself heading in the direction of Central City. It was a logical choice. Once Barry got over his initial shock and anger, Hal hoped his friend would have some ideas on how to fix this. He supposed he could have gone to the Watchtower or the Hall of Justice, but instinct told him to keep this as low-key as possible. Hopefully this could all be resolved quickly with only a few people knowing. Yeah, right. Who was he trying to kid? Besides, there was Murphy's Law to consider.
"Okay, we're here," Hal announced landing in the Allens' backyard.
Wally frowned, looking at the yard and house. "Where's here?"
"Your Uncle Barry's house."
The boy shook his head. "No, it's not. This isn't his house. Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris live by the park."
Damn. He hadn't thought this completely through. Wally remembered where Barry used to live, not where he currently lived. Time to improvise. "They moved."
Wally frowned and looked at him suspiciously. "When? Aunt Iris didn't tell me anything and she would have."
Wally continued to frown. "You're playing some sort of trick on me and it's not even April Fool's."
Hal ignored the boy and walked to the backdoor. Murphy's Law continued. Bart Allen, aka Kid Flash, opened the door…wearing the Kid Flash costume with the mask pulled back. "Hi, Hal, what's going-"
"Hey!" Wally zoomed to stand in front of Bart. "Why are you wearing the Kid Flash costume! I'm Kid Flash!" Wally placed his hands on his hips and glared at Bart.
"-on?" Bart stared in surprise. "Wally?"
"It's a long story," Hal replied quickly, pushing Wally into the house and shutting the door.
Wally looked at Hal. "Uncle Hal, who is this? Why is he wearing my costume?" Before Hal could try to come up with a reasonable sounding explanation, Wally paled and reached his own conclusion. "Oh…I get it. Uncle Barry realized I just wasn't cutting it, so he and Aunt Iris moved and he got a new Kid Flash and I'm just a loser."
"Wally, what in the hell are you talking about?" Hal demanded, his patience nearing its end as his frustration grew.
Hal's sharp tone had no noticeable effect on Wally. "You're lucky Uncle Barry or Aunt Iris didn't hear you."
A smile tugged at Bart's mouth. At least someone was finding this situation amusing, Hal thought sourly. "Why?" asked Bart.
"Because he just said the h-word and they really, really don't like that. Even though it's nothing compared to saying the f-word. Uncle Barry said if he ever heard me using the f-word, I'd regret it, and I'm not even supposed to use words that replace the f-word like frickin' or freakin' because Uncle Barry says that they mean the same thing." Wally looked at Bart, a crestfallen look on his face. "So, I guess I was fired. You're the new Kid Flash? What did you do to the costume? It looks a little different. I like it. So, who are you? I mean you already know Uncle Barry is the Flash and Uncle Hal here is the Green Lantern. Or are you going to be all secret identity on me? It took forever for Robin to finally tell me his name. Do you know Robin? You probably do. I mean, you are Kid Flash and all. That means you're part of the Teen Titans and everything." With a dejected slouch to his shoulders, Wally left the kitchen.
Hal felt a growing headache. He didn't feel like following Wally. It was Barry and Iris' house. How much trouble could the kid get into? Okay, that was probably a bad question to ask, but at the moment, he just didn't care. He wanted to push this nightmare – responsibility – onto someone else's shoulders. He pulled out a chair at the kitchen table, sat down and cradled his head in his hands. He needed a beer. Correction. He needed a lot of beers.
Bart glanced at the empty doorway a few more seconds before sitting down. "What happened? He's what, thirteen?"
"I haven't had the nerve to ask." Taking a deep breath, he looked at Bart. "We had just finished when this bolt of lightning hit Wally, and, well, you can see the results."
"So, who did it?"
"I don't know. That's the strange part. There was no storm. I didn't see anybody or hear anything. There were no other flashes of lightning. Just the one aimed directly at Wally. Once I saw what happened, I grabbed him and ran."
"So, he thinks he's Kid Flash?"
Hal nodded. "Whatever messed with his age also seems to have messed with his memories. Whatever age he is, that's where his memories are, too. The Robin he mentioned is Dick, not Tim, not Damian. He's also talked about Speedy. Roy, not Mia. He obviously has no clue as to who you are. He didn't recognize this house."
That summed it up perfectly. Oh. Hal shook himself to attention. He looked at Bart. If Bart was wearing the Kid Flash costume, hopefully that meant Barry was around. "What's up? You and Barry going somewhere or already gone?"
"Already gone. Trickster was doing some stupid stuff downtown. We stopped it. Grandpa said to come to his house, but he had to do one quick thing at the station first. Rather than wait, I came here."
"Good choice." With Barry, "one quick thing" guaranteed at least a twenty minute wait, if not longer. The concept of Barry being a grandpa still freaked Hal out. It seemed strange. Neither of them was old enough to be a grandparent. Besides, being a grandpa was usually attached with an entire slew of other commitments and responsibilities, things Hal definitely did not want to think about.
"Uncle Hal, do you know who this is?" asked Wally, walking back into the kitchen. Hal forced himself to look at the object in Wally's hands. A picture frame. It couldn't be…it was. A picture of the West family – Wally, Linda, Jai and Irey. Murphy's Law 3, Hal Jordan 0. Damn, he should have followed Wally. "The guy looks sort of familiar, a bit like my dad, but not really, ya know? It's definitely a West because otherwise why would the picture be here? I mean, Aunt Iris wouldn't have pictures of my mom's side. And there really isn't anyone on Uncle Barry's side of the family. But I don't remember Aunt Iris having this picture before. And those kids look to be about my age and I'm sure she would have said something. I mean they're probably like my cousins or something."
Before Hal had to try to come up with yet another reasonable explanation, the kitchen door opened. Barry had returned. Hal breathed a sigh of relief. "Hal!" he greeted in surprise. "What brings you he-"
"-re." Hal caught Barry's look of surprise as the red-haired boy wrapped his arms around Barry's waist. Hal subtly shook his head to delay the obvious questions. "Wally?"
