Disclaimer: I do not own…any proper noun in this story. The Question, The Flash, Hub City, Central City, Vic Sage, Wally West, Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Green Arrow, Green Lantern…none of it. These are all the property of DC. Anyway…I made no money, please don't sue.
A/N: As per our agreement, readers, I will tell you that this chapter contains some implied slash. As I said earlier, nothing graphic. Also, this is the final chapter. I know it's been a long ride, but this is the end of the road.
The Flash stood in the hallway with Supergirl and the Green Arrow, making polite small talk. His eyes darted around the corridor, clearly looking for something, but Green Arrow was too busy listening to whatever it was Supergirl was saying to notice. Wally's laugh came less than half a beat after theirs, and it seemed almost natural. He was almost sorry he hadn't been listening to whatever had been so funny.
Supergirl finished her story, Green Arrow got in a last comment, and they all split ways, just in time. As Supergirl walked away and Flash made to move down the hall, Green Arrow caught him by the shoulder, a strange look on his face. "Hey, kid, you okay?"
Flash grinned. "Yeah, I'm fine." The other man's hand was just a little too close to his neck, but he wasn't sure whether or not it was intentional.
"You sure? Lately you've been a little…," he trailed off, waiving a hand in the air.
Flash looked at Green Arrow, unsure. He could see the eyes darting back and forth beneath the older man's mask, as though he was looking for something in Flash's own eyes. "No, I'm good." The blonde man held his eye a moment longer, then the moment was over, and Green Arrow gave him a quick slap on the back and went to follow Supergirl down the hall.
Flash continued on his way. But not for long. John Stewart, as always, had the worst timing. "Hey, Flash, I've been looking for you."
"Um, hey, GL. I'm actually a little busy right now…." He trailed off without further explanation, not wanting to lie to his friend.
John looked skeptical. "Where you headed?" he asked.
"Mission briefing," Flash lied, grimacing even as he said it. "Y'know, small operation, Earthside. I won't be gone long, we can catch up later."
John held his eye for a moment, then nodded. "Good luck. Come find me when you get back." He turned and walked down the hall, and Flash ducked into a room just off the corridor.
John walked down the hall and turned just in time to watch Flash speed into one of the rooms along the corridor. They were in what John thought of as a "residential neighborhood", which meant that Flash was in someone's quarters. This wasn't his room, which meant he was visiting someone. Someone he had been embarrassed to tell his best friend about. John found that just interesting enough to check out. He wandered down the hall, muttering about small missions and their briefings, until he found a computer panel along the hallway.
As a member of the Original Seven, John had access to almost everything in the station's computer system, and it didn't take long for him to figure out who, exactly, lived in the room Flash had been so eager to duck into. After telling John he was headed to a mission briefing. It stung just a little.
John was more than a little shocked to find that the door Flash had sped through belonged to none other than that paranoid recluse, the Question. Just thinking of the man and his eerie blank face was enough to send a shiver down John's spine.
It would have been easy enough to catch Flash in the lie, but now, knowing who he had been in such a hurry to rush off to see, he wasn't sure he wanted the truth. He, like most of the others, had heard the stories; the conspiracies, the investigations into fellow leaguers, the just plain creepy manner the man had of dealing with people.
He had caught up to Supergirl and Green Arrow while looking for a terminal. He looked at the two heroes in front of him. Yes, the man had helped Supergirl, and yes, he had been right about the conspiracy angle. Once. And surprisingly enough, Green Arrow seemed almost to be taking a liking to him.
But John didn't trust the Question, and he couldn't imagine what it could possibly be that Flash had to go speeding into his room for, but he was almost sure he was better off not guessing. So he strolled away with a false ease. He shrugged to himself as he rounded a corner. If he really began to suspect the worst, he thought, he could always ask Batman.
Batman imagined that this was what people meant when they said something was like watching a train wreck. Morbid, transfixing, irresistible; no matter how much you wanted to look away, you couldn't. He sat in his monitor room watching a live feed, and, for the first time in a very, very long time, he had no idea what to do.
Batman had had to tell himself as he installed this latest set of cameras that he was doing it in the best interest of the team. Batman was not used to such moral dilemmas. This was the fifth set of cameras to be installed in Question's room in his thus far short stay on the station, and Superman had tried everything to keep him from disabling or destroying the last four.
Superman had told the paranoid detective that they were emergency procedures for worst case scenarios only. He had told the man that only Batman himself would ever view the footage, and even then only in extreme cases. He had offered to turn over the recordings once a week to be dealt with or destroyed in whatever manner the Question saw fit.
All this, the Question had stood and listened to without sound or motion. After, he had stood silently just long enough for the Bat to wonder if something wasn't wrong with the man. And he had turned on his heel, walked at a deliberately casual pace back to his room, and disabled every camera within fifty feet of the center of his room. That had been several days ago, the third set of cameras.
Batman had had little hope for this set of cameras, but that didn't mean he would give in. Good of the team, he had told himself. After installing the cameras, he had gone into his private monitoring room to see what fruits, if any, his continued and diligent labors would bring. Batman had known something was different when Question walked into his room after his return from Earth and not immediately activated a scanner or jammer to counteract the new surveillance equipment. This had been the case anytime the man had left the room for more than an hour.
Something about the Question's abrupt and unscheduled trip planetside had piqued Batman's interest, and he had been watching the man with increased tenacity since his return.
After having been gone just under a day, Question had gone into the cafeteria to sit alone at a corner table and not touch the spaghetti he had purchased. Everyone in the room had his or her eyes on the silent faceless man at one point or another, except one. Flash, whose departure from and return to the station had been near enough to the Question's to be merely interesting, was now deliberately averting his eyes from the other man. Batman elevated the status of the two men's simultaneous trips to suspicious.
Vic had teleported to and from a phone booth on the corner of two small streets in Hub City, which Batman knew to be his home and base of operations. Flash had teleported to an empty warehouse down the street from his apartment in Central City, and come back from within the apartment building. Granted, the two weren't exactly the Twin Cities, but for Flash, cities a world apart might as well down the street from one another.
Batman had sat with something like a smile tugging on his lips as Flash stared deliberately down into his food. They sat facing one another, but with two tables between them. Those tables were conspicuously empty. Question rose, carrying his tray with one hand and burying the other in the pocket of his trademark trench coat. Batman's eye drifted back to the Flash, who sped through the remainder of his meal as though he had not eaten since he left the Tower.
Question took a meandering route through the station, while Flash sped directly to the corridor immediately across from the door to the other hero's rooms, where Green Arrow and Supergirl happened to be standing. He engaged in conversation with them until he spotted the Question opening his door, found a way out of the conversation, bumped into the Green Lantern, then sped through the rapidly diminishing opening in the wall.
All of which had led Batman to the situation in which he now found himself. He was staring at the large central monitor in his room, which displayed the recently installed cameras in the Question's room. The detective hadn't made it three steps before the Scarlett Speedster zoomed in. Papers were scattered all around the table in the main room, and more were being pushed to the floor. Neither seemed to care.
Batman couldn't look away. He wanted to look away. He had no reason not to look away. He now knew what it was about the trips that had caught his attention, he knew why the Question didn't want cameras in his room, he knew why Flash had been acting so strangely lately. But he couldn't look away, and he was almost sure he knew why. It had to have been the Question's idea, had to have been. They were both still wearing their masks.
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for coming along for the ride.