Once upon a time…
There was a boy who was stuck in the middle of nowhere; otherwise, known as Blue Valley. He wasn't the most daring boy around. He usually spent most of his time cooped up inside thinking about what to talk about at the next meeting for his Flash fan club. If he wasn't doing that he was playing videogames, surfing the net, and reading comics books sipping root beer. There was nothing too exciting about his life. He was just a normal farm boy leading a bland path. The most adventure he ever got on a regular basis was commuting to the city to attend school.
He lived a simple life, and he saw no problem with that. If he didn't do anything stupid he wouldn't get himself killed like a fool. He read once in one of his many science books that the birth rate of boys was higher than girls. The reason there were more women inhabiting the Earth was because the men were always doing something life threatening costing them their lives – otherwise known as: being idiots. As long as he kept his head down and did as he was told, he'd get a pat on the head. He enjoyed good attention and no detention. So what if he barely got out? He was content playing role play games in his room munching away on snacks. As for his love life, he decided recently he would have a crush on Linda Park. She was pretty, and that's all he needed to know. However, one fateful night would change how he thought. He met a boy…
…who enchanted him with just one meeting.
.*.*. Five Years Ago .*.*.
"Come on Wally! Buck up, it's a circus!" Linda exclaimed, waving her arms about with great expression. Unfortunately, Wally would rather be home beating Ninja Gaiden for the umpteenth time. He slumped in his seat crossing his arms watching the ring leader direct everyone with clear boredom etched across his face. How his friends ever convinced him to come watch this was beyond him. He knew how most of their tricks and stunts worked; it was simple science anyone could pull off. All they needed was the guts…as well as a graphing calculator.
Tommy slapped him on the back almost making him choke on the straw of the soda he'd been sipping. "Yeah, I mean I know you'd rather be home slapping the clown; but this should be more fun," he joked with a sly grin. Linda shook her head blushing only recently learning what it meant after an accident poor Wally had a few weeks ago in the bathroom at school.
"Shut up Tommy, before I give you a knuckle sandwich. It's lunch time already, right?" he threatened, blushing tomato red. He didn't need reminding of what happened, and he could also do without Linda thinking he was a pervert.
"Man, West. Do you always have to eat?" Tommy asked, jabbing a thumb to the multiple treats the young boy held in his lap. It was amazing how he could eat so much and not gain a pound. Then again, maybe one day his metabolism would fail and he'd gain five hundred pounds – it could happen.
"Tch, I'm sure it could be worse," he countered, before taking a large satisfying bite out of his hotdog, chewing slowly savoring the ketchup-smothered piece of…something that tastes like pork.
Linda placed a finger to her lips signaling them to quiet down, "Shush guys! It's starting!" Wally groaned and slumped even further down into his seat. If it weren't for the fact they were here on their own he would have already gotten a ride home. Due to his luck, Blue Valley was a pretty safe and simple town; thus, their parents trusted them to see a circus on their own. The worst that could happen is tumbleweed could trip him on the dirt road home creating another bloody nose, which is another story. No way could he just ask his friends to leave with him, nor did he want to walk alone in the middle of nowhere. That'd be too boring…more boring than this anyways.
"Welcome to Haley's Circus: A Show of Wonder and Awe, as we wow you off your feet!" the ringleader called out with a huge smile, flipping over his top hat to the crowd. If he smiled any bigger he would break something. Wally almost wanted to gag at the peppiness of the little man.
"And snoring in my seat," he murmured over to Tommy, who went into a fit of giggles. Linda glared, still being able to hear.
The ringleader broke out his whip and started steering the many animals around keeping the crowd amused. There were elephants, lions, tigers, a bear, and of course, tons of monkeys. What kind of person doesn't love monkeys? A cranky angry person with daddy issues that's who! "On this fabulous tour, we have a special performance from our very own Flying Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraysons!" he announced with emphasis on the last name.
"Psh, trapeze couldn't be too hard. Plus there's always a net to catch them." Wally scoffed, taking another ferocious bite out of his hotdog.
"Man, you know how I am with heights. I don't know what you're talking about!" Tommy responded with wide eyes, pointing to the tight rope at the very top of the red and white tent. It was pretty high up, however…
"It's all physics. They just have to get the right trajectory; propel themselves at the proper velocity in respect to their mass; calculate in the air resistance then boom.You're making tons of money flying about. Then, they have that net in case of any ticks," he snorted, taking a handful of popcorn and stuffing it in his mouth, earning a disgusted look from Linda.
