A/N: This story is a work in progress. I've been trying to keep those off this site, but it's stalled and stubbornly refused to get going again. I'm editing it and putting it up here now in the hopes that the editing process will jump start my muse again.
I'd like to take a second to tell everyone about the Runaway National Switchboard at http:/ www. 1800runaway. org/ or 1-800-RUNAWAY. They have 24 hour call services, and are in place to anonymously help teens who are considering or have run away. If that's you or someone you know please call them; they're there to help.
Warnings: child abuse, child neglect, implied sexual abuse, violence
Your name is Wally Hayes. You are four years old. You live with your mommy at new Uncle Brad's house in Metropolis. Uncle Brad sells adult candy. A lot of people come over to buy Uncle Brad's candy, and your mommy really likes it. You think it must be really good.
One day your mommy eats a lot of candy and gets a tummy ache. She goes to sleep and Uncle Brad gets really mad at her.
She's still sleeping when Uncle Brad takes the two of you on a car ride.
He pushes you and mommy out of the car. Mommy still doesn't wake up.
A lot of people come around. It's scary. You try and hide behind your mommy, but someone picks you up. You yell, and scream, and cry, but they don't let you go.
Someone puts a jacket over your mommy's head.
It's the last you ever see of her.
Your name is Wally (Hayes) Sullivan. You live with Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, and five other foster children. The grownups say your mommy is gone. That she isn't ever coming back. At first you think they're lying. Mommy came back for you (when she forgot you) when you got lost at the park. Mommy will come back and get you now.
Shannon is one of the older girls that live with the Sullivan's. She's really smart. One day you ask her what foster means. She says it's what they call kids that no one wants.
Mommy doesn't come and get you. You start wetting your bed. You stop talking.
Your name is Wally (Sullivan) Bailey.
Your name is Wally (Bailey) Cooper.
You wish they had all been liars.
Your name is Wally (Cooper) Sanchez.
You start talking again. You start yelling. Screaming. Crying. Flailing.
You stop getting food. Sometimes dinner, sometimes breakfast, sometimes lunch.
When you do get food one of the older boys always tries to take it. It's your food.
Your name is Wally (Sanchez) Murphy. The Murphy's live in New Jersey where people talk funny.
You're six years old. You start going to school. They put you with kids your age so you're in first grade.
It's confusing. All the other kids seem to know more than you do.
It's horrible. The other kids are mean. They all know each other, and you're new and different. They tease you about your hair, and your freckles, and when they learn about it they tease you about the free lunches you get at school (you've started taking some of it home with you, in case you stop getting dinner again).
It's wonderful. Your teacher's name is Ms. Green. She says you're special. Sometimes during recess you stay inside and she shows you things you couldn't understand during class. She teaches you how to read and write, how to add and subtract and she teaches you about science. She says science is her favorite subject. You decide it's your favorite subject too.
When school ends you have to say goodbye to Ms. Green. She promises that even when you're in second grade you can still come and visit her during recess.
Your name is Wally (Murphy) Crawford. You live in Gotham.
You've heard about Gotham before. In other places kids tell stories about Gotham to scare each other. In Gotham kids tell the stories so they know what to do. They tell you how to hold your breath when people scream or laugh a certain way. They tell you which places smell like fish all the time, and which don't. They tell you what grass you really don't want to walk on, which flowers you don't want to pick. They tell you to be nice to cats, and give them bits of food when you can, because the cats remember and sometimes they'll help you back. They tell you about Batman, and how he tries to save everyone even though he can't.
You've heard about people like Mr. Crawford too. Mr. Crawford likes belts, and closets that have locks on them. He doesn't like it when kids do something wrong. Mr. Crawford is strict; someone is always doing something wrong.
Jake is the oldest foster kid. At first you're afraid of him. He's bigger, and stronger, and it wouldn't take much for him to hurt you; but Jake is good. He finds food when you aren't given any, and makes sure everyone has some. Sometimes when Mr. Crawford is really mad he makes sure it's at him.
