A/N: Canon is beating this idea with a stick, especially after Coldhearted, but I'm a stubborn person, so here you go! It'll be a two-shot.

For some reason, Wally's speed didn't seem to work around his dad. It's not like his dad had super powers or something- but every time he would yell, lumber over, grab him, Wally wouldn't run.

He would stand there, stare at his father, ignore his mother who was already busy ignoring them, and he wouldn't run.

The Flash ruffled his hair affectionately and he laughed, reaching up to grab ahold of the superhero's wrist. Yeah, the rest of his team was watching, yeah, he should probably be shrugging the touch off and scowling at being treated like a kid, but he liked to know Uncle Barry was proud of him, he liked knowing he did a good job, he liked when the hand on his head wasn't fisting his hair to level his face for some new bruises-

"You know- " It was Artemis who broke the considerate, affectionate silence of the Cave, of course it was her "- the Flash seems a lot like your dad, Wally."

And it was like the whole world was crashing down and she had no idea what she just said but still Wally was vibrating in something that probably looked like rage but felt a lot like panic as he turned to her- so quickly he saw afterimages- and snarled, "The Flash is not my dad!"

Uncle Barry was nothing like his dad.

The next beat of silence was tense and thick and Wally's fists were clenched and he couldn't slow the way his heart was beating madly in his chest- The Flash touched his head again, more gently this time, and even though his face was covered with a cowl, he looked sad.

Bruises were nothing to someone who regenerated as fast as he did. Gone within the hour, usually, depending on how bad they were. The one he was sporting currently was pretty purpley and made it hard to see out that eye, and he didn't really have time to wait around for it to go away since he was supposed to be at the Cave five minutes ago.

He pulled his cowl on carefully, hoping it would cover at least most of the damage, and wasn't entirely surprised when the black eye was still pretty obvious. He'd come up with something though, he always did. Freak dodge-ball accident in P.E. maybe- he hadn't used that one yet, and if he pitched it well enough, it'd sell.

His friends bought it readily, a little incredulous but hey it's Wally after all, and he's done weirder things. He grinned and joked it off and all was well, but when he caught Robin's eye, the boy wonder wasn't laughing.

Megan was really interested in his home life. He was the only one besides Robin who had like, a legitimate family, and of course Robin would be tight-lipped about it as always. God, why.

"I was just wondering- is it anything like it is on TV?" Her smile was bright and he couldn't really get mad at her for being curious about something she'd never experienced, and never really have.

"Uhh- you could say that, yeah." He grinned and stretched back in his chair- wincing when that rubbed his back the wrong way (like he could remember where all the bruises were all the time) and ignoring the sharp look Robin sent him. He cast around for something to say and his mind landed on the weekends, when he ran from Keystone to Central City, and Iris had dinner ready and a place for him at the table, and met him with a hug the way his parents never did, and Barry asked about grades and his friends, and told him patrol stories that didn't air on the news and…

"I'm actually more interested in Kal's house," he said, swinging around to grin upside down at the Atlantian, who smiled at his antics like an older brother. "What's it like where you live?"

And boom, subject diverted. It shouldn't be so easy.

He skidded into the cavernous hall of the cave, his head whipping around, because this could not be happening. His teammates glanced at him, and something on his face- uncowled, he wasn't in costume-must have made them a little worried. He didn't stop to talk though, breezing past them, through every room, finally finding Flash in the training room with Batman.

The two heroes were talking, but Wally surged forward anyway and it came out loud, like a shout, but he didn't mean for it to as he said, "Unc- Flash, what are you doing?"

And they didn't even look annoyed he'd interrupted- not even Batman, who only looked at him impassively. The Flash looked at him, and there was regret in his face, and that only propelled Wally deeper into panic.

"You don't have to do this. I'll be fine. Just two more years now, just two, and I'll be out of there- "


"Please, I- it means a lot that you would be willing to- to take me in, really, but…" His fists were shaking, they were clenched so tight. "But, I'm okay, really, I'm okay- "

Batman made some aborted motion, but the Flash was faster. He had Wally by the shoulders, crouched to put their eyes at level, and looked at him so sternly Wally stammered into silence.

"Wally. Something should have been done months ago. It should never have been allowed to become like this."

There was no way to pretend he didn't know what Barry meant. "It's not-it's- I can handle it, I can, it's not that bad- "

"Robin came to me about the bruise around your eye. I investigated further." Batman spoke slowly, and his voice was- almost gentle, like Wally was a wounded bird. He'd only ever spoken to Robin like that.

Robin, who was too smart for his own good-

"Why didn't you say anything, Wally?" Barry sounded tortured. "You should have told me, I could've taken you away from there so much sooner."

This was everything that shouldn't be happening. Everything Wally was determined to avoid. It was his problem to deal with, and he was dealing with it, wasn't he? He never wanted Barry to become involved.

But he was now, and so was Batman of all people, and even Robin a little bit, and- the truth, finally, was bubbling up his throat, threatening to pour out his mouth, because the truth was he was so tired, all the time, of hurting and lying and pretending things were great when things really weren't; but he was scared too, so scared, that even the truth might not save him, that there was nothing anyone could do, that people would treat him like he was broken, like he didn't function right, that this would change things with his friends, the friends he lived for on some days when things at home were especially terrible.

That first time his dad hit him, he hadn't been shocked, he'd seen it coming, he could have moved out of the way, but he didn't, and he hadn't brought it up with anyone. Then the hits kept coming, and it was too late to say anything even if he wanted to, which he didn't, and he wasn't sure why he didn't, he just…

"You… you'll get sick of me." The words were quiet, uttered. "You'll… I'm annoying, right? I'm… good in small doses." That's what his friends had said once, laughingly, and they hadn't meant it but the words had stuck with him anyway. "You'll stop loving me as much if you have to deal with me every- "

Strong arms came around him tightly, crushing him against the lightning bolt emblem that meant the entire world to him, and his uncle didn't need to say anything after that- because Wally was crying, Wally was stupid-

He should have known the Flash would save him.