Note: written as a request for the fic exchange on LJ. Half-assed beta'd.
Theory of an Idiot through the Space-Time Continuum
His feet hit the ground like a wrecking ball destroying a building. The veins in Wally's feet burned from heated friction, and the dirt passing his ears must have been going at least 750mph. Faster. 751..752…765…790…825…900—
"Uncle Barry," he remembered calling out in a moment of weakness. The second his lips parted Wally could feel the gust of wind choke him in the back of his throat. Through red-lenses, all he saw was the spark of lightning generated from Flash's boots as he ran faster, breaking the sound barrier through speed, and how he followed along the trial like a magnet attracted to a refrigerator. Okay, bad pun.
But he was full of them. And somehow, Wally decided as he trudged forward through the excess motion given off by his mentor, if he didn't joke with himself how freaking ridiculous this was of, of some guy darting around the world in a ridiculous yellow outfit—oh-kay, Wally, watch what you say there—he might have had a conniption.
"Kid," he heard Flash's voice echo from the four meters of distance between them, "if you can't keep up—"
"I can," he interrupted, and he fought through the strain in his feet. Any normal runner would have given up after the first twenty miles. Well, granted they weren't doused in a dozen deadly chemicals and struck by lightning, buuut—Wally bit the inside of his mouth and met the heavy thuds of Flash's boots. He looked to his uncle, saw the way Uncle Barry wasn't looking back and how his jaw had tightened, gaze fixated on that weirdo, Professor Zoom.
And slowly, Flash turned his head and Wally could feel his muscles strain, begging for release. The stress nearly made him trip—and hurdling through the air across the ground at 900mps was not a pretty image in Wally's mind, even with the assurance of Hyper Accelerated Healing.
Scratch that. With or without, that would have hurt like a bitch either way.
Under the cowl and behind opaque lenses, he could finally see the concern and the seriousness that fluttered across the Flash's—Uncle Barry's—face. Wally's cheeks were puffed and red, ears blazing under the wing-thingies, popping and burning like crazy. His lungs were just about in the same shape as his legs, tension ripping at his muscles and burning horribly as the pain shot up his chest. When was the last time he'd eaten?
An hour ago. Wally's metabolism must have burnt at least four times its normal amount, when he went running.
"You sure you want to do this?" Uncle—Flash asked, and the guy managed to keep his eyes off the road and still dodge the incoming bolder. Or, you know, vibrate through it.
"I'm not a little kid anymore," Wally pointed out, and he studied his own words, noticing that he was once again lagging behind his mentor. "I mean, I'm your Kid, but I'm not a kid…you know?"
Flash cracked a grin, which was somewhat reassuring because Wally hadn't the slightest clue how this was going to end, and though it was nervous, he was ready to trust it. "This is going to be intense, just forewarning."
"I'm ready." If he was ready enough to douse himself in deadly chemicals and get struck by lightning, then—well, he was fairly sure he had jurisdiction to wing it now and then.
"We'll sonic boom it in a second, Kid." Flash grabbed the upper hand, piercing through the barrier of resistance as Wally stumbled through rocks. "I want you to think of someone. Think of someone you trust with your heart and your soul; that you'd die for, give your life for—"
"Um, this is getting a little corny and personal, Uncle Barry, I don't think—"
"Think of someone," his uncle continued, "that you know on the track, you wouldn't hesitate once to give the baton to."
Track reference. Corny, but that would have done the trick.
"Ready?" Flash started again. "Set. Go."
In a burst of crackling energy, Wally didn't have time to blink as the force Flash used to run pushed him backward, nearly falling back and ramming his head against rocks. Flash was long gone by the time Wally was able to keep up on his own feet grinding against the ground.
Wally kept himself steady, running across the water in search of his uncle-slash-mentor and ran, forcing himself faster and faster until he could feel the throbbing pain in his legs again. This, in a roundabout way, was training. Practice. No, not practice—the real deal.
And if he really was the Flash's sidekick—partner, then he needed to damn well prove it.
Focal point, West. The Flash wants you to have a focal point; to remember that you're running, why you're running, and that when you're running—you're not running away.
A destination. It'd been a question he had early when he was an eleven-year-old boy to the Flash when he first to visit—what keeps you alive and running? And the corny man Uncle Barry was, the answer'd always been, the love of my life.
Wally didn't have any great loves. He barely could stand the sight of food, sometimes, when it was his metabolism that was hungry and not he himself. There was Aunt Iris—his driving force, really, when his parents were being pains in the butt. Aunt I was his hero the way Uncle B was his superhero. There were his friends; he loved his friends—
Not good enough, the tiny voice in the back of his head nagged. His blood pumped, heart fell frigid, and he agreed. He respected Kaldur and Supey like brothers—
Still not good enough.
—thought Arty was pretty damn irritating even if she was kind of hot, Miss M had the beauty and the grace of an angel. Kaldur taught him patience. He showed Wally how to wait, how to listen, when he was being impatient himself. Roy was...well, Roy. Everything he strived to be when he was thirteen and Roy was fifteen. Superboy to him was the little brother he never had, when he was little. Wally'd always been the runt or the tagalong in the family, sort of like Robin—
Robin was his first friend in the world of heroes, other than his mentor. Rob, when he was eleven and Wally was thirteen, shed any doubts evident of him being Kid Flash, and assured him he was doing a good job. He trusted Rob, that very night, to show him his secret-ID, and wanted nothing more than to be his best friend. To be the one who made a smile appear across that dorky face because before they met, Robin was the mini-Batman. The Batboy.
Not to mention, Robin told Wally his secret identity.
It became the extra kick he needed. Without realizing it, the pain that Wally felt as he ran immediately evaporated, and his chest tingled with warmth. Air bristled over his shoulder and he sucked in a deep breath, steps becoming lighter—flightier, as he rushed against friction. In his line of sight was that blur of scarlet signified his uncle.
