This chapter SERIOUSLY diverges from cannon YJ. I'll explain why in the author's notes at the bottom.(1) I know they're long but they're super RELEVENT to the story.
They say that there's always some kind of sign of a coming storm. Upset animals, dark skies, even premonitions if you're of the psychic persuasion. Maybe I'm just unobservant, but in the days before the incident, I saw nothing. My world was still as topsy-turvy as ever, especially since Robin and I hadn't spoken since our fight, but nothing occurred that was ominous enough to indicate what was to come.
It happened on a weekend. I was due at the cave and help out with some tasks but I wanted to visit dad first. Uncle Barry drove me and waited in the lobby like he had last time while I walked down the bleak hallways that led to his room.
I didn't waste time, as Uncle Barry had things to do that day, I just sat down next to my father's bed and looked at him to try and gauge his awareness. It wasn't looking good.
"Hey dad," I said, holding his cold hand between my two warm ones.
Dad stirred a bit, his eyes open but his gaze vague and I smiled.
"I got the costume you had mom bring; it was perfect. I just wanted to come by and thank you." I paused, waiting for a reaction. I didn't really expect one but I couldn't help but hope.
It's no use, he's too far gone, sneered my crueler side. I brushed it off and continued to speak.
"You know, things are going really well for me. I umm…am doing well in English," I said with manufactured cheer.
Dad didn't react at all.
I sighed, breathing in the smell of hospital. I'd always hated that smell; I had no idea how dad could stand it.
"Okay, fine, I guess things could be better," I admitted, the fake happiness having worn too thin. "I mean, all things considered everything is good…Aside from the fact that best friend is really mad at me and I keep fighting with Aunt Iris and uncle Barry.
Mom managed to sell the house though at least, and she's working towards getting a new certification for work. It's just—I'm not living with her. She can't afford me, which makes sense but she acts like she's angry at me whenever she sees me—sorry, I shouldn't be telling you this. You need to hear about positive things. Um, let's see."
I dug deep, looking for something cheerful to tell him. It was hard in this depressing ward. I'd brought him a card and some balloons to liven the place up but it was like putting shiny bells and whistles on a rusty old bicycle. It didn't really fix the image, it just added something pretty to it.
"Oh! I might be transferring schools. I want to try and graduate highschool early and I have it worked out so I can switch to a school that will allow that. My advisor says I'm getting close to the point where I can apply, but they need mom to sign off on it. I'll have to get her on board somehow. She won't mind, right? You two were always going on about how I should take my education more seriously."
I paused in my monologue to watch my dad. His eyes were still open and his gaze was still unfocused.
I chuckled bitterly.
"It's funny. We haven't talked in months, not really, and now I'm telling you more than I've told you in forever and I'm not even sure if you can hear me."
I wanted to kick myself for speaking such a harsh thought and frowned guiltily.
"Sorry, I didn't mean it like that, it's just…we've both been so busy. Our schedules just haven't lined up, but that's no excuse. I should have made time. I mean, gosh, I spend so much time around people who don't even have parents and I still blow mine off? I guess I'm a bit narrow-sighted, huh?"
I scuffed my toes against the ground, clutching my dad's hand.
"You'd probably tell me not to be so down on myself or something. You're cool like that."
I paused again, trying to figure out what I should say.
"Remember that time when mom wouldn't sign up for tee-ball and you signed me up anyway? And how you supported me when everyone else didn't want me involved in my—my extracurriculars? You've always believed in me. Even though you tell me I have my head in the clouds and all that, you always knew I could do better, which is why you've always pushed me so hard. At least, I think that's why."
I looked at my dad seriously.
"It kinda sucks that I can't ask you. You need to hurry up and get better, okay? I miss having you around."
Dad didn't reply, and I was out of words. I sat there for about twenty minutes, wishing he would look at me before I finally gave up.
"I have to go now. Bye, dad."
I let go of his rough, clammy hand and stood up, shoving my hands in my pockets as I walked away.
My sneakered feet moved squeakily across the tiled floor I turned to look at my dad one last time only to see him vanish, literally vanish before my eyes.
"Dad?!" I asked my eyes widening as I ran over to his bed.
Four heart monitors flat lined simultaneously and looked around the room and realized that all the patients had vanished. My heart thumped in my chest. What was this? Was this a new side effect of the venom? I felt the bed to make sure my dad hadn't just gone invisible, but no. He was gone. I heard loud screeches and crashes coming from outside and I turned and ran to the lobby.
I sprinted into the waiting room but it was empty. Completely empty. There was no receptionist, no visitors, no one.
