It was nearly 6 o'clock on Friday, the time that Wally West was supposed to be traveling up to the Justice League's satellite headquarters, the Watchtower, as Kid Flash. Only, he wasn't traveling anywhere bent over his mother's knee the way he was.

Sounds like the cracks of four gunshots rang out through his parents' small bedroom.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

"This cannot be happening!" Wally mumbled through gritted teeth, his lips nearly touching the carpet of his parents' bedroom, bent over his mother's knee as he was.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

I'm a fricking superhero! Superheroes do not get spanked! He felt this with complete conviction but these thoughts had no effect on his mother. She continued to do so.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

My butt! Dammit! This is starting to really hurt! Out of the corner of his eye he could see the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was already six o'clock. This can-not be happening!

But it was happening. He was going to be late getting to the Watchtower because he was bent over his mother's knee getting a spanking.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

For several minutes, the whole thing had been a slow motion train wreck. He realized now that his sister had set him up, which only made this worse.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

She told him that the new box of Nilla Wafers was fair game. He'd been unable to resist Nilla Wafers before being speedsterized. Now, he'd eat three boxes at a time, if they'd let him. His sister told him they were fair game. Dammit! She said . . !

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

His mother wouldn't listen. His sister pretended she'd told him the opposite. No matter what he said, no matter how he protested, his mother didn't believe him. She took his sister's word.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

He tried to sidestep the whole thing, telling his mother that he had to go. He was supposed to be at um . . Aaron's house at six. She didn't care. She almost took offense that he was trying to get out of punishment.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

She grabbed his wrist and started toward the stairs up to her room. He couldn't believe this was happening today of all days, now of all times!

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

He hadn't been spanked for months and months. Maybe it was a year now. He figured his mother had realized that he was too old for that. He protested on the way up the stairs. "Mom! I'm . . I'm . . almost 13 now. This is ridiculous." Behind him, he could hear his sister giggling with delight at the immediate prospect.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

And then they were in the bedroom and he watched his mother pick the ridiculous oversized hairbrush off the dresser, one she never even used except for this. His mind raced. There had to be a way out of this that didn't compromise his secret identity. But he ran through ideas in his head and couldn't come up with anything. So Wally West, aka Kid Flash, found himself getting bent over his mother's knee and his pants pulled down before being forced to absorb a series of swats as hard as his mother could manage with the supersized hair brush.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

He was furious at the unfairness and ridiculousness of it all. So, no matter how much it was starting to hurt, he refused to cry or yelp or say anything. He only grunted slightly with each wallop he absorbed. They came in series of four at a time. That was just how his mother did it. But denying his mother any satisfaction was having the opposite of the intended effect. If anything, she was hitting him harder.

Whack!Whack!Whack!Whack!

She paused and to his mother's shock, her boy scientist son rose up off her knee faster than she thought he could. He pulled up the back of his pants and faced her angrily.

"I'm . . . ," he paused, breathing heavily.

He almost said it to let her know how incredibly much she underestimated him, how much they all did. But instead of divulging out of anger, he withheld out of anger. You don't deserve to know!

". . I'm almost 13 now. I'm not gonna put up with this any more."

His mother, still seated on the edge of the bed, was momentarily shocked then sputtered, "You'll . . you'll do what we tell you to!"

"I already do! I do my chores. I make my own money mowing lawns. I get good grades in school. I do everything I'm supposed to! I don't deserve this," he said gesturing at the giant hairbrush still in her hand. "I don't know why I'm supposed to always get crapped on but I'm not taking this part of it," he gestured at the hairbrush again, "Not any more."

With that he marched out the room, past his sister watching it all from the top of the stairs and down to the front door. He stopped to rub his sore ass by the door and to announce, "I'm going over to Aaron's house. I'll be back Sunday night."

20 seconds later he had changed into his Kid Flash uniform, quite happy that it was red from the waist down, and sped to where Flash was waiting outside the courthouse building in Keystone City. Flash gave him a look of disappointment, one eyebrow raised.

"You're two minutes late. Mr. Terrific already called down from the Watchtower wondering where you are."

Kid Flash gave a flustered sigh. "It . . it was a-a family thing. I . . couldn't get out of it . . my . . my sister and my crazy mother," he finished with a shake of his head. The incongruity of having to deal with . . that . . he rubbed his buns through his Kid Flash uniform . . when I'm about to go up to the watchtower! He shook his head.

"Are you okay? Are you ready for this?"

Kid Flash nodded.

Flash pressed on his right earwing a series of times rapidly. From right next to his mentor, Kid Flash heard a weird high pitched tone and then another voice.

"Mr. Terrific, Watchtower comm center."

"T, it's me, Flash."

"Is your boy there now?"

"He's one step to my right and ready to go."

". . yup. Got a . . lock on him, too. Just hold on a second while the teleporter does the usual first time scan of the newby."

Flash leaned down slightly toward Kid Flash. "They've teleported me up there a bunch of times. But before a guy gets beamed up for the first time they have to do a scan of your body to make sure there aren't any . . unexpected anomalies."

"Like my . . " he looked down at his lower abs where everything he digested got sent to another dimension.