"I'm sorry, Uncle Barry. I just…well, I don't know what I need to exactly apologize for, but it must have been bad, really bad, if you moved and made someone else Kid Flash, and I'm sorry, because I really, really, really liked being Kid Flash, it was so cool, and I got to hang out with you, and we stopped bad guys, and I'm just really, really sorry, I'll do whatever you say, just please let me be Kid Flash again, I'll try to be more patient and listen better, and-"
"Wally," Hal noted, "Barry can't answer you if you don't give him a chance to."
Wally smiled self-consciously and took a step backwards. "Sorry."
"That's okay…Wally." Barry glanced at Hal for help.
"Wally, maybe you could sit outside for a couple minutes," Hal suggested. "Barry and I need to talk."
"If he stays, I stay," Wally replied, pointing at Bart.
Bart sighed. "Fine. I'll wait with him. Come on, Wally."
"Oh, Uncle Barry, who are these people?" Wally asked, holding out the photograph. "The guy sort of looks familiar."
Barry paled. "I…um…uh…"
"Wally, Barry will tell you later. Right now, I really need to talk to him."
"Yeah, I know, grown-up stuff." Wally looked at Bart. "You better get used to it. They do this stuff all the time."
When the boys had left, Hal looked more closely at his friend. Barry was clearly rattled. "It is Wally. It's just…complicated."
"How old is he?"
Hal shrugged. "Bart guessed thirteen. I haven't had the nerve to ask him."
"Whatever age he is, is where his memories are at. He was amazed my ring could handle yellow. He doesn't recognize Bart. He didn't recognize this address or house. And he doesn't recognize anyone in that photograph."
Barry glanced at the picture of the West family. Hal watched as the full ramifications of his words hit Barry. "Oh, god." Barry looked at the picture a bit longer, before turning back to Hal, anger on his face. "What the hell did you do?"
"Uncle Barry!" Wally scolded from outside, quickly followed by a "Ssh!" from Bart.
Hal smiled in spite of himself, noticing the open window over the sink and shutting it. "Wally explained to Bart and me how you and Iris are very much against him using the h-word and that hell is all-but guaranteed to occur if he uses the f-word. Can't even say 'frick' or 'freak'," Hal added.
The comment caused Barry to smile softly. He set the picture frame on the table. Taking a deep breath, he met Hal's gaze. "So, what happened?"
"I don't know. There was a slight disturbance in Vancouver. We were called to handle it. Nothing spectacular. No big deal. We were getting ready to leave when there was a flash of light. It hit Wally, and, well, you can see what happened. I was so surprised I just grabbed the kid and got the…got out of there." Hal handed Barry Wally's wallet and wedding ring. "You can put these somewhere safe for the time-being. He didn't see them."
A silence fell between them. Barry continued to stare at the photograph, while his fingers played with Wally's wedding ring. "This must be magic," Barry finally said. "It's the only halfway reasonable explanation. We should probably contact Zatanna. Hopefully she'll know what to do."
Hal felt he needed to broach one more subject before they left. "What about Linda and Iris?"
"I don't know. I…for now, let's take him to the Hall of Justice and-"
Hal shook his head. "No Hall of Justice."
"Because it's new. It wasn't around when he was Kid Flash. If he goes anywhere, it needs to be the Watchtower."
"Fine. Let's-"An idea hit Hal. He grabbed Barry's arm. "What now?" Barry asked.
"Do you still have one of his old Kid Flash costumes? Preferably with the ring? It will give him a bit more security, and maybe prove to him that he hasn't been replaced by Bart."
Barry sighed. "Iris may have something packed away in the attic."
Once Barry returned, Kid Flash ring in hand, they went outside. Wally was quizzing Bart on his qualifications for being Kid Flash. Hal and Barry smiled, especially since Bart was clearly becoming exasperated. "Wally, put this on," Barry said tossing a ring to Wally.
Hal smiled as Wally's eyes lit up. "Really, Uncle Barry? I'm still Kid Flash?"
"Well, there's no law that says I can't have-"
Hal slapped his hand over Barry's mouth. He knew exactly what Barry was about to say and he didn't want to face two irate Kid Flashes. "Of course, Wally. Get changed and then we need to go to the Watchtower."
"Really? Cool. I love going there. Do you think Robin or Speedy will be there?"
I hope not, thought Hal. "Wally, just go get changed, okay?"
Wally grinned. "Sure thing, Uncle Hal."
When Wally had left, Barry glanced at Bart. "Bart, do you-"
"Two Kid Flashes?" Bart asked. "I thought this was temporary."
Well, one irate Kid Flash was better than two. At least Bart's displeasure was directed at Barry. "It should be," Hal answered.
"It is," Barry reassured. Hal wondered how Barry could be so certain. Even if magic was the cause, they still had to find the right spell or whatnot to reverse what had been done. "Do you have any idea as to what may have happened?"
Bart's gaze moved between the two men. Then he sighed. "Not really. You didn't happen to see a kid with a cat?"
Bart shrugged. "That's the only one I could think it. The kid is Klarion the Witch Boy. He messed with ages before. Turned Young Justice into adults and the League into kids…including Wally. But that time, they kept their memories, only their ages changed. Linda wasn't too happy because it was during their honeymoon."
Young Justice. He had heard some of the stories. Hal didn't know if he should be glad or sad that he missed that little part of history. Probably glad. He had also missed the entire Impulse saga, or at least the Bart Impulse saga. Based on Wally's stories, that was most definitely a good thing. Hopefully Irey's years as Impulse would be a bit saner. If not, at least this time, Wally would only have himself to blame. Unless Wally found a way to foist her off to Max Mercury, but Hal highly doubted Linda would let her husband do that. "Thanks, Bart. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, not a word to anyone."
Bart nodded. "Who would believe me anyway?"
Wally reappeared wearing a huge smile and the Kid Flash costume. "Ready to go," he announced. "Uncle Barry, do you think we could redo the costume to look more like that other Kid Flash's co-" Minutes later they arrived on the Watchtower. Any changes on the Watchtower could be easily explained. Wally, at least when he was Kid Flash, had spent little time on the moon and the Watchtower was constantly being updated. "Wow," Wally whispered. Hal and Barry smiled at the awe in the kid's voice. The awe made them appreciate the true magnificence of the Watchtower. At times it was easy to forget how truly unique it was.
