Ramblings of Another West - Pretty much what the title says. Set somewhere in the time between Ignition and Rogue War.

Posted to the lj community flash_rogues too.

I don't want to do this.

None of them seem to realise that. They don't understand. Can't understand.

I know you've not exactly had the easiest time of things, and I've got a good Samaritan streak, but I never would've pictured something like this. It's all a bit egotistical for my tastes. Heh. I'll have to remember to tell Linda that, she's always accusing me of having a big ego.

Though by the looks of things, mine's nothing like the guy whose boots I'm trying to fill.

It hurts, doing this to your best friend. And you are my best friend, even if you'd call me mushy for saying it and cuff me over the back of the head in that way that means you totally agree, though you'd never actually say the words yourself.

Man, the world's crazy here. I don't know how Keystone or Central are anything more than a flat landscape. Must be really easy to get a job as a builder around here.

Superheroes are real.

So are supervillains.

I keep wanting to laugh whenever I think of that, or when some guy dressed as a bat starts lecturing me, or when I see half the costumes (and the other half wouldn't look out of place at a strip-bar), or...

Well, it's crazy.

You remember that artist the cops hired for that weird Manga case? The one I hated, but now he's on my Christmas card list? He's here. He's got a ring that can create whatever he thinks up out of green light. I'll have to tell Kyle when I get back, he might find a niche market or something.

Or just laugh himself silly.

So yeah, apparently I'm some big-shot hero for the twin cities. The Flash. Sounds awful. At least it's a legacy name and I, well, the other me, didn't think it up himself. And the costume...

Is it actually possible to feel more self-conscious wearing something that only shows your chin than it is to be completely naked?

Linda's still Linda, thankfully. If she hadn't been than I would've gone spare. Though she isn't pregnant and there isn't a little Jai toddling around. I made the mistake of asking about it and heard a horrible tale about some guy named Zoom and a miscarriage. She isn't exactly my wife and I still want to hurt the bastard.

That unfortunately leads me onto you.

You've never been shy about your prison time. I think you were trying to scare me off, that or make sure I never let someone I didn't know crash on my couch again. I still hold that you should be thanking me for not letting you drown in the gutter, the way it was coming down that night.

Plus, I'm never sensible when I'm drunk. You know that. That's why you insist on keeping me company when I head to the pub and really need it, so I don't end up trying to rescue more drunks.

According to you, I once tried to hug a guy twice my size because I thought he needed to calm down.

Given the black eye I woke up with, I believe you.

Odd to know in this world you're a professional criminal. I'm not sure 'supervillain' really fits, since that puts me in mind of world-domination or something like that. You're in a band of guys that steal money for the most part. I've heard worse things too, but it's hard to link them up.

Oh, I will never refer to Axel as a brat again. He's here too, part of that group, about five years older and an absolute nightmare. He calls himself Trickster. Don't think he's your kid here – I got looks when I asked.

Evan too. He's about twice as old and twice the accent. Not likely to be your flesh and blood either. I can't match up what he's done here to what he's like back home.

Probably for the best.

Haven't mentioned what made me a superhero, have I? Some accident in Uncle Barry's lab gave me superspeed. He had it too, until he died saving the universe. Barry 'perpetually late' Allen was the fastest man alive before me.

That's surreal on a whole other level.

You two still didn't like each other here. Thank god for multiversal constants. In fact, if you strip away all the aliens and spandex and the constant fighting, there are a lot more similarities than when you first looked. I'm still a mechanic, just it's more of a side thing for him. Linda's still a reporter and my wife.

It's still weird being able to think of all this during the time it takes for a punch to connect.

Yeah, I'm in the middle of a fight.

Against you – this version of you.

And as much as I hate to say this, I hope I win.

I've got to win.

I don't want to do this.

Sorry Len.