Title: What You Have Me Do.
Word Count: 3,581
Summary: Wally knows who he wants to be in life, but sometimes that's not what the League needs him to be. Wally is just now realizing, accepting this.
From what I can figure Aquaman and Aqualad are like, Wonder Woman, not considered metahumans. And magic users like, Zatanna and her father, are often treated like metahumans though only recently and though it was never been stated for sure. For this ficlet I am treating them as such.
A metahuman by definition is someone with the metagene.
Metahumanity is brought about by the activation of the metagene, found in about six percent of humanity (and higher mammals?). The gene is concentrated in white males found primarily in North America, but is present in all groups of homo sapiens (and homo sapiens magi). The metagene was possibly introduced in by the New Gods or another outside agency. Metagene activation shouldn't be confused with mutation, but probably some sort of non-mutant variant (NMV) of a baseline human.
For Example Hourman, Barry Allen, and Wally West.
The Green Lantern Core however is not considered metahumans for their powers are not natural but item based. Someone stated that they are no more considered metahumans than a regular human with a gun.
Wally's grip on the wheel tightens as he tries to block out the five teenagers in the back of the cargo van with the radio.
The van was supposed to be simply carrying a large prototype machine produced by Wayne Corp. to storage faculty in the middle of the city after the prototype failed for continuation. At least, that was what Batman told the team. Obviously if the team was ordered to deliver and protect it then that most likely wasn't the entire truth. However, Wally had learned a long time ago that if he wanted a peaceful night's sleep then he shouldn't ask questions he doesn't really want the answers to. His parents taught him that one real well.
The team however, had asked a good amount of questions and received very little for their efforts and were now in the back of the van complaining about the League's secrecy. Wally didn't want to know and all he wanted to do was turn around and shout for them to drop it and leave it…however, he was simply the supposed delivery driver.
It would look odd if the only man in car turned to shout at nothing, now wouldn't it?
"Come on, Robin, you can't tell us you really don't know what this heap of junk is supposed to do." Artemis states and Robin must say something insulting that Wally can't hear because then Zatanna speaks.
Wally likes Zatanna; he's glad she joined the team permanently. He feels bad that she often has to play referee between him and Artemis – a lot like Kuldar in that aspect but unlike with Kuldar Artemis listens to the other girl with little pause, which saves Wally a lot of trouble because Zatanna can be rational. The two girls have gotten pretty close recently too, pretty good friends Wally thinks. He sees their friendship a lot like Kuldar and Conner's.
"She means, Robin, that while you have a lots of secrets. You and Batman usually don't keep them from each other." Zatanna's voice is softer than whenever she breaks up Artemis and the redhead. It's easy to tell that she has a soft spot for the younger boy. "So it makes sense that you would know what this machine is suppose to do?"
Wally turns up the radio just a bit and slowly starts to sing along to focus on something other than Robin's voice. The song is country; it was a miracle that he found a country station in the middle of Gotham. The city wasn't not known for such things. While Wally likes other brands of music, mostly alternative, he likes country too. Artemis had made a comment about his pick of music though and he could all see Kuldar raise an eye in surprise when he left the station on.
"What's the matter with country?" M'gann had asked.
"Only hicks and rednecks listen to country." Artemis shot back.
"Now Artemis." Kuldar answers with a grin, "It's not Wally's fault that he was raised in Kansas." Wally has to stop himself from telling them that isn't true because he's a solo driver and the team doesn't need to know everything about him. He was raised in Blue Valley, Nebraska. Robin laughs and for a while the team is simply teens making jabs at each other. Too soon for Wally, the group turns back to serious topics.
"I was only eight years old that summer. But I always seemed to be in the way so I took myself down to the fair in town. On Independence day." Wally's words were low and he was pretty sure the others couldn't hear him. More importantly, though, he was distracted enough not to hear the others either.
It's funny how a song can remind him so much of his childhood, but Wally knows that no matter how terrible it was it made him who he was today. A hero. So his mother didn't love him or want him, his Aunt Iris surely made up for it. Maybe his father would always think of him as a disappointment but to the team and Uncle Barry he is exactly what they needed. His life wasn't great before but it made him realize young what he wanted out of life and what kind of person he wanted to become. Slowly, more so every day, he was becoming more and more of that person.
