Wally is used to things being fast.
Hey, he's a speedster. It's his life. And he loves when things flash by in an instant, in a dizzying whirl of emotion and color and feeling. Things blur into a collage that blooms intensely in his eyes when he goes fast.
But when Artemis is killed-
(slaughtered, like a pig)
-in front of his eyes, he doesn't even have time to register it, it's over so quickly.
(a moment can be worth a lifetime)
He forgets, sometimes.
He forgets that she's so human-
(so weak, and needy, and so damn human)
-and that she can get hurt. He doesn't remember it until he sees her body fall like a crumpled, banged-up kite plummeting down from the tilting blue of the sky, and then he sees the knife stuck up to the hilt in her stomach.
He can't to anything besides cradle her in his arms and press kisses to her forehead as she dies, her hacking breathing fading.
(his arms are stained with blood, and he knows he'll never be able to get it off)
"I know it's hard for you," Black Canary softly says, "to lose one of your closest friends. Believe me, I know."
Wally continues eating his chips and keeps his eyes trained on the floor.
Black Canary tries again. "She was such a great-"
Wally interrupts her. "She is. She's not gone. She's still here." He looks into Canary's blue eyes.
Black Canary sighs. "Wally. You're in denial."
(she can call it whatever she wants. Artemis is not dead. She's not)
(she can't be)
(she can't leave him)
Aqualad is a lot of things.
Calm in the face of danger.
(it's no wonder he's the leader, really)
So selfishly loyal, if there is a thing. He needs to just cut the crap and stop putting himself in danger because of them.
(they can take care of themselves)
He doesn't always have to put them before himself. They're a team. And teams are supposed to work together. But Aqualad always does take more blows on a mission than anyone else.
One time the blow is too strong.
And his body is blown backwards by the force of the explosion as he jumps in front of them and saves them.
Something snaps inside of Wally when he sees him-
(like a broken doll, limbs twisted hideously, head snapped to the side, blood everywhere)
-just lying there.
(he wishes that Kaldur could get up and be the leader again)
He doesn't want to go to therapy.
(there's nothing wrong with him)
But the whole team -
(what's left of it)
-has to because Batman orders them to-
-and the goddamn Batman gets what he wants.
So that's how he's here, sitting across from Canary for the second time-
(it feels like more than that)
-with her staring at him.
(she needs to stop looking at him like he's made of glass and he's going to shatter)
"Wally, I'm so, so sorry," Canary says.
(he never noticed how old and tired she looks)
"Kaldur's death was a horrible tragedy."
(she needs to stop using past tense)
"How do you feel about it? How are you coping?" she asks.
"I'm fine." The words come out thick, like his tongue is frozen, or wrapped in rubber. "I'm absolutely perfect. Really, everything's great. I don't even know why I'm here."
"You can't deny it forever," Black Canary says softly, and Wally turns away from her.
(oh, yes he can)
Wally doesn't believe it at first. When Superboy dies, that is.
Superboy is always supposed to be there.
(he's always there)
He has to. He's Superboy. As in, super.
He's supposed to be the strongest of them all. He's the huge, stubborn rock, the unyielding one.
(he really can't seem to answer that question anymore)
But when he sees his body, Superboy's indestructible body-
(you can't really call it that-all it is is crushed bone powder and shapeless flesh)
-when they recover it, he throws up, right in front of the whole Justice League. And they're all able to see what it's doing to him.
(if Superboy isn't indestructible, none of them are)
He doesn't feel like talking. Because talking means it's real, and it's not real.
(it can't be)
(he's so sick of hearing Canary's voice)
"Wally," she says again, and she takes one of his hands in hers, noting how cold and bloodless it is. His face is the same way: pale, and devoid of any emotion.
(she needs to stop touching him)
"Wally," Canary says a third time. Wally doesn't answer. "Please talk to me."
(just like all of them)
He can feel sweat dripping everywhere, can feel his skin being burned off of his bones.
(skin like wax on a candle, dripping down)
He can't even breathe. He suspects the other two can't either.
(used to be more than two)
And his lungs feel like they're being filled with lava, torturously hot, burning holes.
(is this hell?)
The orange-red magma bubbles below as they frantically scale the walls of the volcano, but he just can't, because a combination of spandex and sweat are too slippery for the rock to handle, and he's plummeting down-
(like Artemis' body, like Aqualad's, like Superboy's)
-just like little Alice going down to Wonderland.
(but this isn't a rabbit hole, and he's not tumbling, he's just falling)
But then he feels a hand grasp his hand firmly, and he's not falling anymore. He's floating, like a bubble, like a feather, and he's moved gently to the edge of the volcano, where Robin is waiting with outstretched arms to help him up.
Then the volcano explodes, and bits of hot lava spatters onto his Kid Flash suit-
(he can't feel it. His whole body is numb, just so numb)
He watches silently as M'gann's body is consumed by the shatteringly bright lava.
(he can feel her innocent, sweet smile before it disappears like the Cheshire Cat)
He can't meet her eyes. Just can't.
(he knows he'll think of Superboy when he sees their cobalt color, knows they'll be gray, like Artemis and Aqualad's eyes, and amber, like M'gann's warm orbs)
She doesn't say anything for once.
Just sits beside him and takes his head into her lap and strokes his red, red hair-
(he's reminded of M'gann every time he looks in a mirror)
-and he just lets her do it. They sit in silence together, and she holds him tight, and he hugs her back, because right now she's all he has.
He pretends that they're all there, together.
He pretends that he can't feel tears slip down his cheeks.
(but life's not a fairytale, and you can't always pretend)
(he can try)
He knows the last two would be them.
Robin's always been there for him.
(always, always, always)
It's a bond. It's a pact. He will always be there.
(no matter what)
No matter what. Because he's the only one left, and Wally so selfishly needs him more than anything right now. Because he needs to know Robin's still going to be there. He has to. Because Robin is Robin, and he's Kid Flash, and it's always been the two of them there together.
Robin always keeps his promises. Always.
(this is how it started; just the two of them)
He hears the weak cackle before it gives way to gurgling red.
(and he's all alone)
"I'm sick of you," he snaps. "You don't understand. You pretend-" he swallows thickly "-you do. But you don't."
"I do," she murmurs. "I promise, Wally, I do."
(promises mean next to nothing)
"Shut up," Wally snarls. "Just shut up, Canary. Everything is fine. I don't need you."
"Fine," she replies coldly, a little hysterically, because why can't he just accept this? "But just know that denial doesn't suit you, Wally."
"They're not here. And you're going to have to come to terms with that sooner or later."
He looks at her.
(she's seen that hollow look too many times to count)
"Okay," he chokes out, glaring at her furiously through wet, red-tinged eyes, and instantly her mouth is sour, and she wishes she could rewind time and take back what she said, take it all back. "Okay. I get it. There's nothing I can do. They're gone." He lets out a shuddering sob. "There. Isn't that what you wanted? For me to accept it?'
"Wally-" Black Canary starts, but he's already out the door.
He runs. Because isn't that what he's best at doing? Running away?
Two days later, the news of Kid Flash's death sends the world into chaos.
(there's no denying it anymore)
Disclaimer: Nope. I do not, in fact, own Young Justice.
Wow, haven't posted in a long time. Shame.
AND OH MY GOSH I WROTE SPITFIRE FOR THE FIRST TIME~~~ (yes I KNOW it was only for one line, but...you know what? Shut up...)
So, I just wanted to try this fic out, because Wally has to be just about the most denying person I've ever seen.
Reviews would be awesome.