Author's Notes: No. This is not a hallucination, I did update. Yes. I made you all wait. Yes. I am awful at the whole responding to reviews thing. But, I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of them, I'm sorry I took forever to update this, trust me it was never my intention to leave this for so long. I've felt so brain dead lately when it comes to writing fics though and it suuuuucks.
Summary: His father is back and everything around him seems to be crumbling before his eyes.
Disclaimer: Gather children and you shall hear, the well known tale of how Fallen does not own Young Justice or a buccaneer.
The Center Cannot Hold
Glass, maybe not even half an inch thick, clearly it was not sound proof, else he would not have been able to speak with his father a few minutes prior. It seemed perfectly normal, you know if you look past the fact that it was entrapping him. He wanted to say it should be a piece of pie to break through it, in fact that's what he said seconds ago, when he rammed his fist into it. But holy hell, the thing was stronger than it looked, Kid Flash thought as he shook his hand, waving away the short burst of pain. Okay, so much for plan A.
Plan A never worked anyways.
Alright, what was it that his dad said before? Something would happen if he tried to escape using his powers? A bubbling feeling began in the pit of his stomach, he hated how his dad pretended to know about him and his powers. Sure, Rudolph knew he was Kid Flash, but where did he get off saying he knew what Wally could and could not do. Knitting his brow together, Wally placed the palm of his hand flat against his prison's surface.
He could do this, it was all about concentration, right? He was usually warned against trying to vibrate through solid objects, the first time he tried to do it, he nose played the part of 'Old Faithful', Aunt Iris was not too happy about the stains on her new carpet. The only time that he did manage to vibrate himself through something, well, the outcome was less than pretty. Don't think about that now, Wally scolded himself. This time is was going to be better, he had more training. Think like Flash, be like Flash, his own mantra repeating itself in his head. Though, that probably only applied to Superman or was that 'What would Superman do?'
Wally shook his head, he really needed to concentrate. Trillions upon trillions of molecules moving at the same time, through the object, no problem. Squeezing his eyes shut, he felt himself start to move. It was kind of like his entire body going to sleep at the same time, needles pricking his body then everything began to feel jumbled. Knowing it was his moment, Wally pushed his hand into the wall of glass.
Then a jolt of electricity traveled through his body, breaking him from his endeavor as the shock coursed through him. His back arched as he pulled away, his back hitting the other side of his unorthodox cell before sliding to the ground. The speedster took a moment for everything to come back into focus and for the worst part of the pain to subside, "That was awesome." he groaned swearing that he was smelling burnt hair, which was most likely his own.
Careful to avoid touching the walls, he lifted himself back up. So that was what his dad meant when talking about a 'nasty shock', Wally didn't think he was being literal. This had to count as child abuse, Wally hoped Rudolph was happy that any chance that he would get the father of the year award was just tossed out the window.
Joking aside, Wally was trapped…er, in both a physical and metaphorical sense. That was his last resort plan, he could make a small tornado like he had done before, but if that didn't work it would suck up all the oxygen and he needed that for breathing purposes. But he could not just stand here and do nothing while his friends walked into a trap. Sure, his dad was mortal, he had no powers (least none that Wally knew of) but a lot of the baddies Wally went up against didn't either and sometimes they were the ones that dealt the most damage. He needed to find a way out and warn the others, his dad thought he had Kid Flash trapped, but he was threatening his friends and family. Besides after years of having an absent father, Wally was not in the mood to prove his father right.
He pressed both of his hands against the glass and tried again.
This could not be the place, there was nothing here and he had made sure of it. When Flash arrived at the coordinates, he figured he find something like a warehouse, an abandoned building, hell even a shack. But this? All that was here was a bush that a rabbit had scampered out of in fright when he arrived. Woods, that's all, a small clearing up ahead, but no buildings, no sign of life besides small furry woodland creatures. Bats must of made a mistake or maybe he had made a wrong turn, whatever it was he was wasting time, something he could not afford to be doing. Just as he was about to leave, the rush of wind that buffeted the surrounding area stopped him, though he couldn't see anything, he knew what it was.
The bioship became visible again once it set down in the small clearing, flattening the grass beneath it. There was no way they all had bad directions, he waited until Aqualad stepped out before approaching, "I can't find anything," he turned his attention to Robin once the young acrobat joined them, "You sure this is the place."
Robin lit up his gauntlet, nodding, "This is the place." he looked up, his eyelets narrowing as he took in their surroundings. Turning the hologram off, Robin looked over his shoulder, "Do you see anything, Superboy?" The super-clone, narrowed his eyes turning looking in every direction before he perked up, bounding off without a word of warning. No one bothered to exchange a glance before following.