"Some folks whispered and some folks talked, but everyone looked the other way and when time ran out no one was about. On Independence day."
Wally rounded the corner and slowed to a stop behind the car in front of him; he was about five miles away from the destination but in this traffic it could have very well been twenty.
"I say we turn it on." Conner's matter-of-fact tone surprises Wally out of his thoughts. The clone hadn't talked since getting in the cargo van a good forty minutes ago. Wally was pretty sure that Conner and M'gann were talking telepathically.
"What, we are not doing that!" Robin is quick to shoot down.
"No, wait, I'm with Superboy." Artemis agrees, "You said it yourself that it's not dangerous. So what's the harm?" The back of the van erupts with arguments: Robin and Kuldar against Conner and Artemis with Zatanna and M'gann on the sidelines unsure. Both girls knowing that they morally shouldn't turn the machine on but tired of being keep in the dark all the time.
Wally just wishes he could tell them to shut up. He wants M'gann to connect them so he can yell at them to stop talking and let sleeping dogs lie, but he knows that's not possible at the moment. M'gann is still recovery from the mishaps two weeks ago. Wally doesn't know the full incident since it happened while she was on Mars with her uncle but whatever happened to M'gann she came back needing to recover. While she is getting better every day, she has trouble with the more strenuous powers still. She can only connect with one mind at the moment. However, Batman had approved her attendance on this mission which just screams at Wally that there isn't any real danger on this mission.
He doesn't say anything but he finds himself agreeing with Artemis that the thing isn't dangerous even more so knowing Robin doesn't think the machine will harm them. However, he doesn't think turning it on to prove that point is necessary. Wally knows what it's like to be wrong. He was pretty sure the rest of the team knows it too, but they have other things on their minds.
Artemis is mad that the League for shoving her out of the mission that put her father behind bars, Conner is still having father issues especially after last month's incident where Cadmus took control of Conner's mind and without M'gann or her uncle around it took quite a bit longer and a lot more destruction before they were able to return him to normal, Kuldar is having issues in Atlantis with his mother and while he isn't saying much about it there is a lot going on there – enough so that Wally has noticed him preparing Robin for the position of leader and if Wally has noticed then so has Boy Wonder and some of the others, Robin's unsure about this but he's not about to turn this down and has started pushing himself harder and harder, Zatanna's powers are increasing by the day but the League is still codling her and everyone can tell it isn't helping her, and M'gann had to leave because some issue with the League only to return hurt.
They all have other things on their minds and some blame the League, others are tired of the secrets that everyone seems to have, but Wally thinks that's a bit hypocrite since they have secrets themselves. But everyone thinks they should have the right to know everything.
Somewhere in the middle of Wally's racing mind, his focus on driving, and his own problems someone get's their hands on what looks like the controls and flips on something that gets the machine humming.
Wally's foot slams on the brake and he's surprised no one runs into him. That surprise turns quick to overwhelming pain. His vision blurs and his nervous go haywire. He feels everything, everything, and all of it hurts. The air is sharp and cold against his skin, his clothes rough against his skin, all the sounds (the car's engine, the radio, his breathing, his friend's grunts at being thrown to the floor before they start telling Wally to pull over something is wrong with Zatanna, then their concern when they notice something is wrong with him too) are too loud, the lights are bright and things are blurring. Wally shuts his eyes, tightens his grip on the wheel the leather digs into his hands but he doesn't let go. His head is pounding or is that his heart? His breathing goes from shallow to rapid in moments. Everything is overdone as if life was suddenly had all the settings turned up as high as they would go.
"Turn it off!" Wally's own voice hurts against his ears, but just as suddenly as it started it ended. His vision clears, his hearing deafens, his nerves quiet down, his breathing evens, everything back to normal. "Is Zatanna okay?" Wally asks as his mind takes apart the situation like any experiment twenty times faster than any normal human.
He parks the van on the side of the street as Kuldar responds – Wally can hear Robin and Artemis still talking to Zatanna. "She has recovered. And you, Kid Flash?"
Wally unbuckles as he reassures his own wellness. He's in the back with the others in moments, and they're watching him as he really looks over the machine for the first time.