"Uncle Barry?!" I yelled. When nothing happened I pulled out my phone and tried to call him, but it just rang and rang with no response.
I looked around the rehab center. Where was everyone?
I ran back through the halls, opening random doors but no one was there. No doctor, no nurses, no patients, and no visitors. The place was empty.
I took a shaky breath and rushed out to the parking lot and waited by the car, pulling out my communicator I sent and emergency transmission to the cave.
"Anyone there?" I asked anxiously.
"Robin, here," I heard my friend say.
"Robin, you need to call Batman. Everyone in the rehab center just disappeared!I don't know what happened, and I can't get a hold of Flash."
"It's not just you, the same thing happened here in the cave with Zatara, Batman, and Red Tornado."
"Are you serious?" I asked, shocked.
Suddenly I heard screaming coming from the highway.
I rushed over to the road and gasped when I realized where the screeching I'd heard earlier had come from. Every car on the highway had crashed. Some were piled up in a large hunk of metal, others were trapped in ditches, and still others were smashed against the guardrails across the road.
"Rob," I chocked as I found the source of the screaming. A girl around my age had stumbled out of the wreckage and was covered in blood.
"It's everyone. All the cars on the highways…the driver's vanished. There's a girl though…my age. I think—I think it's only some people that are vanishing.
"You need to get to the cave," said Robin.
"No," I said firmly. "I need to stay in Central. There's people dying on the highway right now…Robin, it's bad. I have to stay."
"Understood," said Robin, "we'll keep in touch, try to set up a shelter for the kids, we'll do the same here."
I smashed out the window of my uncle's car without hesitation and broke in. The alarm blared and I quickly hotwired it to silence it and get the gears moving.
The engine sprang to life under my prying hands and I took a second to throw on the spare goggles I kept in my backpack. There was a spare jacket of my uncle's lying in the back as well so I took it and put it on. The disguise was poor, but it would have to do. I drove as best as I could out of the parking lot and onto the highway. It was nearly impossible to make it through the wreckage. I had to alternate between driving on the road's shoulder and going between cars, careful to avoid runaway wheels and shards of metal. Running would have been faster but I could tell at once that this girl needed a hospital.
I stopped the car by the bloody girl, got out, and ran to her.
"Are you okay?!" I asked, going to her. There was glass on her face and she was slumped on her side.
"Where's my mom?" she whimpered.
"I don't know. Was there anyone else in the car with you?"
"My sister," said the girl tearfully.
I went pale and peered into the back seat of the car. There was a five year old, strapped to a car seat with glass in her face. Blood was pouring down her chubby little cheeks and I felt fear grip me. I leaped into the car and checked for a pulse, on to the girl. I held my breath as I waited for a sign of life, only breathing when I felt one. I wrenched the car seat out of the car, girl and all, and set it gently on the road. The child didn't stir.
"How old are you?" I asked the older girl.
"Fifteen," she said, gasping in pain. "Will she be alright?"
"She's breathing," I told her. "I think she'll be fine. We need to keep her in the car seat until she wakes up though, I don't know if she's injured or not."
The girl nodded, still crying.
"Where are you hurt?" I asked, taking a look at her. Blood was pouring from her face and she was shaking.
I looked down at it and saw that it had a funny bend to it. I grimaced.
"Anywhere else?" I asked.
She shook her head.
I was about to give her further instructions when a pickup truck came towards us, the driver rolling the window down as she approached.
"Are you guys okay?" asked a girl who was just a hair older than me. Her car had a huge dent in it but it looked fine otherwise.
"These two are hurt. Did you call 911?"
"They won't pick up!" said Linda frantically.
I frowned. That was never a good sign.
"Can you take them to the hospital then?" I asked.
"Of course!" said the girl, "but, what's going on?!"
"I don't know. All the drivers just vanished."
The girl looked scared and confused but she set her jaw.
"Alright, get in the car."
"Actually, can you help these two get in? I want to see if there's anyone else you can take with you."
The girl nodded and got out to help the two by the roadside.
"Don't take the little kid out of the car seat, she might be injured and we don't want to jostle her."
I got another nod and I used my superspeed to run up the road. I checked through windows for signs of life and my heart skipped a beat when I saw a crunched up minivan. There were no adults in the car, just three children in the back seats. I tried to open the door, but I couldn't so I ran to the passenger side and smashed a window, crawling into the vehicle. I almost threw up at what I saw. There was a boy who looked to be around nine years old. He was wearing a Batman tee-shirt that was soaked with blood. I chocked back a sob as I checked his pulse. I knew it was no use though, it was obvious just by looking at him that his neck was broken.