Flash arrived first (for obvious reasons) in time to see Superboy tearing apart a group of bushes, revealing a set of doors set deep into the ground. Clearly, Flash needed to work on his surveying skills, but his nerves were borderline frayed. Superboy gripped the handles and looked ready to pull the doors off the hinges and he probably would have if Aqualad had not stopped him.
"Superboy, wait!" Aqualad ordered causing the super to stop. "We can't precede without coming up with a plan first." he explained further seeing that Superboy still had not released his grip.
Superboy's nostrils flared, "We break it, save Kid Flash and leave, that's our plan." he growled at the team's leader. Flash glanced between the two, Aqualad seemed unfazed by the animalistic tone, though considering how long they had worked together, it was not much of a surprise.
"I am just as anxious as you my friend, but for all we know there could be traps in wait for us if we go in blind." the Atlantean turned his attention to Robin, who quickly picked up on the invitation.
"If I can find a port, I'll be able to jam any traps that are set, I'll go in first and signal you guys when it's safe." the youngest volunteered. Having been silent long enough, Flash spoke up.
"I'm going with you." he stated, "He's my family and you'll need back-up if something goes wrong." Flash knew by all rights this was the team's mission, but he'd be damned if he was going to just sit back and wait for the go ahead.
"I'll go too."
They turned simultaneously towards Artemis, the archer narrowed her gray eyes, daring any of them to challenge her, "I'm going." she said again, tightening her grip on her bow, "And you can't stop me." she added looking pointedly towards Aqualad.
The Atlantian seemed to hesitate before nodding, "Alright, Robin, Artemis, and Flash will go in first, Miss Martian." he turned towards the Martian, "Set up a mental link, when you're finished, Superboy, Miss Martian, and myself will come in. If any of finds Kid Flash, secure him." When the others gave their confirmation, Aqualad nodded to Flash and the two non-powered side-kicks, "Good luck."
Superboy pulled the metal doors open and stepped aside, allowing the three of them to descend the poorly lit steps.
He was on fire. His insides were boiling and everything burned. Wally bit down on his lip to stop himself from screaming, nearly biting through his lip. He was only dimly aware of the copper liquid filling his mouth. He couldn't stop, he had to keep going, he knew that his arm had to be through the glass already, the electricity coursing through his entire body seemed to intensify the more he pushed. Blood dribbled down his chin as he tucked his head closer to his chest, almost there, almost there Wally told himself. A strangled noise made its self known as another shock ran along his arm, feeling his strength starting to fade, Wally pushed.
There was the sound of glass shattering and Wally fell through empty space, hitting the floor with a dull thud, shards of his previous prison falling on and around him. The speedster remained paralyzed on the ground, opening his eyes unable to remember when he closed them to begin with. "Woo." he slurred, his tongue thick. At the very least he can say he vibrated through something, even though his nose was quickly forming a red puddle beneath around his head.
The speedster twitched his fingers, grunting as the small motion still caused pain. Come on, get up, he berated himself, this time moving his entire hand, laying his palm flat on the floor. He squeezed his eyes shut as he slowly began to push himself up, barely noticing as a few tears fell down his cheek. His boots slipped on a piece of glass, nearly causing him to collapse again before he managed to find traction.
Wally wrapped an arm around his abdomen, the burning agony he felt only seconds before still remained there, it was not as intense but nevertheless it hurt. After a few more grunts and barely concealed cries, the speedster managed to pull himself back onto his feet. Well, at least partially, having curled into himself, taking deep breathes as that would magically make the pain go away.
Though, maybe fairy magic did exist, as some of his previous tortures ebbed away the tiniest bit. Maybe at this rate he could manage to take a few steps forward. Both arms around his stomach, Wally slowly straightened himself. He could dally anymore, after this was over then he could wallow in agony, but now he had to get out of here before his uncle or the team arrived. He was not going to let them walk into some kind of trap, he couldn't let anything happen to them.
Albeit slowly, he made his way out of the small room, "My favorite, identical hallways." he coughed, spitting out a glob of blood then wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. Already he could feel his skin tightening from the blood that already stained it from the nosebleed that was still going, but at least it was less 'Old faithful' and more of a dribbling faucet.
There was nothing distinctive about either of the hallways, both had smooth gray walls and dim fluorescent lighting, nothing to tell him where he was or which way the exit was. Rather than playing 'eenie meeny miny moe' Wally choose the right hallway (he read somewhere that going left was bad luck anyways).