"You gotta have the body for it too, West." Tommy argued, flexing his skinny arm.
Wally rolled his eyes unimpressed, "Years of physical training and eating right. Doesn't sound too hard."
"This coming from the guy who got extra butter." Linda pointed out, before stealing a few kernels for herself. Wally defensively held the bag to his body hissing, and they all started to giggle. Suddenly, all the lights went out; there was only one single spotlight on the ringleader leading up to a path up the ladder to the tight rope for dramatic effect.
"They shall be performing their infamous routines only–" There was great anticipation in the air, and gasps as the spotlight shot back down to the ground revealing…"–without a net!"…nothing. Just bare ground.
Wally smirked cocking a brow as they finally piqued his interest, "This spices things up a little."
As the show went on the crowd 'ooed' and 'awed' at the many wonderful acts, all of which Wally only batted a lash to or yawned at. The most fun he got was watching the clowns. That was something he always found amusing. Silly men dressed in rainbow afros, polka-dots, and ridiculous amounts of make-up while pie-ing each other in the face or stuffing themselves into tiny cars.
"Hey Linda, maybe you should talk to those clowns about makeup. You sure could use it," the other boy joked, nudging Wally in the arm for support.
"Shut up Tommy," she huffed, looking away.
"I dunno, Dope. He's got a good point there," Wally joked as well; smiling to reassure her it was ok. She refused to look at them, and he then saw she was tearing up. This is why you don't pick on little girls.
"You guys are mean."
Wally frowned not wanting to get in trouble with her parents if she told them. So he slung an arm around her shoulders causing her cheeks to pink, "You know we're just messin'!" she nodded smiling shyly, and when he realized what he was doing he quickly pulled away blushing himself while Tommy gagged pointing one finger into his mouth.
Finally, the act they had all been waiting had come. At this point, Wally had actually lost all curiosity for this act waiting too long. He did keep on a smiling, for the sake of Linda's happiness. He kept checking the watch he got from a Cracker Jack box as he wondered when it'd finally be over. He couldn't wait to get home to watch some T.V. Then again, it could actually be worse at home if Aunt Iris brought over her boyfriend again. That guy was a total snore-fest.
"Now, for a final spectacular performance! I present to you…drum roll please!" The lights around them dimmed, and a snare roll built up louder and louder until finally the single spotlight left landed on a pair of adults at the top of the ladder, "John and Mary Grayson!" Linda squealed in excitement, while Tommy punched Wally's arm enthusiastically.
"Whoo…" Wally muttered, rolling his eyes, yawning loudly.
"John and Karla Grayson!"
"And presenting the youngest of our troupe–" Wally finally moved his eyes towards the tight rope, and when he did he was surprised to see…"–Richard Grayson!"…a young boy, grinning widely waving out to the crowd.
Wally dropped all his snacks and his drink in the process as he stood up in shock at what they were seeing, "What? He's not much younger than us!" he yelled, pointing towards the happy guy as his jaw dropped.
Linda giggled in amusement, satisfied to see her friend buying into something that night, "Finally impressed, Wally?"
Wally scoffed and sat down in a plump crossing his arms defiantly, "We'll see, first I have to see what this kid can do," he responded, squinting his eyes to study the dark haired boy.
Little did he know, he would be amazed. At first, he was still not impressed as they did simple flips across the tight rope or bicycle tricks. Then he found himself clutching the arms of his chair when that kid started to walk across with only his hands. Finally, it was when they brought out the rope swings that got him. It wasn't when John and Mary swung over from side to side, or when the other John and Karla held each other by their feet. No. It was when Richard took that swing, all by himself, swung down, propelled his body up, and practically flew as he steered himself into his mother's arms. Black hair flying around his head swaying naturally, bright eyes shining with fearlessness, and body perfectly relaxed plunging into danger. That left him…
"Oh wow." …Wonderstruck.
Just when he thought it was over, Richard then smiled and went back in for one more trick. For a second, he was so sure that kid was smirking – he was cocky. Everyone held onto his or her seats as Richard took a step towards the edge of the high dive. No swing. No one to catch him. There was absolute silence, you could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet. Finally, the drum begun to roll, the spotlights were on him, everyone gritted their teeth, and he jumped off free falling.