Wally saw splashes in his vision.
Remember, West, focal point.
Rob—Rob's goddamn-freaking laugh, how it was the first thing you heard before you saw him. How they pranked Kaldur last week and glued dreadlock extensions to his head when he was asleep. How…how once in a while, Wally would ditch fourth period so he could see Rob at school for lunch. The fact Rob wanted his two cents as he tried to invent new gizmos Batman wouldn't allow in the batarangs.
Wally felt his pulse in his ears as he whizzed across the Himalayas, and grimaced as neither Flash or Professor Zoom caught his view. Needed to go faster.
Needed to focus on the focal point.
Rob. Dick. Robin, Richard. Robby, Dickie. Dick knew every one of his secrets, every one of his desires, every one of his little, irritating insecurities that most of the time Wally wasn't sure where the line between where his thought pattern ended, and Rob's started really was.
Dick knew how frustrating it was for him, to try and vibrate through things.
Dick knew how scared he really was, that night when the lightning hit him. Dick knew everything.
And most of the time, Wally was able to say the same. He knew when Rob acted out or laughed, he was trying to cover up his own insecurities. Robin played the lighthearted card because it was easy for him. It was expected, and he reigned like a king with a handful of pawns.
His vision blurred, destination set only for Flash and Professor Zoom as Wally passed Gotham City, and he trudged further. Farther.
Flesh felt as though it was peeling off him like the skin on an orange, and his stomach flopped. Wally swallowed hard, and forced himself faster. Don'tlookbackdon'tlookback…If he remembered Robin, then everything would be okay. So long as he remembered Rob, everything would be alright—he would land and deaccelerate perfectly fine.
The Flash always did it—he remembered the love of his life, and he ripped through every barrier known to mankind going through speeds far faster than Wally himself could.
Love of his life. Aunt I, duh.
Love of Wally's life.
Wally stopped moving. Bad decision.
"A-AH!" Stopping without decelerating for him had always been a bad move. Wally tripped over his own two feet and he rammed into the ground at Mach 2. He hurdled forward against his own will—against the momentum, the inertia, whatever the hell the word was because this hurt and goggles shattered due to impact. His head vibrated, pain reverberating as his chest scraped against rough ground, then he tumbled in his back, arm slamming against his own lung. He felt like a race car that'd just been knocked off its course—first the hood, then the wheels, then the fucking dent on the trunk—and hissed through his own pain.
Wally grabbed the nearest object to catch himself—asphalt—and ground against the rough concrete, the burn of lycra reaching his nostrils and the first layer of skin singing in pain. If he couldn't catch himself, he was going to end up ripping his body to shreds.
"Gotta…stay…focused—c'mon…c'mon…c'mon…" Wally forced himself against the inertia, quickly getting to his feet as force tried to tackle him down. His arm ached from impact and ribs throbbed from collision, but he quickly ignored it and forced himself to run—forward, backward, so long as he still had his body by the time this was over—and he needed to focus.
In truth, Wally hadn't the slightest idea where he was. Bits of broken plastic had lodged itself in his left eye and he yanked the goggles off his vision, quickly throwing it aside to run further. Anyone, anybody came to mind as he tried to find sight of Zoom or Flash.
His feet felt like they were running through a pool of electricity and couldn't go any faster. Wally seethed to himself, heart pumping as he looked through his good eye and forced himself to go faster. C'mon, body, heal…heal…
He couldn't find anything. Wally couldn't see anything or feel anything other than hearing the buzzing next to his ear, and nearly choked on his next breath.
Focus on Rob. Get past that chapter of awkward, just focus on Robin.
Wally ran through the gray blobs in his vision and heavy sparks through his body, envisioning his best friend all over again. He needed a destination—an ending point, otherwise he'd be perpetually running. And that for a speedster was a pretty scary thought.
His grin. His essence, his attitude, his dorkiness, his awkward, 'I'm-going-through-puberty-shut-the-hell-up-if-my-voice-cracks'-ness.
Pinpointing. Wally caught to his breath, squinting through the blood and the little dribbles of gray until he could see another blob—black ensemble, tall—
"Robin," Wally whispered under his breath haggardly, and he trudged faster through sidewalk—faster and faster and faster—until the figure got bigger and knew he couldn't stop. "Rob, you're…you'remyRobgotta—gottaslowdowncan'tshit—"
Only way to stop at this point was to collide into something. And this was going to hurt.
Wally shut his eyes, ignored the shards that dug deeper into his eye and tackled Robin; added a counter-force, and evidently Robin didn't see it coming. There was a cry of protest that shattered Wally's ears as he gripped tightly to his best friend's body, and they tumbled across the ground. Wally's back skidded across black asphalt and he cried out in pain, head buried into the crook of Rob's neck until finally, they came to a halt after knocking down trees like pins at a bowling alley.
"Rob," Wally gasped, and he forced himself to open his eyes through painful tears and the violent sting in his eye, looking up to bright blue eyes on a clear day. He twitched and fidgeted, captivated with the sight and relief flooded through him as he flung arms around the other teen. "Rob, omigod—lost in speed, couldn't—thought I wouldn't be able to…find myself out, had to focus…Omigod, Rob…"
There was a silence. Robin didn't hug him back, but normally that wasn't something expected. When a hand slinked around his waist, firm and larger than he was used to, Wally had to freeze.
"Wally?" And this voice was different. No pubescence, no…no dorkiness, no squeakiness, but deep and fluid. Deeper than Wally's, even.
Wally tore away from the other teen and—that wasn't a teen. No, far from it.
Sculpted face. Narrow nose, firm blue eyes, and shaggy black hair his Rob hadn't had. Taller body, too—Rob stood at about 5'4" whenever they were next to each other, but this guy…no, this had to be Rob, this Rob stood taller than even Wally himself.
