A/N: This was a really hard chapter to write. I listened to "Rubik's Cube" by Athlete practically the whole time, so you might wanna make that your song of choice if you listen to music while you read. XD
This chapter's kinda almost twice as long as the first one, but I promised a two-shot, so enjoy! ouo
Stupid bad guy. Stupid explosives. Stupid collapsing building. He grabbed the last civilian left inside, a sobbing ten-year-old, and held him carefully as he rushed him outside into the street.
Uncle Barry always warned him to be careful with regular people— their bodies didn't work like a speedster's did. Wally couldn't really remember a time when he didn't have super-speed, having lived with it for so long, but he knew it was the Speed Force that slip-streamed the air around his body to protect him as he ran, and he knew that whoever rode along for the ride wasn't protected in the same way.
He had to be careful, always careful, every time he scooped someone up out of harm's way, not to accidentally give them whiplash or break their neck— it was something deeply ingrained in his brain at this point, that even in a panic he had to be careful.
So he set the little boy down and ruffled his hair—because he was scared, and Wally was a hero for the people, wasn't he?—before glancing back at the building.
"Alright KF," Robin said over the comm-link, sounding a little annoyed like he always did when he talked to Wally these days. "That's all of them. Let's go, the team's heading back and the police are here to handle the rest."
"Roger, Rob," Wally replied, a little distracted, because he couldn't shake a certain sinking feeling. A feeling he knew he'd regret shaking—
"Mattie!" A man broke through the crowd and ran to the boy at Wally's side, dropping to his knees when the boy ran to meet him with desperate arms and a renewed bout of sobbing. The man held him, and brushed his hair back with trembling fingers and Wally started to step away to give them room when he said, his voice dropping in what was slow, creeping horror, "Where's your sister?"
To everyone else it must have seemed like the blink of an eye, but to Wally it was a tense moment of watching the building heave and groan and begin to crumble inward, of terrified fathers and sobbing children and someone trapped inside and a hero doing nothing—
He sprinted forward.
"- your sister?"
Robin's heart lurched to a stop and what scared him more than anything was the tense beat of absolute stillness from Wally's end of the comm-link—next to the background noise of raised voices and the noisy collapse of a department store, Wally didn't speak.
And for an instant, the hum of vibrations filled Robin's ear, and before he could open his mouth to beg Wally not to do anything stupid, their radio connection almost shorted out with a burst of static and Robin knew his best friend was running.
The holoscreen on his gauntlet was feeding him the live coverage of the building, patching it straight from the news crew; the building was folding in on itself, crumbling, rubble toppling onto the street. Pedestrians scattered, screams rising to fill the air, and Robin could only stand there, trapped in the pocket of the last three seconds.
Wally had never gone so fast before in his life.
It was moving so fast it was slow; everything around him seemed frozen in time, all the debris and rubble and broken glass and metal fragments of whatever framework had burst through the brick and mortar was falling around him in super slow motion, and he ran through, glancing around-
There was fire in some places, but he didn't feel it as he moved. He must have checked the whole building in less than a second, found the little girl huddled in a corner between a counter and a tall shelf, scooping her up as pretty suddenly the speed was picking up and cognition hit him like a punch in the stomach-
He was running out of time and the door was much too far away-
A window, there!
"Get out of my sight," Rudy snapped, thrusting the documents over like they were garbage and moving to his feet—but of course, Uncle Barry beat him there. "I don't care what you do with that boy."
It took Iris' hand on his arm to keep Barry from disappearing into relative time and slamming Rudy's head against a wall, Barry looked so angry. It would be so easy, Wally knew, but for some reason the blond man held back.
And Wally just sat there, staring at the people who had signed him away so easily. His mom was crying, but she sure as hell wasn't speaking up—
"You really don't care?" His voice came out a whisper. "You—you really don't care? At all?"
I'm your son! he wanted to yell, but he didn't.
And now, he thought, as his father didn't answer and Barry grimly gathered all the paperwork together, I'm not anymore.
He was sitting up, half-lucid and sort of woozy, and things were passing in a blur but not in the normal way. Somewhere distant, the little girl was crying so he raised a heavy hand to stroke her hair.
Voices were all around, raised and panicked. Someone was prying at his arms, attempting to lift the little girl away, and Wally protested even though it came out little more than confused mumbling, and tightened his grip.
He had to protect her. That was his job—if he didn't protect her, she'd get hurt.