"He's not going to make it!"
"Oh man oh man!"
For a moment, Wally thought he felt his heart stop. Even in his own head, he was screaming at that kid: what are you doing? But there was also this slight calm, because in that boy's smirk he could just tell the kid knew what he was doing. The tips of his mouth curled when he saw Richard reach around his body pulling out a cable rope, which he lassoed twirling around in the air; caught a dangling hook Wally didn't see earlier; and swung around freely as if it were nothing, grinning widely as everyone stood up applauding him for his amazing feat.
"He did it." Wally whispered to himself, green eyes shining, releasing the breath he had been holding, before standing up with everyone else hooting and cheering, "Yeah! Alright! Go, Grayson!"
Linda placed a hand on his shoulder smiling widely. "Geez, Freckles, didn't think you'd be so enthusiastic," she observed.
"Yeah, West. Liked it more than you thought huh?" Tommy added punching the air.
Wally couldn't stop the smile on his face, but he still rolled his eyes at them, "Whatever! Wasn't that cool!"
Linda than stopped for a second before getting a strange glint in her eyes, "Then I guess you don't want to go talk to them after the show?" she challenged, voice full of mischief.
"We can do that?" Wally asked, Tommy also cocking a brow in question.
"If we sneak around of course," she told them in a low whisper, Tommy getting the same mischievous look on his face as well. As for Wally, he gulped nervously not sure if sneaking around would be the best idea. They could get in a lot of trouble, but then he looked up back at the incredible dark haired boy that grinned radiating with courage and adrenaline.
"I like your thinking Linda."
The three of them snuck around the tent easily being as short as they were. The only problem was Wally, being the tallest of them all. Luckily, he had a scrawny body, so he could bend and hide. As the sun reached the edge of the horizon and orange filled the sky, they were careful not to let their shadows get the best of them. As they made their way between trashcans, dumpsters, stands, carts, and such they finally reached the core of the circus where all the performers stayed. How did they know? They saw little Richard Grayson flinging his towel over his shoulder as he walked across the dirt and grass towards a multi-colored wagon.
"Hey loo–" Linda cupped her hands around Tommy's mouth, before he gave them away.
"Shhh, you're going to get us caught," she shushed, scolding him with a wagging finger.
Wally turned around and cupped both their mouths with his hands, which they proceeded to lick to get him to back off, "Guys, be quiet. I see him going into his wagon thingy," he instructed, wiping his hands off with disgust.
Linda looked around frantically as she spotted older, mean-looking men walking about swinging their beating sticks, "I see security guards, maybe this wasn't such a good idea," she commented nervously, fidgeting in her spot causing Tommy to freak out as well. However, Wally was determined to meet this wondrous boy.
"You guys wait here," he commanded in a whisper before running off with light feet towards the trailer.
"Freckles, stop!" Linda gasped, her hands at her mouth in worry.
Tommy slapped his forehead dumbfounded, "What does Wally think he's doing?"
Carefully and quietly, he followed Richard into his trailer without a sound. His heart was beating a million miles a minute, and his brain was demanding to know just what the heck he was thinking. He had no plan, but he did have a goal: meet Richard Grayson. This was crazy, and actually the looniest thing he had ever done. Yet, it felt exhilarating and right. Unfortunately, when the young star turned around and jumped in fear, he regretted his impulsive and stupid decision. So this is where the road to killing himself off begun? He should have learned something from that dumb textbook…
"Um, hi." He should have also thought of something better to say than just: Um, hi. It was too late, first impressions were always the worst for Wally anyways. The day he met Aunt Iris's boyfriend he accidentally blurted out how bland his job sounded. He couldn't help it: he had a bit of a mouth.
Richard took a few steps back, nervously gripping a strange jewel encrusted knife that had been laying on the artistic table. Wally's eyes went wide; he was so sure that he was going to die. Even if this other guy was just a kid, that was still a sharp pointy thing! "What do you think you're doing here? Who are you?" the boy demanded to know, his guard up as dark blue eyes studied him carefully. He's seen sky blue eyes, and eyes that were blue like the eggs laying in the nest of the tree by his bedroom window, but he's never seen dark blue eyes. They were pretty. Heat went to his face as he realized he classified another boy as pretty. That couldn't be possible, boys just weren't that way. Only girls could be pretty, he was being pretty dumb right now. Maybe it was just the confusion from everything that has been happening.