"Oh, that's not that unusual. It's the Justice League. Now, get ready. You'll feel a tingle and then it's like being in a white tunnel and then you'll be up in the transporter room."

"Okay, your boy's clean. Come on up!" Kid Flash heard that same voice saying in Flash's right earwing. The next second his whole body started to tingle, kind of pleasantly, actually. And then it was like everything he saw was a computer screen and individual pixels were being deleted from the image and replaced with spots of white till more and more the screen was just plain white and then finally all white. This took just a fraction of a second but it seemed longer to a speedster. Then the white all around him became almost blinding. And suddenly everything in his vision was a normal white again. And then it was the reverse; it was like individual pixels were showing up again, little pieces of the puzzle picture replacing the white and suddenly, he could see that he was in the stainless steel and black marble interior of the Watchtower teleportation room.

He lingered on the silver circle where he'd somehow "landed", turning his head this way and that as though he had to take it all in right away. "Wow," he gushed. "So, this is a geosynchronous orbit, right?"

Flash nodded and ushered him toward a doorway at the far end of the room. Kid Flash shuffled alongside, still awed. He patted his abs checking that he felt normal. "Then I-I just got moved 22,236 miles up into the sky and I didn't even feel a push or pull or like I was being lifted. I-I was just . . there and-and now I'm here. I . . w-wow!"

Flash introduced him to Mr. Terrific and for the next 15 minutes, Kid Flash indulged all his science obsessions. Mr. Terrific and Flash were complete nerds and both thought it was perfectly natural for a boy to be fascinated by the various aspects of the Watchtower, the teleporting system, the communications system, the power plant, the synthetic gravity system, the atmospheric controls . . everything!

He asked dozens of questions and Mr. Terrific and Flash answered them all. They were helped by J'onn J'onnz, who wandered by and flashed a rare smile of enjoyment at the young speedster's high speed curiosity.

Finally, Kid Flash felt a tap on his shoulder as Mr. Terrific was explaining how some of the controls for the teleporter worked.

"This one here locks in the molecular matrix of the target and sets-"

"Huh?" He was taken totally by surprise. Did something else besides this scientific display exist?

He finally turned to that side to see Flash with a raised eyebrow.

"We've gotta go, Kid Flash. I'm supposed to meet Green Arrow."

Kid Flash gave a hurried hand shake thank you to Mr. Terrific and zipped after Flash. Flash was walking at a brisk but normal pace through the mostly white and stainless steel halls of the Watchtower. Every few seconds, Kid Flash would point to something, identify it and slow down hoping that Flash would stop and let him examine it more closely. But Flash just kept going.

"Flash! One of the liquid fluroride thorium reactor rooms. Please, Flash . . can we . . . "

"Flash! The holographic projection entertainment room you told me about! Let's . . . "

"Flash! The magnetized plasma shield generator . . Fla-ash?!

Finally, the boy speedster gave a resigned sigh and just walked alongside his mentor. But he couldn't remain silent for long.

"Where are we going?"

"To the cafeteria to meet Green Arrow, Black Canary and Speedy."

Kid Flash's mind raced. A Justice League cafeteria! So cool. And Green Arrow, Black Canary, one hot lady, and Speedy.

His thoughts were mostly of Speedy and what this might mean. A superhero friend, a superhero pal. A buddy I won't have to lie and hide this side of myself from. Someone I can compare notes with, someone who I can talk to about all of this. Everything won't be so lonely. A superhero best friend.

Kid Flash's head filled with a hazy glow at the prospect. He hadn't had a best friend, nor much of a friend at all since Chan and his family had moved away to Star City, since right after he became Kid Flash. Just being in the Watchtower felt like he was moving beyond his unsatisfying Wally West life. Having a superhero best friend would be the next big step into his new life.

Seeing his reflection in one of the doors to the cafeteria he had a moment's feeling of insecurity about how incredibly tight his uniform was but dismissed this worry considering that everyone here was wearing spandex or a cape or something else ridiculously flamboyant. So, you can see the exact outline of every muscle in my body, so what?

He made himself walk with good posture, proud of himself, not insecure at all, uh uh, not him. As they entered the almost illogically large cafeteria with tables and chairs casually a bit askew, Kid Flash could see Green Lantern and Hawkman and Hawkgirl talking and eating at one nearby table. A few past them Plastic Man and Elongated Man were laughing. At another, Captain Marvel and Wildcat were discussing something. There were pairs and groups of three or four heroes dotted around the room. In one far corner, Batman sat alone. Flash led Kid Flash to one side of the room where they picked up trays and started walking past all the food displays.

"You take as much as you want and anything you want," said Flash. Kid Flash beamed. This was a speedster's dream come true. He piled his tray high with turkey, roast beef, lasagna, shrimp, vegetables and mashed potatoes with two pieces of chocolate cake for dessert and a 32 ounce 7up to wash it all down. Screw you, Mayor Bloomberg, I'm a Flash! The food made a pyramid on his tray that he had to be careful to balance so that nothing fell off. Flash's tray looked nearly as gluttonous.