"What is it, KF?" Only Robin is qualified to have any real idea about what he could be doing. "What is that thing?" He's helping Zatanna back up to her feet with watchful eyes.
"And why did it only affect Zatanna and you, Baywatch?" Artemis questions, her voice only slightly off. She's worried, especially since she was the one that flipped the switched. She would never mean to hurt her friends.
Wally takes a step back from the machine, forcing his face to a calmer expression. "I'll be right back." He climbs back to the front and exits the van before anyone can say anything. The others don't follow; it would blow their cover for sure if it's not already. They exchange glances and worry.
He ducks down a bit into the alleyway that was near the van, the team if looking at the right angle could still see him. He had no doubt someone was keeping an eye on him, but he can't tell them anything without knowing for sure. He needs to know for sure, actually – he casts a look back to the van – he needs to be told he's wrong.
Wally's communicator connects with solely Batman's in a second, but he doesn't hear anything on the other line.
"I know you can hear me!" He isn't shouting and he's watching his word choice, but anger is his clear and his tone is hot. "Tell me what we're transporting. Tell me it isn't what I think it is!"
Wally can count on one hand the amount of times he's been this angry in his life. Every time it has been when someone wanted him to go against who he is. Wally knows where he wants to end up in life and if Batman seriously thinks he can get in the way of that then he doesn't know the red headed teenager very well.
"Kid Flash, has the mission been completed?" Batman finally responds.
"It's on hiatus until otherwise. What the hell am I driving around your city?" Wally can almost hear Batman thinking. He's looking for anything but the truth to tell him.
The damn League. "I already know what it is." Wally is slow, for the first time in a while he's thinking before he's talking. "Just tell me I'm wrong."
"It's the best option." Comes Batman's practiced response.
"You're kidding me. This is the best option. Best option for what? Oh, wait, it doesn't matter because this isn't the correction option for anything! This is…this is…," He's searching for the right word while a hand runs through his hair. "This is chemical warfare, and I am not going to be part of this."
"Wally," He know has hit the truth when Batman uses his real name. "deliver the machine to its position and forget about it."
Wally knows Batman wants to know how he figured out what the machine is, but he's not going to ask just yet. Batman has figured, however, that it is only Wally that knows otherwise he'd be on the line with everyone.
"I can't. It targets metahumans." His voice drops at the end as if the final word is sacred. "I know you don't like them very much – hell I know we're freaks, but this is way over the line!"
"We can talk once you get back to the mountain after you deliver the machine to the faculty." Batman cuts the line, leaving Wally in the alley way with fury and confusion.
He can't leave van where it sits and really the safest place for the mechince is the worst place for it. Batman knows this. He's frickin' stonewalled him. Wally wants to hit a wall. He was better off not knowing because now he's thinking a lot like Artemis. If the League thinks they can get away with this then what else have they done?
Wally hadn't wanted to know. Everyone has secrets and he was fine knowing the League had their own but knowing…knowing what those secrets were as bad as the day he walked out of his parent's home for good.
Taking a deep breath Wally returned to the van. Just like then, he'll keep going. He'll drop the cargo off where it's safest. It can only be manually operated, even if the radius is 150 miles wide making it cover well over Gotham city, so even if Batman wanted to turn it on he would have to give the command in advance. Maybe he could talk the brooding man into getting rid of it but right now, he needed to get it to wear it was safe. Maybe if Batman doesn't do what he wants, he can come back to steal it himself once he finds some place better for it.
Idly he wonders if there are other devices like this in other cities… Star City is the only other plausible city. Anywhere else it would be more of a hinder than anything else. He wonders if the League is even in on this. Hell, Batman could have made this specially for his city.
When Wally is back behind the wheel, a hand on his shoulder brings him back to reality. It's Kuldar.
"What is the matter, my friend?"
Wally shakes his head, looking away from his leader. "Let's just get this thing to the drop off point with no more touching of the damn thing." He's still mad. It's obvious and many of the others have never seen him with such a dangerous tone. They're quiet as he gets back on the road.
They're near the faculty, only half a mile, when Robin finally breaks the silence. "You know what it is, don't you, KF?"