"I'm sorry, I'm kind of a fan…er…now I am. I wanted to meet you." He blushed harder shutting his eyes knowing what he said was super über embarrassing. Wally scolded himself on the inside as he continued to dig a deeper hole for himself.
Wally peaked one eye opened carefully, he was surprised to find the other boy holding a friendly expression and dropping the weapon, "Really? Just like that?" he asked in disbelief
Richard cackled in amusement, his dark eyes lighting up. "Dude, you don't really seem all that threatening. Plus, I like making new friends," he said matter-of-factly, insulting Wally.
"What do you mean I'm not threatening?" he huffed, pouting a lip. This only made Richard laugh even harder, "Whatever…"
As they continued to stand there awkwardly, it was the younger of the two that took it upon himself to break the tense atmosphere, "so…what did you want? An autograph or somethin'?" he offered, as he started to dig through drawers looking for something to sign. The first item he pulled out was a banana, for a moment he seriously considered it but tossed it over his head. He then took out a used paint brush rubbing his chin as he pondered what he was willing to give up to this random guy. Wally shook his head waving his hands at him.
"No, well…I mean…I just…" the poor boy stuttered in his words, not sure what to say before looking away blushing once more,"…you're really amazing. Do you know that?"
"Thanks! That's pretty cool of you to tell me." Richard stated proudly, his hands on his hips emitting a cocky attitude. At the same time, it was arrogant but purposefully silly. He was hard to read. In the back of his mind, he wanted to say the kid was just messing around. He really didn't realize how brilliant he truly was doing those acrobatic stunts.
"No seriously. Dude, you blew my mind out there. I don't know what to think now," he tried again, and there was a strange flicker across Richard's eyes. He most definitely was clueless to his talents.
"Come on, I'm sure you've seen something like that before dozens of times. Doesn't…what is this place near? Central City? Don't you have Flash running around doing stuff like that?" the boy argued, his face turned to the floor bashfully. It was kind of cute…like babies that puke up all over you cute of course…actually baby throw-up isn't cute, but how else could it make sense that he would connect the dumb 'c' word with a guy?
"Nah, he just runs and punches bad guys out. You…you fly, like it's nothing at all." As Wally said this, green eyes lit up again thinking about the way he jumped off that high dive with such courage and dared to laugh death in the face. He couldn't get that image out of his mind, it would be etched there forever he knew it.
"It's really nothing." Richard whispered. This guy wasn't even buying his own act, so how was he selling it?
"It isn't. You're not much younger than I am, yet you can do such awesome stuff like that? It's far from nothing." He insisted to the younger boy. It perked him up a little more, yet it was easy to tell he still didn't believe it himself. Someday, maybe the kid will get how fearless he actually is…or stay cluelessly dumb forever.
"Thanks…your name?" he asked, extending hand with a warm smile. A smile different from that cocky smirk or knowing grin, it was nice. Wally felt his own lips curl up as he took his pale hand and gave it a firm shake.
"Wally. Wally West."
"Richard Grayson. People usually call me Dick."
Wally couldn't help but snicker, "bet you get a lot of jokes for that name."
But Dick didn't get it. He cocked his head to side in confusion, "Why?"
The other boy scratched his arm sheepishly as he chuckled with embarrassment, "Uh…nevermind." Dick frowned, but quickly shrugged his shoulders carelessly. Wally gave a sigh of relief; he wasn't going to be the one to spoil this kid's innocence.
"Hey, wanna go do something fun?" Dick suggested, as he changed into comfortable clothing. Wally recognized that tone, he heard it all the time with Linda and Tommy. Whenever someone had that kind of voice, only trouble would come afterwards.
Wally pulled at his collar swallowing the forming lump on his throat, "I don't know, it's getting late and don't you have to go to bed or something?"
"Don't be such a fun sucker. Come on!" Before he could even make a decision himself, Dick took his hand and yanked him outside, forcing him to follow. For some odd reason, Wally connected the thought of making sure to wash his hands later in case of cooties, but only girls had cooties. What was this cacophony?