A tear slipped down my cheek as I moved onto a toddler. The child's lips were blue and there was no pulse on her either. With trembling hands I moved onto the third child, a little preschool boy with a stuffed rabbit tucked under the seatbelt next to him. I knew before I checked that it was a lost cause because the boy's eyes were as glassy and blank as the toy's. I had to try though.
My fingers met, liefeless, flesh and I couldn't help but scream at the injustice of it all. My shoulders shook twice with anguish before I stifled my cries. I had to keep moving, no matter how much it hurt I had to focus on who was alive. There were civilians who needed me.
I said a prayer of thanks as I passed by three empty cars but my heart fell out of my chest when I found another car with a child in it. I wrenched open the door and almost wept with joy when I saw two twin boys around Robin's age who was knocked out, but breathing.
I rushed back to the pickup truck in super speed.
"You're Kid Flash?" asked the driver in shock.
"Yeah," I said excitedly. "And I just found two survivors, we need to be careful about how we move them so I'll need your help…uh?"
"Linda," said the girl. "Linda Parks."
"Come on then, Linda, let's go." I rushed on ahead and led her to where the boys were. I quickly taught her how to properly transfer injured people and the two of us carefully maneuvered the kids out of the car and into the back of her pickup truck.
There was still room for more so I charged down the road again. I found four cars that were completely empty and then one with a baby. The child was wailing his lungs out and I grinned in relief.
"Hey, baby," I said, gently removing the infant from the car seat and cradling him in my arms. "I've got you." The baby's cries quieted, but he was still whimpering softly.
I went carefully back to where Linda was waiting and all at once my mind made the connection.
"Linda!" I called. The girl rushed over and looked down at the baby anxiously.
"How old are you?" I asked sharply.
"Seventeen," she said, "is that baby okay?"
"I think the baby should be fine, don't jostle him too much just in case though.
"I won't," said Linda, gently taking the baby from my arms.
"Listen, Linda, I think I've figured out what happened."
"What?" she asked.
"Every car I've been in has had children and teens in it but I can't find any adults anywhere."
"So all the adult on the highway just disappeared?" she asked, looking scared.
"It's not just here. I got a call from a friend and apparently it's everywhere."
"Everywhere?!" Linda shrieked and the baby began to cry again.
"Shhh, it's okay," she whispered, still clearly panicked.
"It looks like it," I said grimly.
"Then—then how are we supposed to help the injured?" she asked.
"Just do the best you can," I said.
"But—but what if they need surgery."
I looked at her seriously.
"Linda, listen to me. There—there's a likelihood that some of the kids will die, some of them are already dead."
Linda's breath hitched.
"I'm so sorry, but it's true. I've seen ten dead kids already, if any of the survivors you rescue die, you need to be brave and do what you can to keep the others alive."
The girl nodded tearfully.
"I'm going to check for more survivors. Take care of the others."
I ran back and searched through more cars. I found a boy my age who was sobbing over his dead friend and it took both me and Linda to get him into the pick up truck. We found a preteen boy next. I could tell by the way he acted that he wasn't thinking clearly.
"I'm hungry. We were supposed to be stopping to get something to eat, but then the lights came and now there's no one to drive," he babbled.
"My brothers sleep through the whole thing of course."
His speech was slurred and her eyes weren't in focus. I wondered if he'd suffered from head trauma.
"You need to come with us," I told the boy. "Can you get out of the car?"
He stumbled, but succeeded and I supported him to the truck.
"What about my brothers?" he asked
"They—they're not doing well," Linda lied. "The ambulance will come and get them, but you need to come with us."
"Mom always says I have to watch them when she and Dad aren't around," he insisted. "I can't leave. They might run out into the street." Linda and I looked at each other.
"We'll take them with us then," she said, choking on her tears. With trembling hands the pair of us picked up the limp corpses of the boy's siblings and loaded them into the truck. Satisfied, the boy climbed in after them, and held each of their hands.
"Don't worry, Derek, we'll get you a Band-Aid for that cut on your neck. You can have one too, Jake. You're covered in blood. Have you been picking your scabs again?"
Linda put a hand to her mouth as tears ran down her face.
I put a hand on her sholder
"I think that's about all your truck can fit. Go to clinic down the road and start treating the injured. Send any able bodied kids you have to the apartment complex near there to find more children. Call all of your friends and tell them to do the same. We need as many people in on this as possible."
I squeezed her shoulder once before letting go.
"Now go, you can do this."