Hal looked up to see Dick Grayson, aka the Batman…or Batman II, or Batman Lite as Wally laughingly referred to his friend, approaching. Hal sighed. Obviously he had done something to royally piss off Murphy because Murphy's Law continued to make everything more complicated than it needed to be. First running to Kid Flash II, now Batman II. What little hope he had felt at seeing Barry was quickly fading as he saw the look of recognition and bewilderment on Dick's face. Hal again felt the beginnings of a headache.
"GL, Flash, Kid…" Dick Grayson stared at Kid Flash. It wasn't Bart. The hair color – red instead of brown, the eyes – green instead of gold. But the stature was all wrong for it to be Irey, never mind the fact it was plainly obvious the Kid Flash was a boy and not a girl. That only left… No, it couldn't be. Okay, maybe Croc had given him a concussion, because this had to be a hallucination. His eyes had to be deceiving him.
Kid Flash tugged on Barry's arm. "Batman looks different," he whispered, loud enough for all to hear. "He looks shorter."
"New boots," Dick quickly answered. The voice. He recognized that voice. It was a blast from the past. His eyes weren't deceiving him. He needed to stop staring, but he just couldn't. What the hell had happened? The Kid Flash – the boy – standing in front of him was his best friend Wally. What the hell?
"Oh," Wally said, seemingly satisfied by the answer.
"We need to talk to Zatanna," Barry stated, keeping a hand on Wally's shoulder.
Okay. Magic. That made sense. How else could Wally, a man his own age, suddenly look…twelve? Thirteen? Dick was so focused on Wally that he didn't see Damian Wayne, aka Robin, appear. Wally did.
"Dick?" Wally asked the boy. Dick heard the hesitation in Wally's voice. He imagined his friend was expecting a Robin wearing short pants, pixie boots, a short yellow cape and a sunny attitude. Damian wore long pants, boots, a hooded gray cape and a decidedly sour attitude.
"Tt. You must be stupid if you think I'm Grayson when he's standing-" Dick clapped his hand over Damian's mouth. It was too late.
Wally paled. His green eyes moved between Batman and Robin. When he spoke, fear could be heard in his voice. "Uncle Barry, what's going on? Why…why is…you live in a different house, Hal's ring can fight yellow, there's a new Kid Flash, my clothes don't fit, and that's not the Batman or Robin I know."
Barry looked defeated, worried and a bit scared. He also looked completely out of his element. Hal didn't look much better. Dick realized he needed to take control of the situation. He stepped forward, pulling back his cowl. "Wally?"
Wally stared at him, taking in everything. "Dick?" he asked tentatively.
Dick forced a smile he didn't quite feel. He made his voice sound light-hearted. "That's Short Pants or Robbie to you."
Wally smiled weakly. "What's…what happened?"
"I don't know, but we're going to figure it out, okay? Right, Fleetfeet?"
Wally's smile grew a bit stronger. "Right, Batbreath."
The use of the nicknames seemed to calm Wally a bit. It did the same for Dick. It proved his friend was in front of him. The boy he had grown up with was still there…just a lot younger. He looked at Barry and Hal. They seemed to have relaxed slightly. They had a lot of explaining to do. "I'm sure that Flash and GL can spread a little more light on the situation. Let's go to the conference room." Dick glanced at Damian. Things were about to get decidedly bad. "You go back to Gotham."
"Now," Dick repeated, a bit more steel in his voice.
"Fine," Damian spat. Everyone watched Damian storm off. Dick didn't want to think about the payback Damian would give him. Whatever it was, his life was bound to be hell for at least a week. Maybe he could find a way to pawn the kid off on Bruce for a week.
Once the door to the conference room hissed shut, Dick glanced at Hal and Barry, even though his gaze constantly returned to Wally. Wally looked around the room in wonderment. What had happened? Who had done this? The questions tumbled in his mind, demanding to be answered. But he forced himself to take things slow. Tapping his commlink, he contacted Zatanna and asked her to report to the Watchtower. With that task done, the questions could begin. "So, what's going on?" He listened as Hal repeated the story of a flash of lightning hitting Wally. Hal was purposefully vague. Dick realized neither Barry nor Hal had told Wally the full extent of what had happened. Now, they could no longer deny the truth. "Wally, what do you remember?"
Another mental flashback. Wally had never been the quickest on the uptake on when they were younger. There were still times when Wally was still one of the last ones to catch on. Thankfully, that "slowness" never extended to fights. Instead, it was just the everyday sort of things, which had provided much fodder for Roy over the years. Thinking about it, Barry and Bart were very much the same way. "Today. Since seeing Hal."
The boy, seated in the Flash's chair, shrugged, a frown creasing his forehead. "Just seeing Uncle Hal, him carrying me away and my clothes being way too big." Wally hadn't called Hal "Uncle Hal" in years…since before Barry died. Thank God for small favors that this had happened when both Barry and Hal were alive again. A worried look appeared on his face. "What's wrong? Something's wrong with me, right? I mean…" He looked at Dick. "You're old. We're the same age. My birthday's in January. Yours is in March. Why ain't I old, too? And why aren't you Robin? Why are you Batman? And there's a different Kid Flash. And Uncle Barry lives in a different house. And Uncle Hal can fight yellow. Am I on some sort of alternate Earth?"
"No, you're right where you're supposed to be." Dick wished he could answer all of the other questions just as easily. He heard the fear in Wally's voice. "You…I don't know what happened, but we'll figure it out. How old are you?" Not that it really mattered, but it would give them a bit more perspective of Wally's viewpoint of the world, a framework to work from.
"Thirteen. How old are you?"
Dick smiled. "Old enough to know it's not polite to ask that question." Wally rolled his eyes. Dick's smile broadened. Thirteen gave them a starting point. Dick searched his mind for anything significant that had happened when Wally was thirteen, for some sort of reason as to why his best friend was thirteen again. He had been Kid Flash for a couple years. He was a member of the Teen Titans. Nothing extraordinary stood out.
But there had to be an explanation, reasonable or otherwise, as to why his best friend was suddenly thirteen again. Dick looked at Hal. "Does your ring record everything?"