Jake says the foster part doesn't matter. He says you're siblings, and siblings watch out for each other. For you, in Gotham, in the Crawford house, Jake is Batman. He isn't always there, and he can't always save you, but he tries anyway.
You get second place in the science fair. Jake forges Mr. Crawford's signature, and sneaks you out so you can go. He tells you one day science will get you out of the system.
Mr. Crawford finds out.
Your name is Wally (Crawford) Freeman (you think it's ironic, you don't feel very free).
You have to change school in the middle of the year. They're learning different things here, but science is still your favorite subject, and science is still your way out. You spend your recess in the library looking at all the science books.
Your name is Wally (Freeman) Webb. You are eight years old.
They decide that there's something wrong with you.
They try and give you pills to fix it, but you can't swallow them and when you do they make you feel funny, like someone else is walking in your body. It makes you mad. Everything always gets taken away from you. You don't want them to take this too.
It makes you so mad that one day you take your body back, and bite Ms. Webb's hand when she tries to put the pill in your mouth.
Your name is (Wally Webb) Wallace. You live in a group home with twenty five other boys.
Your first night there some of the other boys sneak into your room and beat you until you're black and blue.
They keep on giving you pills. You don't like them any more than you did the last ones but if you don't take these they tie you up to the bed and leave you there without food or water.
You stay there for seven months.
Your name is (Wallace) Wally Rivera. You live in Central City, home of The Flash.
It isn't long before The Flash is your favorite superhero. He's awesome. He fights bad guys and saves the day and he still has time for everybody, even for kids like you. Heck, even for his villains. Plus, on top of all of that, The Flash likes science. He says he uses it to help him catch the bad guys.
Whenever things go bad, which is a lot, you escape with science. You learn more and more about it. In your head you pretend you're using it to help The Flash with the latest supervillain or alien invasion.
Your name is Wally (Rivera) Davis. You are ten years old.
You're bigger than you used to be. Stronger. Quicker. Not by much, but by enough. When one of the other boys attacks you, tries to take away your food, he's the one who ends up hurt. You're angry, and you're riding the thrill of having bested someone.
You don't stop hitting the other boy until you're pulled off.
Your name is Wally (Davis) Jackson. You're eleven. The oldest foster kid in the house.
Mr. Jackson scares you. You don't know why, but you know something about him is wrong. You do your best to keep the others safe; little Emily and Josephina. You teach them about being siblings like Jake taught you, and most of all you stress not to make Mr. Jackson angry.
The day you find out what's wrong with Mr. Jackson is a blur. You remember walking in on him with Emily, and Emily crying. You remember your mind going silent and your body tingling. You remember making Mr. Jackson mad, making him hit you, making him ignore Emily. You don't remember the hits you took. You don't remember where the scissors came from, but you remember the feel of them going into Mr. Jackson's leg. You remember thinking that the blood coating your hand was warmer than you expected.
You grab Emily and you run outside.
The police take you down to the station. You're put in a room with a mirror that they can see through and you wait; the light harsh and glaring in your face. A blonde man comes in wearing a white lab coat. He takes your clothes, and takes pictures of the bruises blossoming on your skin before he gives you new ones. He scrapes underneath your finger nails, and takes a molding of your teeth (you didn't even know you had bitten him, you hope it gets infected.) The whole time he talks to you in calming, matter of fact way. He tells you everything he's doing, and why he's doing it, and when you ask him questions, about chemicals and procedures, he smiles at you and starts explaining the science behind his actions as well. He tells you to call him Barry instead of Mr. Allen. He thinks you did a very brave thing.
Your case worker disagrees. She says this shows you have a "violent personality."
You spend a week in juvenile detention.
When they let you out, a long time before you ever thought they would, Mr. Allen, Barry, is there with two other adults.
"Wally," he says, "this is my brother and sister in law Rudolph and Mary West. They're going to be your new foster parents."
Your name is -