"You're…" Wally's arms trembled. "You're…not my Rob—" Black swept through his vision.
He upchucked on not-Rob's leather jacket before finally passing out.
The scent of pancakes was something Wally had grown accustomed waking up to on Saturday mornings. His parents let him stay with Aunt Iris and Uncle Barry over the weekends when there was positively no school, and the guest bedroom was really his own. Aunt Iris had bought him red sheets, and when he was twelve Uncle Barry filled the book shelves with his favorite physics books and little Flash figurines. The mattress was generally squishy under his back, and his stomach was always first to wake him up.
Not what Wally woke up to, this following morning. It wasn't even morning.
He stirred in what felt like a large, uncomfortable cot with hands by his side and shoulders hunched. Air hit his legs cold until the hairs were standing up and erect, and it crossed Wally's mind that he might not have been wearing any pants.
The white ceiling above him met his gaze, followed by the fresh scent of cookies. Both his mentality and physique felt incredibly dehydrated, and Wally forced himself up from the cot, biting back the wooziness and dryness in the back of his throat as the subtle urge to vomit suddenly overtook his thoughts.
Wally blinked through gray spots, the beginning of a migraine rattling at the edge of his brain. He ran a hand through his hair and winced slightly, grimace spread across his lips.
"Holy—ow." Wally clasped a hand over his jaw, aching pain returning to his jaw. A bare hand collected at his cheek, and he twitched as a bag of ice pressed against an already-healed bruise. Wally shivered, and his eyes inadvertently fell to the ashtray resting on an overbed table filled with tiny shards of plastic.
"Don't move." murmured the voice above him, and Wally felt the hairs on his arms stand up righteously.
He turned his head, gaze returning to the person in front of him, and exhaled a sharp breath.
Not a dream.
The widow's peak, lithe and narrow above Dick's forehead that was often hidden under Robin's bangs, was now exposed to an extent. His bangs had been cropped, if not all his hair, and an air of authority was carried across blue eyes that'd yet to be noticed under the glow of mischievous eyes back at home. A firm jaw nowhere near as square as the infamous Batman's, but defined enough to show that he grew. Wally was sitting on a cot, Robin parallel to him in a chair, and even then he could tell Dick had grown.
A pair of tweezers rested between one large hand and a rag stained with blood in the other. Robin reached for the ash tray and jiggled it under his grasp. "Four shards of broken plastic lodged in your left eye, Kid. You blinked so much that they sank in. 'had to pluck them out while you were unconscious."
The explanation ran loud and clear between Wally's ears, and yet somehow it still hadn't reached his brain. He stared across from him to the man who…didn't look like some forty-year-old guy, no, but wasn't that little kid anymore, who Wally hung out with.
"You're," he started softly, and the tone hissed between his ears. It scared Wally more when Dick instinctively reached for a glass of water resting on the overbed table and gave it to him. "You're…Rob, right? M…My Robin? Dimmmghh—"
It caught him off guard when Dick automatically pushed the glass of water against his lip and demanded he sip the water. Wally gulped, feeling cold fluids wash through his throat and tingle in his chest, and all the while vivid blue eyes kept a firm gaze upon him.
Also, wearing nothing but his Superman boxers made Wally feel more than a little self-conscious.
Rob's jaw tightened, gaze studying him vividly as they entered a silence. Wally wasn't sure what to say.
"You remember how you got here?" A hand pushed through red tufts of hair, and immediately Wally cringed from contact. Dick's hand halted and the concern fluttered across his eyes—but to Wally's surprise, it was firm. Calculated, with a demeanor calmer than he was used to seeing and almost like a doctor who knew better than to freak a patient out. Maybe worse, because it felt like Dick had been doing it for years.
"I," Wally mumbled, and he palmed the eye that'd been wounded during impact, "was running. Chasing…chasing Zoom with my Uncle Barry and then…"
Then he analyzed his relationship with Rob, and—well, it kinda went crash-and-burn-y from there. He gulped, lips curling into one another only a moment alter and he fisted a hand against his chest where a bruise should have been. He thought about Robin like they were dating. Nono, like the love of his life.
"After that I don't remember a thing." Which was a downright lie, but it was better than all of the brash ideas that were beating through his head. He shivered and snapped out of his thoughts once he realized Dick's hand was still pushing through his hair and massaging his jawbone. "Um, dude, could you…stop?"
"What?" Dick's voice suddenly sounded clouded, thoughts elsewhere. Even with this jump in the future—what, five years? Six? Suddenly the touch went away, along with the warmth that came with it. Blue eyes warmed gently and Dick pulled away, small, impish grin spread across his lips. "Sorry. Used to doing that."
Um. Whoa. Wally moved his hand to rub an aching arm and ignored the heat that bloomed in his cheeks. The soft tenor of Dick's voice reached his ears and he felt himself darker.
Rob, you get pret-ty pretty when you grow up.
"You crashed and burned,"Dick suddenly interrupted his thoughts and a soft groan escaped his lips as he rotated his left shoulder. "And you crashed into me. Your boots were on fire by the time you finished and your uniform's completely tattered. How fast were you running?"
"I…" Don't remember. "Too fast. Um—" Wally ran a hand through his own hair (and it scared him how he suddenly preferred Dick's instead of his own) before pushing off the cot and standing on his own two feet. Dick was there to meet him, suddenly standing taller against Wally's own stature. "—c…could I have some clothes?"
Wally had to crane his neck and take in the familiar sight of his best friend who—wasn't that much familiar anymore. Rob must have stood at about 5'10", two inches taller than Wally himself, and had the muscle to back it up. Robin was the type of hero who threw his own body weight around and relied on inertia. This was—well, different.