Hal nodded and ordered his ring to show his and Wally's fight. Wally appeared fascinated by the sight of an older Flash that wasn't his uncle. "That's me?" he asked awe. Dick shushed him so he could concentrate. The ring continued, relaying the sudden flash of light, the transformation of Wally from a twenty-something man to the boy before them.
Dick remained silent. He had hoped to see something – anything – and there was nothing. He doubted even Bruce would be able to identify any clues. A brilliant flash of light. A bolt of lightning. But from what? Who? There hadn't been any storms in the area. They hadn't been fighting a magician. They hadn't been fighting anyone with advanced technology, only brute force. Besides, the fight had been over. Hal and Wally had won.
The door hissed open and closed. Zatanna Zatarra had arrived. Watching Wally, Dick was reminded of what it was like to be young again. His friend stared at Zatanna. Thinking back, Dick recalled how much Zee's costume had changed. When they had been in the Teen Titans, Zee had worn a costume that covered most of her body. Now, it was fishnets and a tuxedo that left little to the imagination.
Wally flushed. "When did Zatanna start…um…wearing that?" he whispered to Dick.
"Cool it," Dick whispered back, easily recalling what it was like to be around women heroes who provided a lot of input for overactive teenage boys' imaginations and hormone driven bodies. Yes, those had been the days. Hal smiled, obviously picking up on Wally's discomfort and embarrassment. Barry only shook his head.
"Batman, I got here as fast as I could. What's the prob-" Her eyes found Wally and widened in surprise. "Oh."
"You remember Kid Flash, right?" Hal stated.
Zatanna smiled at Wally. Wally managed to turn an ever darker shade of red. "Hi, Kid Flash. It's good to see you again."
Barry cleared his throat. "Can you tell if magic did this?"
"Yes, it's magic. I don't need a spell to tell me that."
"So, can you change him back?"
Dick sensed everyone holding their breath as Zatanna walked over to Wally, stood behind him and placed her hand on his head. "Nruter yllaW ot sih reporp ega!" Nothing happened. "Egnahc kcab ot sih lufthgir ega!" Again nothing. Zatanna tried other combinations. Nothing worked. With each failure came a growing sense of foreboding. There wasn't going to be a quick and easy fix. "I'll have to consult my texts. It is magic, but it's very strong. May I also consult with other mystics? Perhaps Dr. Fate?"
"See what you can come up with first. We'd like to keep this low-key if possible."
"I can assure you that Dr. Fate won't tell anyone."
"I know. It's just that…" Barry glanced at his nephew. "I…just try it on your own first."
Zatanna nodded. "I understand. I'll contact you as soon as possible."
As the door shut behind her, Dick put his arm around Wally. He could see Wally was fighting back the tears. The quick fix had failed. His friend seemed to finally understand the implications of whatever had happened. "Hey, it's going to be okay. We'll figure this out."
Barry stepped forward and knelt in front of his nephew. "Wally, we'll fix this. Trust me."
"And if you can't?"
"But if you can't," Wally insisted.
"Have I ever lied to you?"
"And I'm not lying now. We'll fix this." Wally threw his arms around his uncle's neck. Dick remembered how envious he had been of Wally and Barry's relationship. Barry had been supportive, warm, quick to compliment. Then there was Bruce. Bruce and Barry represented the polar extremes on mentor-mentee relationships.
Wally took a shaky breath and tried to look brave. "So, how long was I the Flash?" The question heightened the tension in the room. Dick watched as Barry and Hal exchanged uneasy glances. He didn't feel like bailing the men out of the situation. "What?" Wally looked confused.
"Nothing," Barry said with a smile. "You've been the Flash for many years. You've made me very proud. You still do."
Wally grinned. The answer satisfied him. "So, Kid Flash became the Flash and Robin became the Batman?"
"Um, something like that," Dick answered. Okay, they needed to change this path of questions. Thankfully, Wally did it on his own.
"At least this Robin got rid of the pixie boots and short pants." Wally's grin widened.
"I was eight," Dick fired back, the old banter easily coming back. He would never live down that fashion choice.
"Yeah, but you were still wearing them five years later."
And a few more years after that, Dick thought. "Says the boy who swears sugar is one of the major food groups."
"Boys," Barry said sharply. "Let's try to focus here." Wally looked down at the table in embarrassment. Dick looked sheepishly at Barry.
Taking a deep breath, Wally looked at his uncle. "So, is that why you have a new Kid Flash? I mean you trained me and when I got old enough, it was time to train someone else. Sort of like Dick is training a new Robin?"
"Wally, it's a bit more complicated than that," Barry replied. A lot more complicated than that, Dick thought. Damian hadn't exactly been a choice. Then again, Wally becoming the Flash hadn't exactly been a choice either.
"Why? What's so complicated about it?"
The hesitancy of both Barry and Hal was almost palatable. Dick realized the men were trying to protect Wally. Dick clearly remembered what it felt like to be on that side of the table – when the adults wanted to protect the young ones from things they thought they shouldn't know. He had hated being excluded from decisions that had affected his life. He remembered the Teen Titans venting about their mentors whenever this sort of situation had arisen. Now, he was going to have to do the same thing to Wally, at least at first. Wally wasn't going to be happy. "Wally, why don't you wait outside for a minute. I need to discuss something with your Uncle Barry and Hal."
Wally looked at him in surprise, then sighed heavily. "I never thought you'd use that phrase. You know how much we hate it when they do that to us."
"I know, but I also understand a bit more that there are some things we just aren't meant to know. As bad as it sounds, sometimes it is for our own good. Besides, I don't think your two uncles will really talk to me unless you're not in the room."
Wally rolled his eyes and gave a massive put-upon sigh. However, he left the room without argument. Why couldn't Damian do that? With Wally gone, Dick faced the two older men. "How much are you going to tell him?"
"As little as possible," Barry admitted.
Dick frowned. That also meant they were going to try to keep as few of people as possible knowing what had happened. "You need to tell Linda. She's going to start asking questions when he doesn't come home."
Barry sat down at the table. "I know."
"And you also need to tell Wally." His comment was meant with silence. "He needs to know."
"Why?" asked Hal. "He's already worried about Barry getting a new Kid Flash, having a different house. He doesn't need more to worry about."