The girl hugged me briefly and whispered in my ear, her voice wavering.
"Whoever did this—I know you heroes have a rule against this sort of thing but please, if you find who did this you kill them."
I patted her back grimly.
I would find who did this and make them reverse it. As for killing them? I felt a dark hatred fill my heart as I thought of the angelic faces, cold with death and the missing parents that were bound to be screaming with agony when they realized what had happened.
"I will find who did this," I growled. "Be brave. Save the kids."
She left and I called Seemore the second the kids could no longer hear me.
When he picked up there was panic in his voice.
"Wally!" I'm freaking out! My parents just disappeared and four cars just crashed outside but there's no one in them, but there's this kid who is hurt and I can't get a hold of 911!"
"Seemore," I said firmly. "Calm down. All the adults have vanished. This is a massive crisis so you need to step up. I need you to call everyone you know, everyone in your phone list who isn't an adult. Tell them to start gathering up the kids in their neighborhoods keep everyone together and take care of them. Get everyone who can drive to go around the city and pick up all the kids they can. Do you understand?"
"Yes, but…where will we put all the kids?"
"Take them to hospitals, schools, gymnasiums, anywhere safe and warm. Can you do that?"
"Y—Yes," said Seemore, his voice growing strong.
"Good. Call Jinx and everyone else you can think of get them on board. We need all the help we can get."
"What about you?" asked Seemore.
"I'm on the highway," I gulped. "It's—it's not pretty, there are dead kids everywhere."
"No," Seemore gasped.
"This," I swallowed. "This is bad. Seemore, and from what I can tell it's happening everywhere. We need to stay strong and save everyone we can. It's too late for a lot of children, but there are so many more that are alive and need our help. We need to save them. Can you help me, Seemore?"
"I will do everything in my power to help, Wally."
"Good. Get going, I have more kids to round up."
I hung up before frowning down at my phone. Who knew how long the phones and power would last. Even if Seemore did get in a few calls there was no way to guarantee that all—or even some of the kids in this city would be on the same page, never mind the rest of the affected area.
I racked my brains before I came to a conclusion.
I sprinted to the zeta beam and went straight into the cave, trying not to think of all the innocents I was leaving behind. I had no choice though I couldn't save everyone myself, I needed backup.
"KF!" Robin said.
"We need to send out a coordinated message to all the kids," I said, skidding to a halt in front of the boy.
"Your timing's perfect, Kaldur and I were just about to send out a transmission. Suit up."
I zipped to my room and threw on my costume before zipping back.
"What's the scale of this disaster?" I asked right before we started the transmission.
"World wide," said Robin.
I felt dread fill me and I tried hard to focus as we gave the transmission. Every moment we spent in the cave was a moment we weren't rescuing children, but this was important. I couldn't do this all myself, heck the team couldn't do it all themselves. This…this was massive. If we wanted to maximize rescues we had to get as many people on board as possible. I spoke with conviction, letting the people know the gravity of the situation, though I didn't get too grim. If I told them what the real situation was there would be panic.
As soon as we ended the transmission I looked to Robin and Kaldur.
"Not good. There's adults missing all over the planet, planes are falling out of the sky left and right, major traffic accidents have caused more deaths than we can even hope to estimate, and massive fires are breaking out all over the world from all the adults who were using stoves when they vanished. With no firemen around they're spreading like crazy, entire city streets are being destroyed as we speak," said Robin. "Zatanna is working on a locator spell to find the source of this insanity, but…" he shook his head.
My stomach clenched with horror.
"If all that is going on why are we all staning around here?!" I cried.
"Think, Kid," said Robin. "We can't possibly handle every castastrophe. Artemis, M'gann, and Superboy are doing the best they can helping out in the community but we need to focus on getting the adults back."
I took a breath, "I know, I'm sorry I just—"
"I know," said Robin quietly.
My eyes narrowed.
"Do we have any idea who is responsible?"
"Zatanna says it would have to be magic at a level that's completely off the scale. Only a ridiculously powerful sorcerer, or more likely group of sorcerers could do this."
Magic. Why is it always magic? Man. I think…I think we might need Fate.
Robin's gauntlet beeped and the moment he looked down his face went pale.
"What happened?" I asked urgently.
"A—A plane crashed into a nuclear power plant in Alabama. It's bad."
"Mushroom cloud bad?" I whispered.
"Yes," said the boy.
I set my jaw as a sickening clarity filled me and in that instant I realized what had to be done.
"So what are we doing?" I asked trying to keep my cool despite the fact that blood was being shoved through my veins by my frantic heart, which begged me to reconsider.