"Yeah," Dick mused quietly, and there was a sense of withering in his tone. He turned away, striding from the…basement, the bunker or whatever where they were currently at, and Wally gave into the urge of following after him.
His ankles felt stiff from walking for the first time in what couldn't have been more than a few hours, and the bones in his arms were numb without the right nutrition. Wally grabbed at the banister once he made it to the stairs and pulled himself up, nearly dragging his way across the hall where he was sure Dick sauntered off to.
"You're ten years into the future," Dick called out from another room.
Wally clutched the walls, eyes darting to the walls for any signs of where he was at before pushing into the…bedroom. Green eyes blinked wildly in array as he assessed the bedroom—a long, king-sized bed, a master bedroom, and two split chests that he assumed were meant for clothes. It…didn't look like a room for just one person though, it was like…husband and wife.
At that thought in particular, Wally's stomach clenched and he tugged at his boxers, trying to make them hide as much as possible. "Ten years?"
He flinched the moment Dick turned his head, and immediately those blue were focused on him. His heart skipped a beat—and really, it wasn't the reaction Wally was searching for. Not if he wanted to feel rational, that is.
Dick split into a grin in likeness to his younger self and chuckled. Not a snicker—a chuckle. "You strike me as the type that would freak out that you're thrust into the space-time continuum, kid."
"Yeah?" Wally murmured, and he stood pigeon-toed like a little kid as Dick tossed him a t-shirt and a pair of shorts that probably wouldn't have fit him tightly. A glare spread across his face, amusement twinkling in his eyes at the red, followed by the golden-yellow insignia in the center. "Oh, you're funny."
"Flash t-shirt. It's appropriate." There was the hidden gleam along with the subtle change in tone that Wally automatically knew Dick was hiding something from him.
Wally watched enough Marty McFly movies to know what information he needed to know, and what to trust to the crazy lunatic of a scientist. He rolled up the sleeves that met his elbows, eyes glued to the…differences in this room. It wasn't the Wayne Manor—Wally'd been there plenty of times since knowing the secret-ID, but an apartment shared by two people. Two intimate people.
"Oh—I—" Wally snapped out of his thoughts, attention returning to his older best friend and heart squeezing. "I—must have…been quiet for a long time, huh?"
"Almost a whole minute," Dick tried to joke.
Tried, being the key word.
The 'joke' hung in silence under the dim light in the hallway and the soft sound of the kitchen timer humming from the other side of the apartment. Wally's heart squeezed so tightly that he felt as though he couldn't breathe, and his fingers clung to the sides of fabric.
"Do you want to—"
"—tell me what's wrong?" Dick arched an eyebrow and the way his expression suddenly twisted made Wally back-track on his thoughts.
"No," he said suddenly, "I—sorry, I don't—really…know…" Why of all times, was his brain breaking now?
Probably because he discovered the only way for him to reach Mach 5 was to admit he had feelings for his best friend. Which put into question whether or not he had feelings for his best friend in the first place—no. He had some working theories in his head—er, the time that he was unconscious and trying to figure this out.
"Sorry," Wally finalized, and he played with the hem of the over-grown t-shirt.
It was unsettling as Dick looked to him and suddenly this version of his best friend's lips contorted into a grim frown. Turning away, Dick shook his head and filed out the door and not once did he make physical contact with the speedster. "You must be starved. C'mon, I'll feed you."
"I'm—I'm sorry." Wally followed after him, feeling the pressure against his feet as he padded the ground weakly. He yanked Dick by the arm, harsh and jerky before placing himself in front of his best friend. God, West, way to be an idiot.
His chest throbbed hard and loudly, mind hollow from…from everything, and all Wally could do was look up to Dick's face, which—particularly didn't look angered. Dick studied his expression and—if that wasn't the creepiest thing ever—
"I'm sorry," Wally continued, and his hands curled next to him. "I'm so—I don't even—I-I can't…"
"Form a coherent thought?" Somehow the hand that was suddenly on his shoulder was more than just a little comforting. Dick's eyes shined gratefully and he chuckled softly. "Dude, you ran me over, took the impact and nearly became the Human Torch. And you puked on my jacket. I can handle you being a little…out of it. I'd be a little more concerned if you weren't…but I am concerned."
Wally's eyebrows knit together and modestly he turned away. Hands moving to fiddle with his gloves—which apparently weren't there, he forced himself to walk and took comfort in the fact Dick was following him. "I don't really want to talk about it."
It took him by surprise when both a plate of cookies and a stack of burritos were sitting at the table, neatly by one another followed by a glass of milk. Dick only shrugged and pushed the plates closer to him.
"Your metabolism, Wally." Dick's gaze suddenly shifted and he sat parallel on the other side of the table. His feet kicked the end of the wooden floor and he crossed his arms, expression grim. "Eat. I could see your ribs during surgery."
"Sure," Wally mumbled, and he pulled the chair out from under him.
They ate in silence. Or more like, Wally ate in silence.
"Alright, I can't—"
"—I can't handle this." Wally put the burrito down, pushed the plate away and ignored his weeping stomach if only to stare Dick in the face. His heart skipped a beat and freckles felt as though they were scurrying across his face with his heated blush, and he crossed his arms. "Am I dead or something? Are you married? Did I suddenly—like, become a villain? Just—why are you being so quiet? Are we having a crisis? Don't tell me we're having a crisis—I'm not interrupting like, some big-ginormous invasion of the…Jupiterans or something, am I?"
A moment later, Dick was staring at him and all Wally could do was deflate under his gaze.
He looked away, embarrassment tingling in his cheeks as a laugh reached his ears.
"Everything's fine," Dick echoed, and he reached over, pinching a cookie between his fingers before dipping it into the glass of milk. "The only crisis you caused was puking on my term paper for English."