"And what if this takes time to fix? You can't protect him forever. Besides, he seems to be accepting me okay. He's seen Bart. He's seen himself as the Flash. You don't need to tell him every detail. You don't need to tell him both of you died. I don't plan on explaining the entire Robin/Nightwing saga. But there are some basic facts he needs to know."
"And how is knowing that he has a wife and two kids going to help?" Hal asked.
"It will show him everything works out, that the future is okay. He's thirteen. He's going to roll with this a lot easier than we are." Barry and Hal remained silent. "Look, I want to protect him as much as you do, but we have to remember, he's not a normal teenager. He's Kid Flash. And even though he can act extremely immature at times – and he still does – underneath it, all of us know that he's proven himself over and over again. If he hadn't, he wouldn't have remained Kid Flash. He wouldn't have become the Flash. He wouldn't have stayed a Titan or become a member of the League."
Eventually Hal spoke. "Bart mentioned someone called Klarion?"
Dick nodded. He hadn't thought of Klarion, but it made sense. The boy had caused havoc in the past. "Klarion the Witch Boy. Did you see a boy with a cat?"
Hal shook his head. "No. And what's with this cat?"
"The cat is his familiar. Klarion can do magic. Both of you missed the chaos he caused a couple years ago when he turned the League into kids about Wally's age and Young Justice into the adults. And if you're worried about how Linda will react, that incident occurred during their honeymoon. However, at least at that time, their memories didn't regress with their ages. Wally still knew Linda." Dick paused. "She needs to know. She can handle this."
"I'm more worried about the kids," Barry said. "He's just a few years old than Jai and Irey."
"Let's let Wally decide what he wants to do," Dick suggested.
Hal and Barry stared at him in disbelief. "He's a kid. He's thirteen," Hal stated.
"He's a thirteen-year-old kid who's a husband and a father," Dick clarified. "Look, I know this Wally. His personality hasn't changed, just his age and memories. He can handle this. Trust me." Barry reluctantly nodded his head. Dick opened the door to welcome Wally back into the conference room. Seeing the redhead holding a can of soda and a bag of chips didn't surprise him.
"When did you guys move the kitchen?" Wally placed his goodies on the table. "So, what's so complicated?" he asked, picking up the conversation where it had ended. "I got de-aged or whatever. You'll fix it. Life goes on."
With a sigh, Barry placed a wallet and wedding ring on the conference table. Wally munched on some chips and looked at the objects, obviously not understanding. "So?"
"Fleetfeet, think about it for a second. You think I'm old. We're the same age."
"Those are yours."
Wally frowned and stared at the two objects. After the briefest hesitation, he reached for the ring. He paled. "Is this what I…?"
"I was the best man," Dick stated.
"Oh, man…" Dick imagined he could hear the gears in Wally's head spinning as his friend put the pieces together. Wally, though, surprised him. "So, that means I'm not…that I've…" He glanced quickly at Hal and Barry before whispering in Dick's ear.
Dick burst out laughing as he listened to Wally. Okay, he shouldn't have been surprised. This was Wally. A quick look at Hal revealed a smile on the man's face. Hal obviously knew where Wally's train of thought had been headed. The same could not be said for Barry. Poor Barry looked confused. Dick reached for the wallet and flipped it open. "I say you've mastered that. You have two kids." Barry finally caught on and blushed.
"I do?" Wally picked up the wallet and stared at the photo. He looked at Barry. "So, the picture I found at your house was of me and my family?"
Wally turned his attention back to the photo, a slight frown creasing his forehead. "How old are they?"
Wally's frown deepened. "How is that…"
"They inherited your speed. It goofed up their metabolism. They grew really fast. In reality, they're almost three."
The answer seemed to satisfy Wally. "What are their names?"
"Jai and Irey, short for Iris," Dick answered. Had he realized where Wally would take the conversation, he may have told his friend it wasn't important. But he hadn't realized how Wally would start connecting all the pieces.
Wally's frown returned. He looked at Barry. "If the girl is named after Iris, why isn't the boy named after you?"
"Because someone else already is."
When Barry didn't show any sign of answering, Hal did. "Kid Flash. He goes by Bart."
A sad look appeared on Wally's face. "So, he's your son. Guess that explains why he's Kid Flash." At first, Wally's sadness threw Dick. Why would it matter? Then he recalled how Wally viewed Barry and Iris as his parents. How many times had Wally wished that were the case?
"Wally, he's not my son."
"Oh?" Wally visibly brightened hearing the answer. "Then what is he? Another nephew?"
After a brief pause, Barry continued. "He's my grandson."
"What?" Wally stared at Barry dumbfounded.
"Wal, maybe we should focus on your family rather than Barry's for the moment." Dick doubted any of them felt like trying to explain the Allen side of the family. "You have two kids. Twins. You also have a wife. Her name is Linda," Dick said.
Wally stopped staring at his uncle and focused back on the picture. "She's pretty."
"Yes, she is."
"She's gonna freak out."
"No, she won't. Since she met you, she's seen a lot of weird things. This is just another one to add to the list."
Wally studied the picture a bit more and then took a deep breath. "Okay, let's go meet my wife."
Irey West, aka Impulse, peeked into the living room. Uncle Barry, Uncle Dick and Uncle Hal were all talking to her mom. Everyone wore a serious expression on their face. Wonder what dad did, she thought. Whatever it was, it must be bad if it took three of them to tell her mom. She was about to step into the room when Damian grabbed her arm and pulled her back into the kitchen. "Hey!" she whispered sharply.
"Don't go in there," he hissed.
Irey frowned. The boy could be so exasperating at times. Today he had shown up completely unannounced. That was simply not Damian. The boy lived by routine and rules. Showing up unannounced was just not done. Worse, he refused to give her a truthful answer. He only admitted that he had been on the Watchtower with Dick and Dick had ordered him to leave. Okay, he hadn't said "Dick," he had said "Grayson." Typical Damian.
Anyway, Irey could tell that was only part of the story. Surprisingly, her mom hadn't sent him home. Irey knew neither of her parents was ever thrilled when Damian came to visit. Damian was…unique. He was uptight, rude and obnoxious. He tested everyone's patience. But when he let his guard down, which Irey had to admit wasn't that often, he could be fun.
