Wally West hurries down the maternity ward corridor at Coast City General. It sure seems that there's never a dull moment in his life. It's now a few hours into a new year and he's also now a grandfather.
He's decided to step down as the Flash. He's handed over the Flash mantle and the responsibility of protecting Central City to Abbey. Right before the press conference he'd called to announce the change, Richie called and left a voice mail on his cell phone to announce that Jessica had had the baby.
Wally rushed though the rest of the conference and left Abbey to answer the reporters' questions. She's promised to come to the hospital as soon as she's done assuring the citizens of Central City that she'll take good care of them.
Finally, Wally spots the nursery. Richie is standing just outside of it. The speedster can tell by the enraptured expression on his son's face that the new West baby must be inside. He comes to stand next to his oldest son.
"It changes everything, doesn't it?"
Richie looks at him with green eyes identical to his own. "I've only been a father for a few hours and I have no idea how you managed to hold it together with five. I don't think there's anything I wouldn't do for her."
The redhead merely smiles. Then he turns his attention to the babies lying asleep in the nursery. Right in the middle of the row closest to the window is a beautiful baby girl wrapped in a pink blanket. Peeking out from a matching knit cap is a tuft of Jess's dark hair. Wally studies the name card decorated with teddy bears. The last he'd heard, a name hadn't been decided on. Now he sees that his granddaughter has indeed been named.
"Adeline. That's pretty," Wally remarks.
"Jess picked it." Richie grins and adds, "I thought that twelve hours of labor was enough to let her pick whatever name she wanted."
"Always a good decision," the former Flash replies. "And Jess is doing well?"
Richie's still smiling. "She is. She's perfect. The baby's perfect. This is everything I want, Dad. I have it good."
Wally doesn't have anything to say in response. So he merely places a hand on his son's shoulder and looks back at little Adeline. Her eyes move beneath closed lids, like she's having an amazing dream.
The West males are joined by Richie's in-laws, Hal and Carol Jordan. They both look at the baby for a moment, clearly just as enchanted by her as everyone else. Wally has a feeling that little Addie won't be hearing the word "no" a whole lot in her life.
Then Carol gives Richie a hug. Hal shakes Wally's hand. "Stepping down, I hear," the Green Lantern says. "I'll keep an eye on Abbey for you when I can," he promises. "Tell her congratulations from us."
"You can tell me yourself, Uncle Hal!" Abbey's voice calls in a chipper tone. The members of the group turn to see Abbey and Gio heading down the hallway towards where they're all gathered. Abbey is carrying an enormous blue teddy bear. Richie groans at the sight of it.
Abbey sets the stuffed animal down and reaches for her older brother. The two speedsters exchange a big hug. Then the redhead pulls back and takes a peek into the nursery. She smiles as she catches sight of her new niece and breathes, "She's beautiful, Richie. Congratulations."
Gio joins his girlfriend. His arm winds around her waist and Abbey leans against him. The new Flash looks up at him, and Wally can tell the younger couple is no doubt thinking of their futures together. The idea of his youngest daughter becoming a mother makes him profoundly uncomfortable.
The Jordans coo over Adeline for another minute and then announce that they're heading home. Richie assures his in-laws that he'll see them later. As soon as they're gone, he takes a good long look at the teddy bear. "Abbey," the oldest West son begins, "why did you buy that?"
She looks confused. "I have a new baby niece. You're supposed to buy your new baby niece presents."
"I appreciate that," Richie replies. "But I think the beautiful mural you painted in the nursery was present enough."
Wally can see what his son is trying to do. He laughs. Richie shoots him a death glare. This only makes the senior speedster laugh harder.
Abbey appears to be catching on as well. "Well, the baby won't appreciate that," she points out. "I think she'll like the bear a lot more once she's old enough to climb on it and use it as a pillow."
The bond man sighs and throws up his hands. "I give up. But when you have kids, I am going to get them obnoxious presents. Presents that are noisy and light up and may possibly be possessed by demonic spirits."
But Abbey only grins. "Bring it on!" Richie rolls his eyes. He turns on his heel and heads down the corridor. Wally guesses that he's going to check on Jessica. Abbey seems to have come to the same conclusion as well. She hoists the enormous toy into her arms and follows her brother's path. "I bet Jess will love the present," she taunts.
Gio catches Wally's eye. The magician merely shrugs at the siblings' dynamic. "Hey, I raised them and I certainly don't get it," the retired Flash tells the dark haired boy. Gio grins and looks just like his father. Wally's not in the habit of checking out his daughters' boyfriends or anything, but at the moment he can see the attraction there. Then the younger man trails after Abbey and Richie.
This of course leaves Wally alone in the hallway. He looks back at his sleeping granddaughter. "Hey, little girl," he whispers. "I'm your Grandpa Wally. And I'm so glad you're finally here. I just know you're going to do so many incredible things. It doesn't matter if you're a speedster, or if you end up in one of the Lantern Corps, or if you're just you. But I know whatever you do will be amazing. I promise to be here for as much of it as I can."
A warm arm slides around his torso. Wally's emerald gaze locks on Artemis's blonde hair. She looks up at him with a smile. "Are you babbling to her already?"
He adopts an expression of fake outrage. "I am not babbling, Artemis." The retired hero presses a kiss to the top of her head. "I can't believe that our baby's a parent now. We're old."
"Not this again," Artemis teases. Then she turns to the baby. "I don't remember ours being so small," she says quietly. There's a pause before Artemis says, "She's so pretty."
Wally grins. "Of course she is. Part of her comes from us. Adeline is going to be quite the heartbreaker."
"You are a walking cliché," the reporter states flatly. But she's still smiling and he knows she doesn't really mind.
It occurs to Wally that he doesn't know where any of their other children are. Adeline is the first West baby of the next generation. He's expected to see the rest of the brood out in full force to celebrate the new arrival. "So where are our other offspring and their various significant others?" the redhead asks his wife.
"Tori's still with Amistad visiting Kaldur and Raquel. I think they'll all be here later today. CJ and Marie were here for awhile, but I don't know where they got off to. And Cal says he'll be here later with coffee and breakfast. He says he has good news and wants to tell everyone at once."
A grin stretches across Wally's face. "He proposed."
"I think so," Artemis agrees. "New Year's Eve seems like the kind of occasion Cal would choose to pop the question. And at least we don't have to worry about any negative consequences that might have."
"Hear that, Addie? You may be having a cousin soon." This comment earns Wally a swift elbow in the ribs.
"We did alright, didn't we, Wally?" Artemis asks. His wife's stormy gray gaze has locked onto their sleeping granddaughter once more. She looks thoughtful. "We got them all through to adulthood. None of them are in jail and they're all college educated, or at least enrolled in college. So, all in all, we weren't total disasters as parents."
To Wally, it seems more like she's talking to herself than she is to him. But he nods and adds in a cheerful tone, "And now we've come full circle." Artemis makes a noise of agreement. It gives Wally the courage to bring up an idea he's been toying with for awhile. "Do you want to renew our vows?" The speedster thinks she'll reject the idea. She was hardly interested in planning their wedding the first time. Megan had taken care of most of the details.
But Artemis surprises him. It's kind of amazing that she can still do that after twenty-five years of marriage.
She says, "Yes."