Oh. "I'm so—"
"—kidding." Dick split into an…alluring grin, the only way Wally could describe it, and the teenager felt the hairs on his forearms tingle. Blue eyes shined in a light he wasn't used to—probably because they were normally shoved behind sunglasses even in the freaking dark—and Dick shook his head. "Robin's got it handled."
Wally cocked his head. "But you're—"
"As much Robin as Roy's still Speedy." Oh. Dick pulled a hand up, interrupting Wally before anymore could be said, and he nibbled on the cookie in front of him good-naturedly. "Look, let's figure this out. How did you get here?"
By focusing all his thoughts and his heartbeat on Rob. Wally shifted uncomfortably on his seat. "Where's…the other me? I mean, I'd be a little bit more freaked out if I were thrust into the past and killed a butterfly or something, but…this is the future. I can—"
"You're probably at your job. Damn," Dick leaned forward, eyes linking to Wally's before a soft chuckle escaped his lips. "Forgot you talked this much."
Wally gulped on a cookie and hesitated, bits and pieces of crumbs splattered across his mouth. He readily used the back of his hand to wipe of his cheek—and it caught him off guard how swiftly his older best friend leaned over with a napkin and wiped the cookie crumbs off his cheeks himself.
Startled, the speedster did the first thing that came to mind: slap the hand away and speed at least six feet back.
He ended up with his back pressed against the wall, eyes wide and glassy as Dick looked to him, confused as ever and hand still held up in the gesture.
Wally wasn't sure what to say. Or what to feel because in all this time, Rob had…had never been as intimate as Dick kept getting with him. The touching, the gestures, the soft smiles, the hand in his hair…
"Sorry," he murmured dumbly. Sorry for what? He was the one getting…touched and…stuff. Wally's heart skipped a beat in his chest and he stood taller, hands scraping against blue paint. "I…didn't mean to…I-I mean…"
"It's…fine." The corner of Dick's lips turned carefully and he crossed his arms. "Wally, we're…gonna have to get you back, you realize that, right?"
"But if your mind's too clogged, kid." Dick crossed his arms and gestured to the seat where Wally'd just been sitting. "You may end up going Jurassic Park if you don't focus. I'm a lot better company than a couple dinosaurs that could gobble you up in a second."
"I highly doubt that."
"Oh, funny." A smirk looped across Dick's face and he shook his head gently. Rob back at home probably would have laughed in his face.
Not even probably.
Wally felt himself swallow hard, eyes glued to the man that sat across the kitchen from him, gaze ever casual and eyes glowing with sheer curiosity. His hands curled against his skin, and Wally twitched. This…was Rob. Dick looked the part, acted the part, and although he seemed just…eerily a little different, that wasn't a bad thing.
"I like you," Wally heard himself admitting. His heart trembled against his chest and he took a hesitant step forward, all the thoughts running through his head—twin coffee mugs, towels, large bed—band around his finger… "I think—I really like you. I like you so much that I…can't…even…process it. I know I can trust you with my life, and that if we were on the track, I'd give my baton to you, but…I don't know how far 'like' extends, and it scares me. I mean, I'm asking myself…is it a phase? Does Rob mean as much to me as Aunt I does to the Flash? And then I can't tell. And—you're my link.
"Flash told me that if I wanted to keep up, if I wanted to be fast enough, then I needed to find someone that I could always run to, and you were right—I crashed and burned—the second time when I collided into you and puked all over your stuff, but the first time…it occurred to me how bad it could be. I wasn't running from a fight or anything, I was just running, tripped, and the momentum was enough that it nearly killed me.
"I had to focus. Hard. And then I saw these glimpses of…of you, thinking and knowing you were Rob that I was able to find a destination. But," Wally finished, and he crossed his arms over his chest, cheeks flaming red as he shifted his gaze upward, "I don't want that. That…scares me."
Great West. You went from an analytic scientist to squirming, hormonal teenage kid. Say it to the totally-hot adult in front of you.
What chance was there, that this Rob wasn't going to laugh in his fa—
Apparently none. Wally's hand twitched, and he quickly turned around, eyes looking anywhere but his best friend's face as he mentally sought the door. "Great—I'm—"
"No! No," Dick flipped over the table, lunging across the room until his hand grabbed fiercely grabbed the speedster's arm and pulled him in a hold Rob back at home would never do. Wally looked up nearly scared out of his wits, green eyes wide in surprise, but the chortles had been long forgotten from earlier.
Under the crisp light, sharp blue eyes dictated his every motion and had all the definitions under the word, 'demanding.' Tangled black bangs caught into his vision, eyebrows furrowed like a wounded puppy. The Robin back at home probably reminded Wally of a stiff, well-trained Doberman puppy with the way he restrained himself—disciplined himself with a bit of mischief here and there. Rob right now—Dick had less of that restraint, reminding Wally faintly of a spastic Pomeranian with all the genius in the world.
"Don't," murmured his older best friend. "I wasn't laughing because you were being an idiot. I was laughing because you'd…never say that to me. Not with that much heart, not with that much analytic noodle brain of yours, you idiot, and I mean it."
Wally's throat went dry and red fluttered across his cheeks.
To his surprise, Dick only backed away, leaning against the kitchen table and unintentionally making a display of the band on his ring finger. His eyes read Wally carefully, and somehow the speedster came to the conclusion this was natural for a reason. Dick was analyzing him not just on purpose, but instinctively, too.
This was…really just growth, to Rob's training.
He twisted the t-shirt under his grasp and waited. One foot trudged further than the other, and Wally's heart palpated behind the emblem. "Why…not reject me?"
Silence. Dick stared at him with an illiterate expression and waited, like he wanted Wally to come to his own conclusions.
There was a mattress meant for two people in the bedroom. "Are we married or something?" There weren't any pictures of them together. Of Wally. "Are we…divorced? Did we break up?" There was that glimmer, in the deep color of Dick's irises that Rob back at home lacked. Or, you know, hasn't gotten yet. "Am I…?"