In the hero world, she and Damian were the only ten-year-olds. She had decided they should be friends. Besides, it was tradition. Her dad and Uncle Dick. Bart and Tim. In her mind, she and Damian were fated to be friends. While Damian didn't outwardly support the notion of friendship and he was rude to her, he had never told her to get lost. To Irey, that simply proved that he needed a friend. Besides, he just didn't know how to act. She would teach him, no matter how thankless of a job that might be.
Her mind reviewed the facts. Damian showing up unexpectedly. Uncle Dick in her living room. Damian refusing to tell her the real story of what had happened on the Watchtower. Maybe this wasn't about her dad. "What did you do?"
He rolled his eyes. "Tt. Nothing."
"Then why is Uncle Dick here?"
"Grayson is not your uncle."
Irey recognized Damian's tactic. He was going to try to divert her attention from the real facts. That meant Damian knew what was going on. "What's going on?" she hissed. Unfortunately with Damian, anger, irritation – any negative emotions – didn't faze him. If anything, they seemed to make him stronger. Show him any positive emotion and the boy all-but became undone. Unfortunately, the current situation did not call for a hug, even though a hug would completely unglue the boy. "Damian, what do you know?"
He shrugged. "So?"
Oh, he was so irritating! "Tell me!" Damian remained silent. "Why are they he-" Irey trailed off as a boy wearing the Kid Flash costume – a boy who was definitely not Bart – walked into the kitchen. The boy stopped when he saw Irey and Damian. The boy had bright red hair. Something about the costume looked different, but she couldn't quite figure out what. Irey stared. So, too, did the boy.
Damian kicked into action. "West, let's go," he growled, grabbing Irey's arm and attempting to drag her out of the kitchen.
Irey ignored the fact he called her "West," even though she absolutely hated it when he did that. One of her goals was to get Damian to stop calling people by their last names. Right now, that didn't seem too important. Irey pulled her arm loose and continued to stare. The boy looked so familiar. Kid Flash costume, red hair, green eyes… Everything clicked. She visibly paled. What had she done? This wasn't supposed to have happened! This wasn't…wasn't what she had meant! It was only a… With tears in her eyes, she ran from the kitchen.
"Irey!" Damian shouted.
She was oblivious to the fact that Damian had actually called her "Irey." A first. He hated nicknames almost as much as he hated using first names. She almost made it to the stairs. Not surprisingly, it was her Uncle Barry that stopped her. "Hey there, Irey, what's wrong?" he asked gently.
Through her tears, Irey saw all the adults staring at her. Damian and the boy had followed her from the kitchen. Seeing the boy again…it was too much. "It's all my fault," she sobbed.
"What's all your fault?"
"What happened to…to…him," she said, pointing at her…no, don't think it.
Her mom knelt beside her. "Irey, it's not your fault. Barry, Hal and Dick aren't quite sure what happened, but it's not your-"
"But it is!" she wailed. This wasn't supposed to have happened.
"Why do you say that?" her mom asked.
"Because I…I wished that I knew him when he was Kid Flash and now he's Kid Flash!" Irey barely noticed that she had stunned the adults into silence. Looking at Damian, she suddenly realized why he was at her house. Damian had only said that Uncle Dick had kicked him off the Watchtower and he didn't feel like going home. But Damian must have seen…why else would Uncle Dick have sent him home? Why else would Damian have arrived unannounced? "You knew!" she yelled, pointing at Damian. "Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you tell me?" Damian cringed slightly at the outburst, but he remained silent.
"Sweetheart, why don't you sit down and tell us what happened," Barry suggested, gently guiding her toward the sofa. Instead of fighting it, Irey nodded and sat next to her mom. She felt everyone staring at her. "Tell us what happened," Barry repeated.
Irey sniffled and wiped away her tears. "I was at Uncle Jay's house and we were looking at old pictures and one showed dad and Uncle Dick and Uncle Roy and Aunt Donna when they were teenagers and I said I wished I had known dad when he was Kid Flash."
"Irey, we all wish for things every day," Dick stated. "I wish Damian would listen to me once. But just because we make a wish doesn't mean it happens. You didn't-"
"But I did!" she insisted, feeling the tears starting to form again.
"Irey, Dick is right," Linda began. "We all constantly wish for things. I constantly wish you and your brother wouldn't fight or that you would clean up your rooms or that you would do your chores without being reminded, but-"
"But this is different," she insisted. Why didn't they believe her? Why couldn't they understand?
"Why is this different?"
"Because J.J. told me the Thunderbolt can grant wishes." Once again, Irey failed to notice the sudden increased interest from the adults.
"Jakeem was at Jay's house?" Barry asked.
Irey nodded, not hearing the urgency in his voice. "But I didn't ask for this. Honest. I told him I wished I did well on my math test. But before I said it, I…I wished in my mind to know dad when he was Kid Flash, but I knew it wasn't possible. I didn't want this to happen. It was just a dream. I didn't mean for this to happen." New tears coursed down her cheeks.
Linda put her arm around her daughter's shoulders. "Irey, it wasn't your fault. If anything, you may have just told us how to change your dad back. They knew it was magic, but they didn't know who did it. Now they do." Linda hugged her.
Irey wasn't sure if she should be happy, sad, worried, relieved… All the adults had smiles on their faces. Barry was talking to someone on the telephone. Irey assumed it was Jay.
"You're what?" Heads turned to look in the direction of the kitchen where Wally and Damian stood. Wally was staring at Damian in complete bewilderment.
Irey felt a tap on her arm. She looked up to see Dick kneeling in front of her. "If you want a chance to talk to your dad when he was a teenager, now is probably the time. Hopefully he'll be changed back to his right age soon."
Nerves took over. The thought of talking to him, especially since she was probably the cause of what happened, it was too much. "I don't know what I'd say…"
Dick smiled. "You know, when I first saw him at the Watchtower, I freaked out a bit, too. Then after talking to him, I realized he's still the same person, just younger and with a little different view of things. Maybe I have it easier because I remember when we were both that age. I know almost exactly what he's going to do and say." Dick glanced at Wally and Damian. "See, right now, I'm guessing Damian told Wally that he's Bruce's son. Back when we were that age, I was only Bruce's ward, not an adopted son, not a foster son, something in between. I'm guessing that very soon Wally's going to march over here and say something about Bruce."