Kaldur stepped forward, his face blank, like a soldier's.
"In the case of a nuclear explosion there is not much we can do. The rest of the team is out helping rescue children in Happy Harbor, you may return to Central to lead rescue relief there until we figure out the source of all this."
"Noted," I said with a nod. "I'm going to grab something from my room then I'll be off again."
I turned and sprinted to the trophy room afraid that if Robin saw my face he would know what I was planning and I knew I couldn't let myself be talked out of what I was about to do.
I paused as I entered the room and slowly approached the Helmet of Fate. I stared into the golden metal, my heart pounding.
If I put this on, there's no going back... He almost didn't let Aqualad go the last time. I will essentially be dead to everyone I know.
I knew it had to be done though. Every moment we waited was a moment a child's life was in danger. Fires were spreading with no firemen, crashing planes were wreaking havoc, injuries were piling up with no doctors to treat them…the world was ending. I couldn't let that happen.
I rested a hand against the cool metal.
I wish I could see if fate could help with this though. It would be a waste to sacrifice my life needlessly.
The helmet glowed abruptly and I suddenly found myself in the blank mindscape of the helmet.
"What?! I didn't even put the helmet on!" I said, startled. Agony filled me. I had been snared before I could even brace for it, my body stolen before I could breath one last, controlled breath.
Relief filled me as Kent Nelson appeared before me.
"The helmet just borrowed your consciousness to talk. He can't control you."
I sighed in relief, then prepared to explain the situation.
"I can see the events of what happened in the forefront of your mind, and I know what has occurred," the voice of Fate said, echoing through the mindscape.
"You do?" I asked with wide eyes.
"Yes, I can sense the magic even in this form. Klarion has split the world into two dimensions, one with all the adults and one with all the children."
"So Zatara and the League can fix this?" I asked, feeling joy creep into me.
"Why?" It was a simple question, but it was filled with my confusion. The League could do anything why not this?
"We can destroy the source of the spell, but the world will be in ruin. Children everywhere will be dead, parents will riot, destruction will run rampant with no one to fix it. Governments will fall."
"Is there a way to reverse the spell to the point that none of this ever happened?" I asked desperately.
"It can be done. This break in reality is unstable. There is an incantation that will cause the current realities to unravel and reset. But this can only with the full power of the helmet. As it is the helmet is currently being split between two worlds, without its full power we can only hope to destroy the spell, not undo it."
"How can we get the other half?" I asked urgently.
"Once you put on the helmet I can track down the one who can transport between worlds."
I looked up at the ceiling suspiciously.
"Are you selling me snake oil here?"
"He's not," Kent assured me, leaning on his cane with a dark expression on his face. "But I doubt he will release you once he has you."
"But my body is one of science, so it's unfit," I said. I mean, yeah, I was willing to make the sacrifice but I might as well at least try and bargain for my life.
"It does not matter," Fate's voice boomed. "Over the span of a few years my magic can make you fit."
I thought frantically.
"What if I put you on temporarily and then find you someone with a healthy body, but no way to use it. Say, someone in a coma. You could communicate with them and, if they consent, they could put your helmet on. Would that work?" I asked.
"Such a body would take time and magic to be made fully functional…"
"Well it'll take even longer if you sit on a shelf waiting for someone to be desperate enough to put you on. Gosh it's no wonder no one lets you possess them, you don't let people have a life!"
"The balance of the universe is more important than a single life," said Fate haughtily.
"If that's true then why are you so fixated on your own?"
There was silence.
"He has a point," said Kent, an amused smirk stretching over his wrinkled face.
"I am the embodiment of order and peace, I am—"
"The opposite of Klarion, who would be more than willing to sacrifice people for his cause. If you want peace you can't yourself be a tyrant who forces others to follow your will. Now answer the question. Will you or will you not possess me only until you find a willing host who would not otherwise be able to live and participate in life without your power?"
There was a pause and the air around me grew charged with electricity. My breath caught in my chest and my skin tingled.
"It is agreed," said the voice as it boomed more than before.
"That was a magical promise," said Kent, smiling at me approvingly. "Good job, kid, I think you may have found a permanent solution to the "bodily host" problem."
"Enough chatter, put on the helmet," Fate commanded.
The connection broke and I found myself standing in front of the helmet.
"Kid?" asked a voice.
I turned and saw Kaldur standing in the doorway, watching me.
I smiled at him.
"If this ends badly, tell Flash to open my old piggy bank. There's a flash drive in it that—says some things I'd want to say if things go bad."