Wally's shoulders tense. He doesn't want to tell his team. He doesn't want to give them more reason to distrust the League. It's the last thing they need. Another strike and it could be the end. A team of rogue ex-sidekicks sounds like a terrible thing. They couldn't go and do what Roy did. They weren't hard or angry enough to. They still had things to learn that would be better learned under someone's watchful eye. He doesn't want any of them to get hurt. He doesn't want to tell them.
So, like the League, Wally keeps his mouth shut. Anger building. How dare the League build this machine! How dare Batman have them deliver it! How dare they have him continue with it anyways! How dare they have him lie to his team!
They make the drop off in silence, ditch the van in a parking lot somewhere for someone to pick up later, and then make their way to a zetta beam. Wally leading the movement as quick as the group could go.
As Wally figured, Batman was waiting for the team in the debriefing room with Black Canary waiting for their return. Wally paused in the doorway for a moment as the others filed in frustrated about the secrecy bordering on anger in front of him. Artemis is about to open her mouth to start getting answers when her words turn to a gasp as Wally's fist collides with Batman's face. Caught off guard never believing the young man to come to hitting, Batman falls back onto the ground. He's holding his jaw as looks up to the teen.
Shock isn't enough to describe the look on everyone's face. Batman waves a hand when he sees Black Canary and Robin behind Wally's back about to step in stopping the two in their place. The others follow suit and let it play out.
"You give me your word you will never turn that machine on! You give that to me." Wally orders. He's yelling out his anger.
Batman almost stays silent too long but he starts up before Wally can do anything. "It's a failsafe, Wally. That's all." Wally shuts his eyes for a moment. He's never going to get the man to agree to that. He's going to have to continue living knowing that machine was in Gotham.
He needs something, though. "Is there any more?" Batman is still on the ground and Wally is still vibrating off anger.
"No." Batman's response is firm and Wally has little choice but to believe him. Relief is visible on him, but his shoulders are still tense.
"I hope for your sake that's true." Wally's voice is low, threatening, and shaking. "If you have my name attached to anything like this again I-I will have you wishing I was in range of tha-that thing." He takes a few steps back allowing Batman to stand and himself to breath.
"Wally." Batman falls silent when they lock gazes reading each other in silence.
Wally never wanted to know what the machine did. Some would say he's a coward for not facing the truth and maybe he was. Hell, his superpower was to run, but he does know what it does and that changes everything. He knows, and therefore, can't just sit back. However, he knows with a machine like this he can't just do whatever he likes. It needs proper handling.
Batman understands that what he had his scientists create was against several moral codes, but he was not against its creation. Like the kryptonite stone he kept within the cave the machine was a failsafe. It has happened before, a League member corrupted by a villain's plan. Batman is only human.
Wally doesn't have a problem admitting that he forgets just that sometimes. Batman's human just like two members on his team, who both live in Gotham.
Batman believes he had to do what he did, but he understands why Wally doesn't like. He understands that he had the boy cross a line. Batman only has one question.
"Are you quitting?" And for a moment, the dark figure thinks Kid Flash is going to say yes. The others in the room turn from frustration to shock to sudden concern.
Wally drops his head, his hair covering his eyes in what Batman believes to be guilt, shame, and frustration before slowly shaking his head. "No, I'm not quitting. I want to do good and I'll do more good here on this team than not. I'm not quitting." He pauses, focuses on his breathing, "But don't make me do anything like that again." His shoulders sink and there is an air of exhaustion around the boy, "I am done for the day. I'm going home."
Wally refuses to catch eyes with any of his teammates as he leave.
It won't be the first time the League compromises who he is trying to be. He begins to wonder if the man he has decided to be ever since his father walked out of his life is really capable of achieving while being a hero.
The room erupts as soon as the computer states Kid Flashes leave from the mountain.
Batman spends the next thirty-five minutes stone walling the team. They leave dissatisfied, mad, and some with the intent to hold this incident against the red head until he answers some of their questions but the others already understand that if Wally didn't mention in his rare occasion of angry what the subject was about then he would never open his mouth to them until he's ready.
Black Canary watches as the team leaves and waits several long moments before turning to Batman who's watching her. "Are you going to tell me at least what that was about?" She sighed at a loss when he didn't say anything. "What did the machine do, Batman?"
"Ask Kid Flash."