Even so, he had no problem holding this kid's hand. It was funny how natural it felt, and it was also weird how aware he was of how it felt: calloused, small, gentle, and warm. These thoughts made his own palms sweaty, and he pondered on whether or not he should pull away and wipe it off. However, the levels of his perspiration were no longer his main problem when Dick lead them into a random carriage. Where were they? What were they doing here? All these questions were answered as soon as the boy pulled out from behind his back a can of shaving cream and a razor. Crap.
Forget innocence: that was his only thought as the other boy shoved a can of into his hand. "Are you sure this is okay, Dude?" Wally asked, his eyes darting everywhere with paranoia.
"Yeah yeah, trust me!" Dick reassured him in an excited whisper, holding up a razor blade in his one hand, guiding Wally's with the other. "Alright, squirt it on just like that. Now watch." The young boy than proceeded to scrape at their poor victim's head unevenly leaving random patches of hair. He snickered to himself wearing a devilish smirk. Wally thought he was going to have a heart attack real soon.
"He's totally gonna wake up." Wally warned.
Dick looked at him for a full second, before shaking his head and responding with, "nah," scraping away like there was no tomorrow. Wally couldn't help but think to himself there wasn't going to be if this guy woke up! By the looks of the smeared make-up he could tell it was one of the many clowns. At least he'll have a rainbow afro to cover this all up. Good thinking, Grayson.
"We're gonna get in trouble."
Dick sighed in annoyance, but then his expression softened as he put down the razor and cupped one of Wally's cheeks the same way his mother would to calm him. "Live a little," he told him, his dark blue eyes glowing in the dark and his smile shining through. What else could Wally do but comply?
Wally smiled back, and was just about to say 'O.K.' when the man started to shake himself from his slumber, "He's waking up."
"Yep! Here!" and with that Dick shoved the tools into his hands and ninja'd his way out before Wally could even see where he went. How did that kid do that?
Wally groaned in frustration while he also did his best not to pee himself. The man rose from his blankets standing at a good six foot eight. Crap, Crap…"What's going on here? Who the hell are you? What did you do!" he screeched pulling at his head, but there was no much left to pull at. Oops.
Wally then decided he'd like to live to see tomorrow and ran for it without much hesitation, "It wasn't me, I swear! Well half of it was, but I wasn't alone!" he yelled behind him, but the man continued to chase him down like a giant coming after Jack. This was not good at all. He should have known the little midget would be trouble when he got that stupid voice! That Dick.
"Get back here! You can't run forever!" the burly man shouted at him, but like heck he was going to stop.
When he thought he was going to be near death, a pair of pale hands wrapped around his body and pulled him into a large barrel, "who–"
"Shhhh." It was Dick. When heavy footsteps passed by and he was sure the coast was clear, Dick shoved his body to the side of the barrel causing them both to tumble out messily.. As soon as Wally was out, he straightened himself out and threw his arms up angrily.
"What was that about?"
"Couldn't let him know it was me!" Dick said simply, before laughing hysterically. "Dude, you can't tell me that wasn't fun! You need to learn to live!" he challenged, tossing his head back with eyes closed as he continued to cackling with a carefree attitude.
Wally would have been angrier if it weren't for the fact that the adrenaline rush was actually kind of nice. Really nice. Who knew pulling practical jokes could be so exciting? He should have done something like this a long time ago, "I guess it was." He agreed earning a satisfied thumbs up from Dick. He could learn a thing or two from this kid.
He extended a hand out to Dick, who leaped up in one swift move without help. "You run pretty fast, y'know that?" the boy observed, rubbing his chin in speculation.
Wally stretched out his arms grinning proudly, "I've been practicing, for the Flash fan club of course." He then pointed to the red thunderbolt adorned on his yellow t-shirt for emphasis. Dick shook his head sticking out his tongue.
"Tch, Superman is so much cooler."
"How?" Wally was flabbergasted at the thought anyone could think someone could be cooler than Flash. How could anyone beat a speedster that was created from the beauty of science? It was pure blasphemy.
"He can run fast andfly. Plus he has super strength." Alright, kid had a good point.
"Hey, at least my favorite superhero can't be defeated by a piece of rock." But he had a better one.
"At least mine doesn't have to fear ice skating rinks." At least he thought he did.