My sweaty hands gripped the helmet and Kaldur leapt forward, trying to grab me.
"Kid!" he shouted.
The helmet slid onto my head and I felt Fate take hold.
I looked through the bleak mindscape for Kent and found him instantly. It wasn't exactly hard seeing as there was nothing else to look at in here.
"So…it's lively as always in here," I said awkwardly. My heart was still racing at the leap I'd taken but I knew I'd made the right decision.
Kent laughed and waved his cane. The mindscape reformed into an old living room with bookshelves and a crystal ball.
"I liked to come here when Fate used to possess me," said Kent happily. "It's the home of my old mentor, where I first met my Inza."
"It's nice," I said, wishing I could see what was going on outside of my body.
Kent smiled walked over to a mahogany side table. An enormous crystal ball was resting on it and he tapped it with his cane. The crystal let out a resonating note and an image began to form within the orb.
"I watch the outside world through this," Kent explained, "though something tells me your generation might prefer…"
Kent conjured an enormous television.
An image filled the screen and I saw Kaldur glaring at the camera—no, I was seeing this through my body's eyes so it was technically me—wait, no I was being possessed so he was glaring at Fate…Gosh this was a mess.
I sat down wearily on a couch Kent had created and the old man took a seat in an armchair.
"You will have him back in due time. For now we must locate the one called Billy Batson," Fate was telling the team leader.
Fate swept from the room and it was like watching someone else play a POV video game. I could see the halls and where I was going, but it was all disconnected because I wasn't the one controlling things.
Fate walked into the main room where Robin was diligently working on a computer.
"Gather your friends," said the voice of Fate.
Robin jumped and turned around. His arms dropped to his sides and his mask grew crinkled as his forehead creased.
"KF," he whispered. I couldn't see his eyes behind the mask but I knew he was incredibly upset.
"I have instructions for you so listen well, child of Gotham."
"No! You give Kid Flash back!" he yelled.
"The boy and I have struck a deal. He has put on the helmet and I will remain in control of his body until I find a more suitable host. Now, listen."
I watched as Fate ordered Robin and Kaldur to send everyone out to look for Billy Batson who was, apparently, Captain Marvel's civilian identity. His ten-year-old civilian identity. He was brought to the cave within half an hour and he soon popped into the other dimension to relay Fate's instructions to the League. When he returned he was holding the other dimension's version of the helmet of Fate, which vanished the moment it materialized and synched with the version I was wearing.
"Now, we must coordinate our attack. I need Zatara in position to read this incantation." Fate conjured a scroll and handed it to Billy. "Tell him that he will start casting on my signal."
Billy vanished again. He popped back and forth a few more times before everyone was ready to go.
I watched Fate travel with the team and turned to Kent when I realized things would be pretty dull for a few minutes.
"How did you live like this for so many years?" I asked.
"Nabu and I had a special contract. I could take the helmet off for brief periods of time to live my life so long as I continued to train my magic while he was lying dormant. And the helmet was never to leave my side. I had to keep it within so many yards or it would come soaring through the air and smack into me."
I smiled a little at the image of the helmet flying through the air and smacking a young Kent Nelson in the head.
"Sounds like Thor's hammer," I said.
"Pardon?" asked the old man, his antique suit crinkling as he leaned towards me.
"It's from a comic book," I said with a shrug.
Kent chuckled and muttered "Kids."
I leaned into the cushions of the couch and felt the softness of them.
"How do you manage to conjur all this up?" I asked, my fingers tracing the floral print of the couch.
"It takes practice," said Kent. "Nabu guided me through it. Humans grow anxious, even distraught, in blank mindscapes such as the one you saw. He tries to ensure the comfort of his host."
"Probably so their panic doesn't distract him," I scoffed.
"Fate isn't deliberately cruel," Kent told me. "It's just that he hasn't been in touch with the human world enough lately to keep things in perspective. It's good you came back, because he really needed a reality check and he wouldn't listen to me."
I nodded and curled up on the couch, thinking.
"Do you think he'll really be able to undo what happened?" I asked.
"Yes," said Kent with a nod. "I believe that with the full power of the helmet it is indeed possible, especially because you put it on so soon. Had you waited, it would have taken far longer to organize the assault. The power of the spell would have solidified to the point where you have no choice but to break the flow rather than reverse the spell."
"So how does that work? He somehow connects to the time stream and prevents the spell from ever occurring, thus deleting the two realities? If that's the case how will I, or even Fate, remember our deal?"