His feet itched to go ahead without Robin or Artemis, if he was on his own he might of found Kid by now. Sure, it would have been a very Batman move, but the 'Dark Knight's methods did actually work every now and then. However, he could not risk leaving the two teenagers alone, if he left and something happened to either of them, Flash would not be able to forgive himself and he knew Wally wouldn't either. So, he ignored the urge to run ahead, instead following Robin as the acrobat searched for any cable ports that he could use. Pulling up the rear Artemis followed cautiously, an arrow already notched in case.
So far, they had found neither a clue as to where Kid could be or any sign that there was life down in these hallways. Robin seemed sure footed as he quietly led the trio down the maze of identical tunnels, but no luck if finding something that would give them a definite location to where Wally was. Flash was edging towards the belief that they were on a wild chase, that maybe his nephew wasn't here at all.
Robin froze in front of him, "Camera." the boy wonder hissed, taking a step back, out of said camera's range.
"Where?" Artemis asked, trying to look past Flash. The speedster on the other hand already spotted the bit of surveillance, though it took him a few moments, the pale gray dome nearly blended in with the wall perfectly.
"Least we know someone is home." Robin stated quietly, "And I think they already know we're here." he added, looking behind them. The acrobat cursed himself mentally, spotting an identical camera behind them.
"Then let's stop with the covert." Artemis snapped, firing her arrow that one of the cameras. The dome sparked as the arrow struck it, just as quick as the first, the archer turned effectively destroying the other. They know we're here, Flash heard Artemis' voice in his head as she alerted the other three outside.
We're right behind you, Superboy replied.
"Let's go." Robin said drawing a birdarang from his belt before darting forward, Flash and Artemis right behind him.
Almost there, Kid
"Almost there." Wally mumbled under his breath, arm wrapped protectively around his stomach as he leaned heavily against the wall. It probably only had taken him a few minutes to reach the end of the hall, but it felt so much longer. He blamed the way his feet were dragging and nearly stumbling over every invisible object. At least his nose had stopped bleeding, small victories. Taking another breath, the speedster pushed himself off the wall and continue to hobble his way towards the end of the hallway.
Part of him wanted to cry in relief as he saw a door, but he was a man, that was what he was going to tell himself. He'd chuck his manhood aside once he made it out of here. Ignoring the snags of pain, he ran over to the door and twisted the door knob, another relief as the door was unlocked.
But all relief that he had previously slipped away as he saw the person standing on the other side, "I was wondering when you were going to show up, Wallace. To be perfectly honest, I thought you would of made your way out of your cell a little sooner." Rudy tsked, turning away from the panels of monitors, camera footage of the entire layout of the place, whatever it was.
"You knew I was going to get out? Then why bother trapping me at all?" Wally asked, taking a small step inside the room, eyes locking onto another door. Is that the way out? he thought, tearing his gaze away to latch back onto his dead.
"I was curious." Rudy admitted, his brown eyes swept over his son's body, probably taking in the state of the speedster's condition, "But maybe it was a bit too much for you, hmm?"
Wally's brow furrowed, "Let me out of here, maybe the League will let you see some sunlight every few weeks if you do." Wally snapped, eyes drifting towards the other door again.
Rudy tsked again, "I can't do that, not yet at least. I have to hold up my end of the deal, in exchange to having you back, I have to eliminate any threats to the operation."
Maybe Wally should relish in the fact that he was actually part of one of those cheesy scenes where the villain gives up his entire plan, but considering how he felt like passing out was a super idea right now, he'd hold off till later. "What do you mean?"
"You and I will slip out the back door, while your friends are crushed, well." Rudy paused, "I think that kryptonian might be able to survive, so at the very least there will be someone to tell the tale." Wally didn't need to see his father's face to know that he was smirking. The pain in his stomach turned into something else as he clenched his hands, the skin beneath the gloves turning white. Rudy looked over, giving Wally a simpering glance, "Wallace don't look at me like that, after that little stint you pulled do you really think you're in any kind of condition to save them? You look like you're ready to pass out any second now."
His father turned towards him fully, "I know for a while, you're going to fight me every step of the way, I wouldn't expect any less. But given some time, you'll forget about them, you'll have a new family, new friends." he gestured widely, "Once you see the light son, you'll understand that you are better off without them."
"Better off?" Wally repeated, "You think that I'm going to just let you destroy everyone I care about and go with you because I'll be better off?" he snapped, "The only way that I would be 'better off' was if you hadn't showed up at my door a week ago! You spent nearly my entire life treating me like dirt or not even bothering to be part of it and you think you can just take away everything that I've made for myself since then?" he hissed at the very end, whether from pain or anger he wasn't sure, most likely a combination of both.
By the time he finished, Rudolph's face was starting to turn a dark shade of red, "Wallace, if you don't-" years of frustration, anger, and all the turmoil that he had gone through these last few days all accumulated into one satisfying right hook to his father's jaw.