Together they watched as Damian said something to Wally. Wally stared dumbfounded at Damian and then marched over to the sofa. "Robbie, that kid is…is…what was Bruce thinking? How could he make him a Robin? He's…he's…" Wally fell dramatically onto the sofa.
"Told you," Dick whispered. Irey giggled. "Wal, Bruce didn't make Damian a Robin. I did."
Wally cocked an eyebrow. "What were you thinking?"
"That he's my little brother."
Wally sat up straight. "What? You mean Bruce finally…wow. That's great."
"Yeah, it is." Dick turned to Irey. "So, was there anything specific you wanted to ask him?"
Irey felt at a loss for words as attention shifted to her. This was her…dad. There, she had admitted it. Finding her courage, she asked, "What's it like?"
"You mean being Kid Flash?" Irey nodded. Wally leaned back against the sofa as he pondered the question a bit. A wistful smile appeared on his face. "It's…it's like I won the lottery or something. It's like you have this ultimate dream that you know will never really happen, just something you wish for, and then – bam! – it happens. I always wanted to meet the Flash. He was always my favorite superhero hero. There was just something about him." Wally shrugged. "Then I came to visit my Aunt Iris once and…" Irey listened in rapt attention as her dad described when he had first met the Flash, how he had gotten his powers. It was a story he had told her and Jai many, many times. This time, though, was different. This time she heard the true awe and amazement in her dad's voice. She finally realized how much he had viewed being Kid Flash as an honor, something special. She had been born with her powers. She had always known someday she would be a hero. It was a given. It hadn't been a given for her dad. Listening to him, she gained a new level of respect for her dad…and the other original Teen Titans. Had it not been for them, well, she probably wouldn't have the opportunity to be Impulse.
"Then I got the speed. I had only ever wanted to meet the Flash and now I was his partner. And when I thought things couldn't get any better, the Flash turned out to be my uncle. How cool is that?" A contented smile appeared on Wally's face. "Soon I met Robbie and Aqualad and Wonder Girl and we formed the Teen Titans. And I got to meet GL and Superman and all the other Justice League members. It's so much more than I ever dreamed of. I mean look at the people I get to hang out with," he said with a grin, his hand gesturing at the other heroes in the room. "All of it makes going back to Blue Valley a bit easier. I mean, now there's this part of my life that my parents can't ruin because they can't take away the speed."
"So, do you get scared?" The rest of her questions came easily.
Wally continued talking to Irey, answering her questions. He tried not to think about who she actually was. That was just way too weird. His daughter? How could she be his daughter when he was only thirteen? Yeah, okay, maybe he wasn't really thirteen, maybe he was supposed to be Dick's age and all, but still… And Linda? Wow…she was really pretty. He wondered how they had met. Was it love at first sight? Was she his first and only girlfriend? Did they date a long time or get married right away? How had he proposed? Dick had been right. She seemed to be handling the idea of him as a teenager pretty well, too. Probably much better than he was handling the idea of a wife and kids. No matter which way he looked at it, it just didn't make sense.
Thank God Dick was here. Uncle Barry and Hal were good. They were adults. He knew he could trust them. He knew they would protect him. But, there was just something different having his best friend present…just a reassurance Uncle Barry and Hal couldn't provide. Yeah, sure, Dick was an adult now, too, but Dick was still his best friend. Dick understood him, even more so than Uncle Barry. Seeing Dick as an adult was weird, seeing Dick as Batman and not Robin was even weirder, but definitely not as weird as a wife and kids.
Then there was Damian…something had seriously gotten messed up in the Bat family. He had always known Bruce was a little out there, definitely scary, but man, Damian made Bruce look sane. That was wrong on so many levels. Even though it appeared as if Irey and Damian were friends. What was he – his older self – thinking? Why was he allowing his daughter to hang out with Damian? He definitely needed to have a talk with his adult self.
At least Bruce had finally adopted Dick. Dick may never have flat out said he wanted Bruce to adopt him, but Wally always knew Dick wanted, and maybe even a small part of him needed, that extra sense of stability an adoption would provide. It wasn't like Dick worried Bruce would kick him out someday. Alfred would never allow that. But there was always the threat of social services taking him away. It was good to know that Dick hadn't had to wait a long time for Bruce to finally get a clue.
As he thought about all the changes, he also thought about everything Barry, Dick and Hal weren't telling him. He hadn't missed the looks they had exchanged when he made some remarks. Other things just didn't make sense. How could this new Kid Flash – Bart – be Barry's grandson? That would make Barry old and he didn't look it. Neither did Hal and they were almost the same age. Sure, Dick was older, but even then…to have a kid Bart's age, well, the math just didn't work. Not that it really worked when he remembered that he and Dick were the same age and he had ten-year-old twins. Maybe the weird metabolism thing explained how Barry had a grandson. Even though it really didn't explain why it looked as if neither Barry nor Hal had aged at all while Dick had aged. What was up with that? Some freak alien encounter?
So far, the coolest and best thing was learning that he would someday become the Flash. Could it get any better than that? It had always been a hope, a dream. It only made sense. Why else would Barry train him if he weren't to become the Flash someday? He wondered if Barry had done something special to commemorate that day. Moving from Kid Flash to Flash was definitely a huge step. Would Dick have become the Batman at the same time? Did it also mean Speedy was now Green Arrow, Wonder Girl was Wonder Woman and Aqualad was Aquaman? Maybe the JLA did something special like a graduation day. That would be so cool. To show up wearing the Kid Flash costume and leave wearing the Flash one. Graduate from the Teen Titans to the Justice League. Wow.
When the doorbell rang, everyone took a moment to go back into full costume. Secret identities were obviously still a big deal. Whoever this Jakeem was, he hadn't yet been let in on all the secrets. Irey, who hadn't been wearing a costume, quickly changed into a white and red costume with goggles. Wally found it a little strange looking. Damian, who had also been costume free, put on a mask and his hooded cape.