"Am I dead or something?" Wally took another step forward and felt his heart skip every third beat. "Am I dead? Are you lying to me? Does our friendship…does it even exist, anymore? Does it survive? Do we—" Do we never get together, at all?
Were his feelings just…just incredibly pointless and this completely irrelevant just to get him back? Was he just embarrassing his older self?
"You're not dead," Dick answered for him. He nodded in acknowledgement and pressed a hand to Wally's shoulder, squeezing tight in reassurance and gaze warm. "But…you're still freaking out about this. Not…in the way that I expected you to, even when we were kids."
'Even when we were kids' went in one ear and carefully out the other as Wally heard the words. He knew Dick was compensating the situation by not exposing too much of the future but he couldn't help but take the notion into consideration. That's something to think about later.
"I've always been curious," Dick mused, and he pulled himself until he was sitting on the small table. "You…grew up in the Midwest, you were raised in a conservative Christian family, but I remember you coming to HQ once when we were kids, angered that the jocks at your school dunked a boy's head in the toilet and called him queer, and you couldn't do anything to stop it. You hugged Kal and Conner whenever given the chance, and had to have more man-crushes than I could keep count. What are you…afraid of, exactly?"
How bad of a cliché was 'everything'? Wally ran a hand through his own hair and from the corner of his eye knew Dick was staring at him. "What…people would say. How…people would react. That's…that's natural though isn't it?"
"Wally…how long have you been debating this in your head?"
"How long was I out?"
"Six-and-a-half hours." Wally's eyes glowed and he crossed his arms patiently. He looked up to Dick's steady gaze and felt his heart wilt beneath his chest. Dick…wasn't going to disclose information and spill secrets about this current timeline, even if it mollified any of his doubts. Well, it's not like anything important to him died or anything.His Little World of Wally needed to get back.
"Wow." Dick animated and ran a hand through his own hair. He didn't look like that twenty…whatever-year-old, that Wally had been ignoring, but not so young as thirteen, back at home where he knew Rob didn't get it. Wouldn't. "Wally—Kid, um…wow."
Dick really looked how Wally felt: a little overwhelmed and heart dangling off the Empire State Building by a little white string.
Pink splattered across his best friend's cheeks, a quality that Wally hadn't expected. It morphed into red, eyes in a vivid leer, and Dick thudded forward, large feet hitting the ground carefully. Wally wasn't sure what to do.
A hand grazed the size of his face, and although he stumbled back slightly from added weight, Wally didn't bat an eyelash. Instead he stayed still, warmth radiating from a heavy breath, and every so slowly, Dick kissed him. Soft, gentle, and probably a little chapped because Dick seemed like the type of guy who pulled off, not caring about his looks and being amazingly hot about it, and maybe a little bit needy. Wally's hand stayed stiff at his side, and finally he brought it up, arms tossed around Dick's shoulders to give him leverage, to be able to stand on the tips of his toes.
It was foreign music to his ears as a guttural moan left Dick's throat and ignited the heat in his belly. Dick pushed against him, rougher; gruffer, and Wally'd never been on the receiving end on so much affection. He'd…never been the one that was caught, was always the one doing all the chasing, and this…this was nice.
It was really nice.
"Whoa," he murmured between loud smack, smack, smacks, and his fingers tangled through Dick's hair. Lips, made a careful beeline down his collarbone—"Whoa, whoa, whoa—"
Wally pushed him away, making sure Dick was at arm's length and felt the balls of his feet roll against the ground. Limbs were tangled against one another, twisted and at awkward angles he wasn't sure how they managed, and sweat coated his cheeks, lathering his skin huskily and brightly. Dick was—well, he wasn't as ruffled as Wally felt, but there was a predator's gaze in his eyes.
He laughed. Loudly, with his hands still tangled in black hair and the borrowed t-shirt meshed between them, and gasped for air. There was a moment of confusion from ex-Rob's part, but slowly he came to, sobering at the spot and offering a giggle or two of his own.
"Let's," Wally said breathily, and he was grinning so wide that it hurt, "not forget that I'm um—I'm still a minor and two seconds before all of this, my sexuality was called into question and—um. I—you—you just…you kissed me."
Dick let out a puff of air that reached Wally's nose, the scent of chocolate chip cookies in his nostrils, and a crooked smile curled across his lips. "Hahaha…that would be the relative term, yes."
Wally only smiled wider, feeling his heart glow giddily.
"It's—nothing, man. Just…" Wally shrugged. "Your laugh. You hadn't cracked a laughed since I got here—"
"That pins the blame on the both of us," Dick pointed out. "I tried getting a laugh out of you and you were pretty stoic. Scary stuff, Kid."
"I guess…Yeah, you're right." Wally tugged at the tail of the Flash shirt, suddenly feeling better than when he'd woken up. The blush subsided from his face, fresh air from the A/C hitting his freckles, and he contemplated the kiss before looking up. "So…what does that mean?"
Dick looked to him, and—noticeably hesitantly, pulled his arms away from Wally. "What does…what mean?"
Wally heard himself gulp, and curled his fingers at his side. "Are we…together? Together, together?"
"No…yes. We…" Dick brushed the hair away from Wally's eyes, palm pressed against his forehead, and lowered his gaze. There was…something, in Dick's eyes he couldn't read, but…like he wasn't supposed to. The Wally in this time period probably could. "We have a chance, Wally."
His heart sank. "So…you mean we—"
"—have a chance." Dick shook his head sternly and pulled away, gaze tight. "But…if you want what just happened to happen, then you have to take it. Don't back down."
"But—I—" No. This was as much information as he was allowed to have. Wally hesitated. "That's really corny."