"This is not science, Wally," said Kent, sitting up straight as a board in his armchair, "it is magic. Everyone within the immediate vicinity of Fate when he reverses the spell will remember. For everyone else, it will be like this never happened. Some mystically sensitive individuals may have a few nightmares but order will be restored overall."
"Good. I'd do anything to save those kids, even alter reality."
"Reality had been altered," Kent corrected. "Fate is rectifying that."
"If Fate wasn't able to step in what would have happened?" I asked.
"Well, as Fate predicted, there would be mass destruction and chaos, but there would be even greater consequences. What is going on in this reality is drastically different from what is going on in the other reality. Klarion would have had to cease the spell eventually and when the two dimensions reconnected both realities would fight for dominance. A burning city block would fight for space with a normal city block and anomalies would occur everywhere. Magic would hold the universes together but there would be tears in reality that would invite more chaos. The world and the people in it would rip itself apart until the world is no longer as we know it." (2)
"Geeze, is that all?" I asked, uneasily.
"It would have taken several years of course, but by cooperating with Fate you have untimately saved the planet."
"It seems to me like Fate's doing the saving," I said with a snort.
"It's your body," Kent pointed out.
I shrugged and settled back to watch the television—scratch that—the imaginary construct of a television that allowed us to see what Fate was seeing.
The team caused a distraction by fighting with Klarion and with his cat, which had managed to turn into a tiger, long enough for fate to appear and steal the gem. Billy vanished then reappeared shouting that Zatarra was ready. Fate told him to tell Zatarra to begin. Then he started chanting. The words were strange and ancient and I felt the magic shudder through my body, like an electric shock.
"Magic never felt unpleasant for me," said Kent, clearly feeling it as well. "I suppose it's because I'm predisposed to magic."
I only half-heard him, I was so focused on what was going on in the outside world. The scene in front of me was warping as the words grew louder. A blinding light consumed everything and when it dissipated I saw…
"That's my Dad!" I said in shock.
My body was back in the rehab center.
"The spell was a success, the world reverted back to the way it was before reality split, meaning you're right where you started."
"But…won't Klarion just do it all again? Did we just create a time loop?!" I asked, panicked.
"No," said Kent, shaking his head. "Fate took the gem, Klarion remembers his defeat and he used so much power in that spell it ended up weakening him temporarily. He will not be trying anything on a large scale for a while."
"Good. Okay, Fate, let's find you a body."
"This one will do," said Fate, echoing through the imaginary television.
I glanced at the screen and laughed.
"Umm…Fate, that's my Dad, and he's not in a coma. He's able to use his body."
"His health is rapidly deteriorating, I sense that he will die soon," Fate said in a matter-of-fact tone.
The words left me speechless. I swallowed.
"N—No, he's going to get better," I said. "Seriously, you don't want him, he's overweight and old and it's not like he's mystically inclined."
"That is where you're wrong," said Fate.
"Excuse me?" I asked in disbelief.
"He is in his late thirties, with work he can become fit, and he is indeed mystically inclined. His powers have remained dormant however as he has never been exposed to a mystic artifact."
I stood up from the couch as I began to panic.
"You must be wrong! This is my Dad we're talking about. He doesn't have a magical bone in his body!"
"His aura tells a different story," said Fate, gesturing at my Dad. It was then that I saw a faint, green and white glow surrounding my father, interspersed with golden bursts of light.
No way, no freaking way. This isn't real it's totally not real.
"He's still not a good candidate! He has a life!"
"A life that he threw away for drugs. A life that, without the helmet's assistance, will soon come to an end."
"He's not dying!" I shouted frantically. "He's not!"
Fate suddenly channeled his magic and I saw through his eyes that he'd blocked the door with a force field. My Uncle appeared in the doorway and started pounding on it. I realized that he must've been helping the League on the adult side of the offensive, must have remembered what was going on.
"You promised me I could pick out a willing host who would not be able to live a life without my aid. I have found a host that meets one of the requirements, if he meets the other you will have no more to say on the matter," said Fate.
Fate reached for my father and suddenly the "television" went blank.
"Wait! What just happened? What's he doing?!" I asked.
"He's talking to your father," said Kent grimly.
"He won't say yes, he won't," I said, beginning to pace. "He can't, I need him!"
Kent stood up and put a hand on my shoulder.
"Whatever happens, I will be here to help," he promised.
I clutched at my hair only the sensation wasn't the same sharp feeling I was used to when I did this, it was duller somehow. I remembered then that I wasn't really a physical entity right now, just a construct of thoughts in the form of my usual body. My real body was being possessed. Was my dad about to be condemned to this? To live on fake sensations and a life of watching Fate live for him while he was left alone with no one but Kent?