"Touché. I guess it could be worse. Your favorite hero could have been Batman." Wally chuckled, at the thought of anyone liking the man who lurked in shadows. He was extraordinary, he would admit that; nonetheless, the guy was a total freak and was the lead of the majority of his nightmares. How could anyone idolize such a horrifying hero?
"Naw! That guy is scary! Lurking in shadows all the time, and his cowl makes him look more like a cat than anything." Wally was almost taken aback that the boy completely understood what he meant. He even though the same thing he did about those pointy ears. It was like they were destined to meet.
"They should call him Catman!" he threw in, raising a finger to the air.
"Fear his pretty, pretty claws!" Dick added on, gesturing with his own hands.
"Watch out for his hairballs, they're explosive I hear!"
Before they even knew it, they were rolling on the ground laughing harder than they had all day, all week, all month, maybe even all year. That was saying a lot, since Dick lived with Clowns, whereas, Wally had his Grandpa Jay. There was something in the air, there had to be. But it didn't matter; all they knew was that they had huge smiles on their faces, tears from busting a gut, and that comfortable air of being with a friend.
Once they had managed to stifle their laughter, Wally rubbed his eyes and sprawled out onto the ground looking up fully content. Up above, the night sky twinkled above him. He never really took the time to stop and really enjoy them. This was actually the first time he ever did. He never knew it could look so…
"Hey, look at the stars. They look–"
"Sparkling?" Wally turned his head and saw Dick laying beside him enjoying the view as well. He raised an eyebrow in question of his word choice.
"They are!" He insisted. Wally continued to give him a weird look, until Dick playfully punched him in the shoulder and he started punching back. When they ceased their tomfoolery, they stopped and simply gazed: green to blue. It was strange, for the smallest millisecond it felt different from anything he's felt before. It was an unexplainable feeling. What could this be? At the time, it was incredibly awkward. They both turned away back to the sky bashfully. They laid there admiring the sky for a good while. Once again, it was Dick who broke the silence the second time that day.
"Most nights, I actually like to lay down watching the night sky with my mom." He whispered, his voice slightly raspy as he coughed into one hand. It felt like an intimate piece of information he was telling him, and Wally felt more than grateful this boy he just met was willing to tell him something like that.
"On the road, what else can you do? Besides, it never ceases to amaze me. Y'know? How deep it looks, as if you can reach out and fall into an ocean of endless darkness and stars. How could anyone ever get tired of it?" This kid was really something, Wally never thought of anything that way. He idolized Flash of course, but nothing's ever put him in complete awe because it could always be explained with science. Although, as much as he appreciated the beauty of the sky, he couldn't be completely in wonderment from it because of what he knew about astronomy. However…
"Yeah, some things will never stop amazing you." …there was something about this kid, this boy, something about Dick that was completely magical. In the way he moves…
"It's getting late; I guess you better get going." The way he jumps in head first…
"You're right, my friends are probably wondering where I went." The way he's so carefree of the danger around him…
"Well…I'm glad I met you." The way he speaks and looks at life…
"It was…it was fun." Now, Wally was a man of science. He's never believed in hoopla like magic…
"Goodnight, Wally." Yet…
"'Night, Dick." …there was something enchanting about him. Something unexplained, and simply magical that left him hungering for more.
Author's Note:First off, yes there were more Flying Graysons than just John, Mary, and Dick. There was also Dick's aunt and his cousin. There was also his Uncle Rick but I didn't add him. I don't recall them being in the original comics, but they are a part of the show. Tommy Elkins is not an OC. He was the best friend of Wally West in high school and they were in a fraternity together. Also, if you don't know Linda Parks she is the OTP of Wally West in the comics.
HUGE THANKS to Blackmarionette and TheWickedWizardofOz once again for helping me beta this story breaking their backs! These two are something! You should read their stories, review, and talk to them because they really are something! Something awesome anyways! Blackmarionette for being my distant 'red-string' soulmate and understanding my humor so well.WickedWizardofOzfor beta-ing all of my stories (even before I asked him to in his reviews) and being a fantastic friend to make conversation with!
This is based off the Taylor Swift song "Enchanted". Give it a listen, it'll make the story make more sense.
Disclaimer: I do not own 'Young Justice' nor do I own any of the other DC characters used in the making