"Yeah." Dick kissed him softly across the temple, and Wally felt himself tingle. "But that's how I feel."
The atmosphere had shifted again. Heavy, quiet, and the sense of anxiety Wally'd had since he first came. When did it change in the first place? When Dick—Rob, this older Rob, had…had kissed him? When they held onto each other? Clung to one another?
"So just like that?" he whispered softly, and the back of his throat hurt. Wally raised his head and looked to what Rob was gonna be in ten years. Ten long, freaking years. "I…get to the future, tell you about my half-hour ministrations, and suddenly I can run across the world and get back to my uncle?"
"Can you?" Question for an answer. God, he never changed.
"Maybe." Wally looked down to the t-shirt, to his pair of loose shorts, and felt his skin paint with sweat. "I'll…need my uniform. Or a variant of it."
"You'll find one in the—" Zip! "—bedroom."
"It's," Wally stumbled, wiggling his toes in yellow boots too large and stretching out spandex that fit like an oversized blanket across his torso, "really big."
"You grow another four inches," Dick explained, and he assisted Wally by pulling the cowl over his face. Now red hair was nowhere to be seen.
"Why am I the Flash?" That…counted for a spoiler, didn't it? He felt the material, the lycra smelling just as Uncle Barry's did—but maybe even better. More enhanced. As he attempted to figure out the uniform, Wally swore he heard something sounding similar to a 'Tt' come from Dick's lips and decided not to question it.
A hand held onto his, long, slim and callused, and Wally wished he wasn't wearing gloves so he could feel them. Bright blue eyes carried a heavy…haunted expression. "You just are."
Wally's heart tightened. Reluctantly he pulled away, creating at least two feet of distance between them and feeling the material coil around his joints. "I should get going." Because if he didn't, Wally wasn't sure he'd leave."
"Right," Dick agreed, but his voice was soft. Quiet, and…clinging onto his existence. It was creepy, and…flattering. Really, really flattering.
"Bye," Wally muttered.
He kissed Dick, fervent and clinging, then zipped out the door before he could do anything else incredibly embarrassing.
It had to be different this time, Wally told himself. He set for a steady 100mph pace, feet pounding against the ground and eyes wide as he lurked about what appeared to be Bludhaven. Bludhaven…why would Rob relocate here? That being beside the point, Wally pushed himself further across the streets, dodging innocent civilian and found himself surprised when they didn't blink once wondering why the Scarlet Speedster (or at least, an, er, incarnation of) was in Bludhaven.
The first time Wally ran, he could feel the tension and the stress that rattled through his body. He felt how heavy it was, along with the migraine that'd daggered through his head. To put running in the simplest from possible, it only needed two concepts: Wally's feet hitting the ground, and speed.
This material was thicker, almost as thick as Kevlar. Was there a reason why he was the Flash now? Why he hadn't just gotten a new name, like Roy and…whatever the heck Rob's calling himself now? Did Uncle Barry di—
No, couldn't think bad thoughts. Wally forced his speed up six hundred miles, converting hours into seconds and spooked himself out by how dirt barely phased through the opaque lenses. Under the boots his feet felt on fire—but not as bad as it had been with the Kid Flash uniform. Whatever this material was—
No. He'd figure it out in the next ten years, but this probably counted as cheating, if he kept it. Best off giving it to Uncle Barry once they got home and leaving matters to science.
There wasn't any padding that would have stopped him from impacts, nor the usual weights that kept his feet steady against the ground. The Kid Flash uniform had to weigh at least forty pounds from the special modifications and designs Jay, Uncle Barry, and Batman had supplied, and this Flash one was probably…twenty? Boots included.
Wally felt the thrumming of his heart, followed by the familiar rush of blood through his veins, signaling him reaching 700—and counting. He rushed further, feeling sparks tingle at his skin and had to brace himself for…for anything.
And most of all, he needed control over his body. His stomach twisted and coiled, heart caged in his tightening ribs, but Wally pushed forward and took in a large breath.
Control. Control. Control, was the mantra in his head.
The not-Kevlar of the uniform began to stretch over his biceps, ripping and tattering as he reached eight-hundred, and the energy burst through his feet.
Think…about Rob. Think about…that kiss, the way his blue eyes made your heart skip every third beat, how he held you…
Think about when you first met.
Kid Flash kicked faster, going through Japan to China through the Atlantic Ocean across Greenland through Central City amongst the Pacific, through the Black Sea—
"Hey. I'm Kid Flash—o-our mentors, uh, said we should probably get to know one another."
"What the—get your hands off me—"
"Dude, it's called a hug. You either hug back or you get cuddled. Pick your poison, Boy Wonder."
Wally's lips split into a grin, and he felt the energy zipping alongside his back. He whipped across the ground, not feeling Uncle Barry's lightning, but his own. He was producing his own, riding on his own, and was doing it on his own.This…was enough, to prove his self-worth as the Flash's partner, right?
More than enough.
Kid Flash ran faster, ignoring the pain in his joints in favor of the glee that tingled behind his ears. It wasn't going to be the same, this time, running across the continent without a prime destination. Whether there was a chance or not, Rob—Dick was still his best friend, and it…was totally worth it.
From the corner of his vision, something caught his eye—glimmering and near-seductive that was…was the same twinkle that was in Dick's eyes not too long ago.
There; that's where he needed to be.
Wally pivoted across his foot, teeth digging into his tongue as he pushed against exterior forces and envisioned himself running into Dick like he did the first time. Not Dick. Rob, running to his Rob.He saw…dark. It was night in Gotham City, and he saw…blankets. Bedsheets, covers, and he saw himself running and—
Oh, this was going to hurt again, wasn't it?