"Shut up." Though, guessing how Rudolph landed like a limp noodle, Wally may have unintentionally put some extra force behind the blow and by unintentional, he meant completely intentional. Uncurling his hand, Wally stepped over his dad's unconscious body towards the monitors.
His eyes scanned over every screen, mapping out the labyrinth of tunnels in his head. He had to get to the team and his Uncle, they didn't know what was about to happen. Positive that he had the location marked, Wally knelt beside his father, ignoring the aches the movement brought on and grabbed Rudy's wrist to examine the watch. Just under four minutes before everything collapsed. Dropping the wrist, Wally ran out the door.
Flash was starting to think he'd have better luck finding kid in a corn maze. The rest of the kids had caught up easily after Flash, Robin, and Artemis had made a few wrong turns. Robin was able to have the camera feed stream onto his gauntlet but with no differentiating traits between halls, it took them a while to figure how to navigate themselves.
The odd thing was, besides the taste of whoever decorated the place, was that they had run into no trouble. None of the wonder trio that the team had gone against before, no security system, the lack of defense was starting to put Flash on edge. No one who went the trouble to kidnap a protégé of the Justice League would do nothing to stop those who came to the rescue. None of it made sense.
Robin stopped, "Wait." he ordered, "I thought I saw…" he trailed off toggling with the holographic screens, enlarging one in particular, "I saw something, but it was moving too fast to make out and it's coming this waAAGH." the last part cut into a scream as that object collided with Robin, sending him and the other toppling across the floor.
Seeing the mix of red and yellow, Flash disregarded the fallen Boy Wonder in favor of lifting the other sprawled form, "Kid!" the word burst out of him, a mixture of surprise, relief, and fear. The latter bubbling up once seeing that his nephew was not alright, dried blood flaking off his face, cowl gone, torn suit, and he did not miss the way how the younger speedster automatically curled a protective arm around his midsection. The redhaired teen quickly grabbed his Uncle's arm.
"We have to go, he rigged the place to explode, to bury everyone." Wally managed to get out between gasps. Luckily, Barry was a quick thinker, he let his nephew lean on him so that he could catch his breath then turned his attention to the rest of the teens.
"You heard him, let's get out of here." the rest of the team nodded their in understanding, Artemis helping up the fallen acrobat who still looked fluster from being pile drove by Kid. Flash dipped his head, "You alright to walk?" he asked Wally.
Wally bobbed his head, "Yeah, I'm good let's go." he looked over to his team, "I'm okay." he reassured them when they hesitated to move forward. Though the problem was solved for them when the walls and floor began to vibrate.
Aqualad took this as incentive, turning back around "Come, we don't have much time." the others picked up on it and started to run for it. Flash brought up the back, partially supporting Wally, the vibrations began to pick up in strength, the walls began to shake and Flash swore he heard something fall from behind them.
Just as Flash saw the steps that led outside, Kid Flash came to a full stop taking Flash by surprise. "Kid, what are yo-."
Wally cut in, "My dad, I don't know if he got out, I," he stopped, "I have to go back." he said, starting to pull away. Barry grabbed him, stopping Wally from running back.
"No. You can't go back there." everything around them rumbled again, a piece of the ceiling broke off hitting the ground three feet away from them. "It's too dangerous, your dad probably got out already." seeing that Wally hesitated, Flash grabbed both of his nephew's shoulders, "I'm not losing you again Kid." Flash could not tell if it was the ground's doing, but Wally shuddered.
"Okay." he whispered, "Okay." he said again, nodding. Flash gave a small smile before picking up his nephew, ignoring the yelp of surprise, and running the rest of the way out, just as another piece of earth fell in the same spot they had just been standing.
The others were already outside, all visibly relieved when Flash stepped outside. Without being told so, the Scarlet speedster set Wally back onto the ground, a hand on his shoulder to keep him study. Muffled explosions went off behind them, the ground rumbled beneath them as the entrance to the tunnels collapsed.
They stood in silence as they watched the ground that covered the labyrinth sink into the ground. Once the vibrations stop, Wally took a step forward, scanning the surrounding area. His voice broke as he opened his mouth to speak.
To be concluded
Final Thought: ROUND ROBIN, YUUUUM. Oh man, I'm not even sorry about how crappy this chapter is. BUT IT'S ALMOST OVER. PRAISE BATMAN.
You guessed it, this is unbeta'd and I didn't even bother looking it over for grammar or spelling mistakes. Look ma, improper sentence structure.
TIL THE NEXT AND FINAL CHAPTER, THIS IS FALLEN SAYING, stay classy readers.