Wally followed suit and pulled down his mask. He looked over his shoulder to see Jay Garrick and some other kid enter the living room. Wow…Jay. It was always fun when it was him, Uncle Barry and Jay. Three speedsters. Totally cool. And like Barry and Hal, Jay hadn't seemed to have aged at all either. Strange.
He watched as Jay tried to hide his surprise. Wally grinned. Now that he knew what had happened and understood the expressions of surprise and bewilderment on everyone's face, it was fun rocking other people's worlds. "Hi, Jay."
"Wally," Jay replied after the merest hesitation. Jay tore his gaze away from Wally and looked around the room. "Everyone, this is Jakeem Williams."
"Hi, J.J.," Irey greeted.
"Hey, Red." Jakeem glanced at Wally.
Wally stuck out his hand. "Kid Flash." He nodded his head toward Irey and grinned. "Her dad."
"Holy fuck! No kidding?"
"Jakeem!" Jay said sharply. Wally's grin grew wider, remembering Jay was just as strict as Uncle Barry when it came to the h-word and f-word. It was a major taboo. In general, most of the heroes didn't swear or curse. Hal, Green Arrow and Speedy were notable exceptions, and Hal was nowhere near as bad as Green Arrow and Speedy. Hal usually just used the h-word word. "Jakeem told me what happened. He said he and Irey were looking at some old pictures. Then Irey asked about the Thunderbolt. Jakeem let him out and suggested Irey could make a wish and told the Thunderbolt to grant it. Is that about right?"
"Yeah," Jakeem answered. Irey nodded.
"And?" Jay prodded.
Jakeem sighed heavily. "Well, I told her to wish for something easy. I mean this is the Thunderbolt and he sometimes goofs things up. He takes everything literally. You need to be really specific."
"Irey, what was your wish?" Barry asked.
"To do well on my math test."
"That's what I told him," Jakeem said, pointing to Jay. "I don't know how the fu-…how this happened," Jakeem quickly clarified after noticing another warning glare from Jay.
"Why don't we ask the Thunderbolt," Dick suggested.
Wally watched in amazement as Jakeem withdrew a pen from his pocket, clicked it and said "so cool." There was a huge flash of light and then this pink-colored being appeared. Wally was duly impressed. "Hey, J.J.!"
"Hey, Johnny, Batman wants to ask you some questions. You need to answer them."
Wally watched as Dick – Batman – faced the Thunderbolt. It was really cool how Dick could mimic Bruce's voice. Wally knew Dick already had the glare down pat. He and Roy seemed to receive it on a very regular basis. Now Dick had added the voice. Wally briefly wondered if Dick had had to correctly mimic the glare and voice to graduate from Robin to Batman. "Did you grant Irey her wish?"
"Yes, I did."
"What did she wish for?"
"I really shouldn't say."
"Wishes are private matters, but then I don't have to say because the wish is in this room."
Jakeem frowned. "But, Johnny, she wished to do well on her math test."
"Yes, she did. But that was her second wish. Her first wish was to meet her dad when he was Kid Flash."
"But she didn't say that," Jakeem noted.
"No, she didn't. She thought it and you told me to grant her her wish and I did."
Jay frowned. "Since when are you a telepath?"
"Only when it comes to wishes." The Thunderbolt paused. "Did I do something wrong? J.J. told me to grant her her wish and I did. Just like he asked."
"Can you change him back?" Barry asked.
"Wait," Dick interjected. "KF, why don't you change into some other clothes first."
Good thinking, thought Wally. All he needed to do was magically get changed back into his adult self and not have the Kid Flash costume fit. How embarrassing! Hal tossed him a bag with the clothes he had been wearing. He paused by Irey. "I don't know how much of this I'll remember, but I want you to know that I think you're a pretty cool kid. Hopefully I'm not a total jerk as a dad."
Irey smiled and hugged him. Wally was a little surprised. "You're not."
"Or at least not a total jerk," Dick clarified with a smile.
"Ouch. Man, I hope I can still nail you with zingers."
"Trust me, you do. Constantly."
Wally looked at the Thunderbolt. "Is this going to hurt?"
"Great," he muttered. He looked again at all the faces in the room, well, except Damian. What was Dick thinking?
A few minutes later, Wally stood in the center of the living room wearing the too big clothes. Jakeem had been turned so he couldn't see Wally sans costume. With a simple request, a bright light flashed and directly hit Wally. Wally staggered backwards. Two sets of strong hands grabbed his arms. He looked to see Green Lantern and Batman, specifically Batman Lite, gripping his arms. Both men had smiles on their faces (yet more confirmation it was Batman Lite). Wally glanced around his living room to see Jay, Barry, Damian – why was that kid at his house, Irey, Linda and the Thunderbolt? Everyone except Damian wore smiles. Was his fly open? Was there some Speed Force clothing snafu? Why else would they be smiling at him? A quick glance revealed nothing out of order. He breathed a sigh of relief. If it had been a clothing snafu, neither Dick nor Hal would have ever let him live it down. It was then he noticed a kid with his back to him. The corkscrew curls were a giveaway – Jakeem Thunder. It explained the presence of the Thunderbolt, but why was Jakeem here? Why was the Thunderbolt out of his pen?
"Dad!" Irey yelled and ran to him. "You're back!" She threw her arms around his waist.
Back? What was she talking about? Where had he been? Last he remembered, he and Hal had been handling a small incident near Vancouver. He frowned. How had he gotten home? And why were all these people at his house? Wally freed his arms from Hal and Dick, and wrapped one around his daughter. He noticed he was holding something in his right hand. Opening his first, he saw a Kid Flash ring. A closer look revealed it was one of his Kid Flash rings. What the hell? Why did he have one of his Kid Flash rings? He wasn't even sure where Linda had them packed. "Someone want to tell me what's going on?"
Dick grinned. "Once upon a time, there was a young girl who really wanted to meet the original Kid Flash. Said girl got her wish granted with the help of the well-meaning Thunderbolt."
Wally paled. No… He looked at the Kid Flash ring in his hand. Why did the weird stuff always seem to happen to him? He sighed. "So, what did I do?"