Kent patted my back kindly.
"Kid, I'm going to tell you this because no one else will, but it isn't that bad, it really isn't. If your dad agrees his life isn't over. In fact, if he choses to, he can strengthen his connection with Fate so he feels more connected to his body and can feel the sensations Fate feels. He will be able to engage in his surroundings, even if he's not in control of his actions. It will be alright."
"No it won't!" I shouted, knocking Kent's hand off my shoulder.
"This is all my fault, if I'd never put on the stupid helmet…"
"Then the world would be in shambles right now," said Kent sharply. "You may not like this but Fate, in his own twisted way, is trying to do you a favor. He saw your dad's health and saw that he doesn't have long. He's trying to save him and if I know Nabu, and I should think I do after all these years, he's doing it for you."
"Dad's not dying!" I protested.
"And you're in denial."
The words struck me hard and I clenched my teeth.
"He won't agree," I growled.
"He did agree," the voice of Nabu echoed and the living room dissolved.
I was back in the mindscape only this time—this time Dad was here.
"Dad! Get out of here! You don't know what you're agreeing to!" I said desperately.
"Fate connected with me, Wally. I know everything. I know what you did today, I know the sacrifice you were prepared to make, and—and I know that my alternative to this is dying and I don't want that Wally. I want to be there for you even—even if it's not quite me, I want to be there, son."
"Dad," I choked, my sadness causing tears to flow down my face.
Dad crossed walked forward and hugged me. It wasn't solid, like a physical hug, but rather like our minds were brushing. I could sense love, pride and sorrow from him and I knew he could sense how much I didn't want him to go.
"Don't leave," I begged.
"I've already gone, Wally. At least this way I get to remain in some form."
"I'll find a cure," I promised, "I'll find a cure so Fate can't possess you anymore!"
"It's fine Wally. Don't worry about all that, just know that I love you, tell your mom I love her too."
"I can no longer maintain each of your consciousness's and the shield to keep Flash out. It is time!"
I felt Nabu leave me, felt the helmet in my hands, but before I'd regained full control Nabu used his last influence over me to force me to slip the helmet over my Father's head.
"No!" I screamed as the shield keeping my uncle out dropped and my father transformed into Fate.
"Do not be alarmed," said Fate, binding me with his magic as I tried to tackle him and rip the helmet off. "I will cast a spell to fool the others at this facility, it will be like he transferred to a new rehabilitation center. I will delete the footage from the camera too. No one will be aware of your identity or your father's."
"Please, Fate," I begged, now sobbing as I tried to break the binds. "Don't do this."
"He agreed," said Fate and a pulse of magic flowed through the air before Fate vanished.
The binds on me disappeared and my uncle rushed to my side.
"Wally!" he asked frantically. "What happened?"
I just stared at the wall, tears falling down my face.
(1)In the episode "Misplaced" it shows cars crashing as the adults vanish from behind the wheel. In reality this would mean massive pile ups on every roadway in the area. On highways this would mean cars slamming into each other at sixty miles an hour and not braking as no one is controlling the pedals. Planes would fall from the sky without their pilots. Every child in intensive care or in surgery would stop receiving treatment and die. House fires would break out everywhere as adults who were in the process of cooking would vanish, leaving their food to burn. There would be massive casualties and the public would have a revolution the moment they realized what had happened to all of their children. There would be riots in the street and chaos that reaches farther than anyone is prepared for.
I do believe governments would collapse because there would be rioting and looting going on because all the destruction going on would have a HUGE impact on resources and shelter available to people. There would also be demand for justice and the public would likely turn against anything supernatural leading to a quite literal witch-hunt against magical individuals and anything else that seems like it could have caused so many children to die. The resulting madness would be too much for government to control and there would be a complete breakdown of authority.
(2)Okay, first of all, I got a lot of my info on the kind of crap that happens when two universes collide from the show "Fringe" I just changed the results a bit because it's magic at work here, not science. The apocalypse Kent just predicted is the one you see in Bart's timeline, where the Reach took over. In my story the rips in reality cause enough chaos for the Reach to take control of the planet and destroy the Justice League. Wally's actions in putting on the Helmet of Fate essentially change the DC universe the show is set in because it completely changes what the future WOULD have been. So basically we're entering AU territory here. I'm still going to follow some of the cannon storylines but just know the future is now different.
(3) I know I'm a terrible person, but once you wrap your mind around the fact that I completely tore apart cannon (with good reason), you have to admit that Rudy West as Dr. Fate is not the worst plot twist in the world.