Title: Live

Rating: T

Warning: implied child abuse, angst,

Characters: Barry Allen, Wally West, Kid Flash, Flash, Batman, Bruce Wayne


Wally just can't take it anymore. Thankfully, the one person he can always count on is there to pick up the pieces.

Author's Notes:
- I so did not want my first fic for this fandom to be angsty... but me being me... well, not really surprising.



Edited: November 23, 2012 =)

Wally felt like he couldn't breath. That the simple, soft noise of air entering and leaving his body would make him come into the room. His body ached, ribs screaming, head pounding, almost as if his heart was beating right in his ears, drowning out any noise, yet enhancing every sound that came from within his body.

The six year old was huddled under the far corner of his bed, eyes wide and fearful staring straight at what was visible of the door from his position, not willing to look away unless he missed that man coming in again for another... 'session'.

He shook his head, fighting the tears he knew would only cause him more pain, trying to simply understand. The sessions had started even before his mom left, but they had been tickles compared to the pain freely dealt now. He'd learned, with time. Why angry fists rained down on him, why kicks lashed out unpredictably, why words like needles were spat at him. Wally had indeed learned... 'his place'.

Still, he'd gotten much better at not being 'a pain', an 'eyesore', a 'disgrace'. Through experience, the child grew to know what to do and what not to do. So... what had he done wrong this time? No matter how hard he thought about it he couldn't find an answer. Dinner had been served right on time; the table set, beer cans ready. Everything was perfect, and even that man hadn't been able to find a mistake.

He'd cleaned everything right away, with as little noise as he could, even had another beer can ready before the man sitting on the couch could even think about demanding another.

Wally had been ready to leave, had been ready to crawl into his bed and close his eyes. He'd done his duty, a painless night should have been his reward. But nothing made sense anymore. The sudden pain, familiar hurtful words sneered at him... why? There was no reason... or was there? The redhead could not figure it out.


"- a mistake!"

"- should never have kept you-"


"- an abomination -"

"- get out of my sight!"

Wally had stopped yearning for anything remotely close to affection. The only love and mercy he sought now were those last five words. "- get out of my sight!". Permission to leave, permission to stop hurting, permission to hide. It was everything he longed for these days.

Soft vibrations tore him from his thoughts, and he couldn't help the small whimper as they became stronger, coming closer. Wally hoped that man was only going to his room. He'd been allowed to leave. That meant the 'session' was over... right? The light from under the door was suddenly obscured.

Someone was outside his door. Why weren't they moving on? He didn't think he'd manage another 'session'.

The door opened, and Wally shut his eyes tightly, small body shaking in fear and pain, whimpers he willed would stop seeming too loud, drawing too much attention to himself.


"Wallace you stupid brat!"

He broke.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry I didn't mean to, I- I'm sorry please don't… please don't hurt me!"

A presence filled his space, and suddenly hands reached for him. He thrashed, unwilling, undeserving of the future pain. One strong hand one grabbed his arm while the other tried to keep him from banging his head on the floor or the bed.

He cried out in fear and resignation. He couldn't do this anymore. He'd expected the 'sessions' before, when he realized what he'd been doing wrong. But he'd learned from those mistakes, adapted and performed accordingly. And still… the sessions continued. There was no logic he could find and that had slowly been eating him away.

"Wally, Wally!"

It took the boy a few seconds to notice that he was not in pain, and that the arms around him radiated warmth.

Green eyes opened, tears falling down his cheeks as he looked up into the worried blue eyes of the one man he never had to be afraid of.

"U- uncle Barry?"

The blond man smiled at him, his eyes full of something Wally could not decipher. It could have been sadness, or anger, or maybe both. But Wally was too relieved to see his uncle to dwell on it. Gentle fingers ran over the large bruise on his face, discreetly wiping away a small trace of blood falling from under Wally's hairline.

"Hey kiddo, it's me. Shhh it's okay, it's okay." Barry soothed, the child's little hands coming around his neck in a desperate need for an anchor, anything to feel safe. "Let it out Wally, let it out. No one can hurt you now." Barry continued, feeling more than seeing the fight to stay quiet, to stay unnoticed. A few hesitant sobs left the child, before he buried his head into Barry's chest and finally let himself really cry.

Barry sat crossed legged, his nephew in his lap clinging to him for over an hour, running a hand up and down his back, rocking them both back and forth, whispering soothing words in his ear.

The blond had to fight back his own tears, teeth clenching as each cry broke another part of his heart, of his restraint and control, the only things keeping him from going downstairs to an unconscious body and finishing the job.

It took time, but finally Wally fell into a deep slumber. Exhaustion, both mental and physical had taken its toll, the occasional hiccup the only sound in the room.

Barry kept rocking them, now more for his sake than Wally's. He'd been so blind, so stupidly blind. He'd seen the bruises before, mistaking them for typical children's falls; seen the fear in his eyes, thinking he was imagining things; seen how Rudolph put him down every time in public, and even then he'd thought it was because the man was just overly strict.

How it had taken his brain to finally slow down and actually link everything he had seen and heard over the past few months for it to click, he would never know. He hadn't wasted another moment, and rushed without an explanation to Central City, ignoring his fellow Leaguers' worried and confused calls. He'd still been too late… months, even years too late to save Wally from this, and that knowledge would hunt him for the rest of his life.

The Scarlet Speedster shook, his hold on the fragile child in his arms tightening, wishing he could turn time and stop all this from happening. He felt helpless and useless. What was the Flash good for if he couldn't see the tortured soul in front of him? And now? What happened now?

It was only due to how long they had spent time around each other that Barry noticed the dark, silent presence standing in the doorway behind him, and suddenly his own fears assaulted him.

"What do I do Bats?" He whispered brokenly, clutching the sleeping child closer to his body. "What do I do?"

The presence was silent, only the rustle of his cape alerting Barry to his movements. The shift in posture, the man kneeling next to him, a gentle, supportive hand on his shoulder stopping his rocking.

"You live."

Barry let out a mirthless chuckle. "I'm not in the mood for word games Bruce."

"It's not a game. You pick yourself up, take the child and move on. Help him heal, help him live."

The blond considered this, thoughts wandering, different scenarios playing in his mind, before nodding. It made sense, it sounded so easy. Barry knew the road ahead of him would be hard, but he would face it head on nonetheless. Anything for Wally. Anything to atone for his failure.

"What about-"

"You let me take care of that." Barry did not miss the dark and dangerous tone, the hand on his shoulder tightening, before disappearing completely. He knew Bruce hated these cases the most. Even if the Batman seemed uncaring and cold, Bruce held nothing but compassion in his heart. Specially for children.


Barry turned then, for the first time looking at Batman, already halfway through the doorway. he dark figure turned his head slightly, and even with his cowl up Barry could feel his eyes on him.

"Thanks." He said softly, a small tired but sincere smile on his face. The dark knight only nodded before disappearing.

A few hours later, when Barry's thoughts had stilled and he felt ready to tackle anything and everything for his nephew's sake, he left the house, Wally held securely in his arms wrapped in a warm blanket just as the sun rose over the horizon bringing a small smile to his face, the small red head shifting slightly as the light hit his face.

Rudolph West was nowhere to be seen.

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