"KF— KF, it's okay, it's her dad—"
He knew that voice, trusted that voice, tried to focus his spinning vision and bring that close face into focus but he couldn't.
But the little girl was pulling away now and Wally let her go, and she stumbled but strong arms caught her up and held her close and it was that man, Mattie's dad, Mattie's sister's dad, and he was holding her up off the ground and close, rocking her and crying with her and after a moment Wally was crying too.
"The Flash is on his way to pick you up," Robin said quietly from the doorway to Wally's room at the Cave, and the hardness that had been in his eyes and around his mouth the last few weeks when he spoke to or looked at Wally was nowhere to be seen. Wally wasn't sure why, but he wasn't complaining. "So it'll be like two seconds, right?"
Wally grinned. "Maybe five, if he remembers to stop and tell Iris."
Robin smiled back, but quickly frowned again as Wally started to sit up and came in. "KF—don't, we don't know how hurt you are—"
"Rob I'm fine, trust me."
A shadow entered his best friend's eyes and was quickly gone again as he reached over to help him. Wally felt guilt churn in his stomach, and caught the smaller sidekick's wrist before Robin could touch him.
"Can I talk to you?"
Robin looked incredibly young for a split second, staring at him with wide eyes through his glasses, but then he relaxed, shoulders slumping and head bowing a little—Wally barely caught the murmured, "Finally."
Wally bit down on his lip so he wouldn't say anything stupid and drew his knees up so Robin would have a place to sit. "If it makes you feel any better, you're the first person I'm actually telling."
When Robin took his glasses off, Dick's blue eyes were intent. And Wally figured he maybe could have told him a long time ago.
It was sort of stupid to be nervous about anything at the moment, because he had a certain boy wonder on his right and a solid mass of angry clone muscle on his left, an archer and an alien at his back, and an Atlantian ahead of him, ringing the doorbell. He'd like to see Lex fucking Luthor take a shot at him right now.
But Wally was still really, really nervous as the front door swung open.
"What the hell is this?"
"We're here to get Wally's stuff," Dick said quietly, eyes flashing. "Out of his room? You know, because he's moving? Away from you."
"Robin," Kaldur admonished quietly, but his voice was dark in a way Wally had never heard it before. "Please step aside, sir. We don't want trouble."
From the way Superboy's fists clenched, he did. But Rudy stepped aside, scowling, giving no one any reason to punch him through a wall, and Wally made a beeline for the stairs—the sooner he got his stuff, the sooner they could get out.
Dick and Conner followed him up, and helped him gather everything, tossing all his clothes into a trashbag and piling his science trophies and action figures and videogames, all the lame things that meant so much to him, carefully into a suitcase. His books went into a few boxes, the posters came down off the walls, and in the work of twenty minutes his room was reduced to a stranger's.
"Do you need your blankets or anything?" Dick asked, voice really soft for some reason.
Wally picked up the suitcase, shaking his head, and started to explain that his room at Barry's house (that he'd had since he was a kid and missions ran so late that Iris insisted he stay the night) was decked out in awesome Flash stuff, including a lightning bolt spangled comforter, but the words fell apart halfway through and he sank to his knees, hugging the suitcase to his chest and crying hard.
In a moment, Dick was next to him, shoving the suitcase away and taking its place, hugging Wally fiercely. Superboy slammed out of the bedroom and down the stairs, every footstep loud and as angry as his eyes probably were, and Wally didn't care if he was going down to hit his dad.
His dad deserved it.
And his team would be there, to make sure Conner didn't hurt him too badly. The way they were always there; even when Wally told them the truth he'd been keeping tucked away, Robin at his side, in a voice that faltered and broke too many times. They were there, all around around him in an instant, a support system so much like a family as they immediately began making plans to help him. Never treating him like something broken.
And Dick was there now, letting Wally cling and cry, making sure he didn't put himself through this alone anymore, making sure he didn't run because he didn't need to.
And Barry was probably pacing around the whole house waiting for them, because Kaldur had insisted that he should let the team go and Bats had agreed with him with a certain degree of pride. And Iris was probably making dinner, a huge one, for all of them, because somehow she never minded cooking as much as she did.
And everything was falling apart at the same time it was coming together, but as he sat back and wiped his eyes, and laughed helplessly at what Dick offered to do to his dad's credit, and listened to the commotion going on downstairs, he decided that it was the coming together part he would hold onto.