THUD THUD BAM WHACK
A groan fell out of Wally's lips as he came-to from his two-second coma and remembered the impact. He'd…run into the room, slammed into Rob's book case, knocked over his laptop so it was now a split mess on the ground—
"Rob!" Wally swung around, ignoring how his metabolism whined for something to eat and launched himself into the boy who currently had a batarang in one hand and comm.-link in the other. Robin was slinkier, and smaller, and definitely not as buff as future-Dick was. Not yet, anyway.
For an entire thirty seconds, Robin tried to fight him off, growl angrily escaping his lips—but then, he twitched, and a slick hand ran across the bald red cowl that was above his head. "W…Wally? Dude, is that…you?"
"Yeah—I—naked, uniform got burnt when I was running, I—god, I missed you."
Evidently he was talking too fast, even for himself. Dick looked at him, mouth slightly parted as he reached over to turn on a lamplight and placed the comm.-link in his ear. "No, Batman—everything's fine, I…found Wally…or he found me. Not whelmed—no. Let me handle this. Yeah. …yeah, go ahead and tell Flash."
Wally was totally busy with his head buried deep in the crook of Robin's neck.
The fact must have finally settled in because a moment later, Robin was shifting under him and pushing the cowl off his face. "Wally…Wally, where have you been—"
"Future," Wally hummed, and he pushed against the younger teen so they fell onto the bed. "Saw you—talked to you, ten years from now you're—we—" Well, he didn't have any answers for that. He pushed off the bed, hands still latched around Robin's tiny torso, and bright blue eyes stared back at him, wry. "How long was I gone?"
Robin fidgeted under him and grimaced. "Six days."
There were bags under Robin's eyes. Stress-loaded, and his body looked limp despite how strong Rob's voice seemed.
And Dick reminded him in the back of his head, he did have a chance. Probably not now—no, definitely not when Rob was just thirteen…right now they were just really good bros, but in the future. Soon or later and…
"You need sleep," Wally murmured, and he nestled himself tightly on the right side of Rob's bed. He faintly mused in the future, how…there was a lightning bolt on one of the pillow cases. "C'mon, let's sleep. I'll explain everything in the morning, okay?"
Hesitation fluttered across Rob's face. "You mean…you want to cuddle?"
"Is there seriously anything wrong with that?"
Fortunately, not. Dick gave him one careful, one cautious look before sliding across the mattress and finding himself buried deep in Wally's arms. The Boy Wonder was clearly done for the night, retired from Robin and…being Dick. T-shirt wearing, shorts-hanging Dick with sunglasses seen clearly on his nightstand.
The scent of fresh cookies met Wally's nose, and the citrus of Dick's shampoo tickled. An arm, to his surprise, latched around his torso and he could feel Dick buried deeply in his torso. "Don't…do that again, okay? Kid Idiot?"
Wally's lips twitched. "I can't promise you that."
"Love you too, Boy Wonderful."
There was a guttural groan and a flinch of protest where Robin's fist nearly met his jaw, but Wally only snickered. Yeah—
"Dude, get your elbow out of my stomach."
—this was totally gonna be worth it in ten years.
Ten Years Later
"Nightwing—did something happen? Crisis? Another—uh, let's not go there. Murder? Problem?"
"I barely got the words, 'do you wanna come over' out of my mouth before you came, you idiot." Dick put the comm.-link back in his pocket, turning around carefully to see the Flash at his door, surprisingly with the key in hand and comm.-link in the other. Normally the moron vibrated through the door that led to the explosion of their hallway.
And there it was, as Wally's expression wilted, and even under the cowl Dick could guess every wrinkle and every freckle that contorted with concern. Wally pushed the cowl off his face, green eyes flickering worrisomely, and a sympathetic smile twitched across his lips.
"You should know by now that, 'I'm always a phone call away,' can be pretty literally." Wally crossed his arms, and in a red blur returned with a cookie in hand. "You have company over or something? Dude, these cookies are awesome."
Dorky, an idiot, and an odd comment here and there. Faintly in the corner of his mind, Dick could remember one night where Wally crashed across his bedroom back when they were kids and nearly set the room on fire. He'd been missing six days and as Robin he vehemently helped Flash try to track him. Even back then before he had the chance to lash out his aggravation, Wally choked him in a hug and declared they'd cuddle.
He'd bet if the situation was in reverse, Wally would still offer they cuddle. Back then and now.
At the speed the Flash would be proud of, Dick swiftly had his ex-boyfriend in a hold, standing at the tip of his toes and kissing with the hunger he wouldn't have been able to show had Wally been ten years younger.
"Whoa—" Wally pushed Dick away with his hands fully, eyes wide as the idiot was clearly taken off guard. "Whoa, whoa, whoa—Dick…"
"Hey, Kid." Dick's lips twisted sweetly and Wally froze.
"We…," his speedster stared slowly—more softly, now that they were establishing something. "We broke up. Last week. I was going to move out, remember?"
"We were drifting. Like, divorce drifting, and…I've been dealing with the League, you're dealing with…stuff…" Wally crossed his arms and created half a foot of distance between him. But God, those eyes glimmered, and his freckles were so damn gorgeous. "So we were separating. And it was mutual."
No. Dick squeezed Wally's bicep, biting the inside of his mouth. "I lied."
Wally froze, eyes as hard as glass, and analytic in a way he couldn't achieve as a cheeky fifteen-year-old kid. Though only moments later he laughed, soft and swift. "Seriously?"
And despite the countless times Dick reminded Wally he did not enjoy being picked up from the ground and spun around, Wally did it anyway, and hugged him tightly like a teddy bear that would be taken away at any time.
Wally laughed, that stupid, amazing laugh, and kissed the corner of Dick's lip, warmth rebounding right off him. "Me too."
"Let's have sex on the dinner table."
I hope you liked it! It was fun to write. I'll be out of town and having a life for the next two weeks, so please don't expect any updates from me either. :) Reviews would be nice!