Flash led his protege over to the other side of the cafeteria where, at a table just past Captain Marvel and Wildcat, there were Black Canary and Speedy facing him and Green Arrow with his back to the speedsters as they approached. Black Canary stood up smiling.

"Flash! Oh, my gosh, and you must be Kid Flash!"

Kid Flash nodded, his mouth unfortunately already full of turkey meat. He frantically chewed and swallowed. "Yes, ma'am."

She gestured for Flash and Kid Flash to take two of the empty seats at their table. After the speedsters had put down their trays she introduced them both to Speedy. Flash shook his hands first and then Kid Flash.

He could see that the teen archer was taller than him by a few inches. He guessed that he was a year or so older, too. He wore an all red uniform that, while maybe spandex, was nowhere near as tight as a Flash suit. His bow and quiver full of arrows rested on the back of his chair. He seemed to be looking Kid Flash over just as much as Kid Flash was doing likewise and finally his face broke into a big smirk. Or maybe that was a bigger smirk because soon enough Kid Flash came to the conclusion that Speedy was always smirking at something.

"Amazing place, huh?" said Kid Flash to the teen archer as he dug in to his tray of food.

"It works."

"I was showing Kid Flash some of the Watchtower's tech," explained Flash to Speedy as well as his guardians. "He was bombarding me and Mr. Terrific with questions about the teleporting system and the communications frequencies we have for clear transmission to anywhere on earth and the magnetic plasma shields. Great stuff for a boy."

Kid Flash saw, out of the corner of his eye that both Speedy and Green Arrow made faces.

"Flashes," muttered Green Arrow.

"Ollie!" Black Canary seemed to be warning him and he didn't say anything more.

Kid Flash kept feverishly shoveling in his food. It was such a relief to be free of any need to pretend to eat like any other boy and to not have to worry about the supply of food. The young speedster finished the last of his entrees and vegetables and let out a huge burp.

"Excuse me."

Speedy chuckled. "How are you not a giant fat ass eating like that?"

Kid Flash shrugged and swallowed a gulp of 7up. "Fast metabolism."

Flash glanced at the clock on one wall of the cafeteria and abruptly stood up. He extended a hand to Speedy. "Well, it's nice to meet you, son, but your mom and dad and I have to go now. Our mission requires that we leave in just a few minutes. You and Kid Flash can hang out together for the next couple days and get to know each other. We might be back from Rigell 7 later tonight or we might be gone all the way through till Sunday. We'll have to see how things go."

Speedy shrugged. Yeah, sure, whatever.

Green Arrow shook Kid Flash's hand and Black Canary gave him a pat on the head and a hug as she went past. Seconds later, they were gone.

Kid Flash took a last gulp of his 7up and let out a thunderous burp. Speedy shook his head and muttered, "Come on." Kid Flash followed him in busing their table, getting their mentors' trays taken care of, too.

"Where to from here?" asked Kid Flash following Speedy out of the cafeteria out into the hallway.

"Our room," Speedy tossed over his shoulder.

They went down one hallway, turned right, went down another, up a set of stairs, down another long hallway and turned left down yet another hallway near the end of which they stopped. Speedy took off his glove and was about to press his hand onto the black glass pad at waist height outside the door but stopped and gestured to Kid Flash. "You do it."

Kid Flash took off his right glove and pressed his hand to the dark square. A high pitched 'PING' sounded, and a mechanical female voice intoned "Kid . . Flash" then the door opened outward toward them. Kid Flash was going to ask when his hand print had gotten into the system then realized that the teleporter had taken his body apart and put it back together 22,000 miles away so it could probably manage to get his prints.

Inside, the room was fairly large. There were actually four beds in the mostly white room. They were sort of an odd size, wider than twin beds and almost two feet longer than normal beds. Maybe that was what you had to have with superhero sized people staying over. The furnishings were sort of sci fi Ikea, completely modern but not luxurious. Each bed had a small desk and a set of shelves next to it as well as a small dresser. There was one large television in the room. It faced the bed that Speedy sauntered over to and flopped down on.

"Can I take any of the others?"

Speedy shrugged indifference. "Sure."

Kid Flash walked over and flopped down on the one nearest to Speedy's, the only other one that would see much on the room's television. An awkward silence began that Kid Flash quickly broke.

"So, have you been here before?"

"Three times before this."

"This is my first time."

Another awkward silence loomed. Kid Flash felt anxious. He couldn't remember ever being so anxious to make friends. Even when he'd first moved to Jump City from Blue Valley and kids had all made fun of him for his orange hair and for being a nerd. He'd just endured it and then struck up a great friendship with Chan and lesser friendships with Aaron, Jeff and Stevie. Now, Chan lived in a different city and things were deteriorating with the other guys. He desperately wanted to be good friends with Speedy but at the same time he knew that if he acted desperate that it would never happen.

"Um, so, have you met any other young heroes?"

"Yeah, I met Aqualad for one."

Kid Flash nodded. "He seems like a cool guy."

Speedy made a bit of a face. "The pretty boy prince of Atlantis."

"I-I heard him talk. There was a clip on youtube. He spoke in a very . . sophisticated way."

"Yeah, he's mister grammar and mister politeness."

"You said 'for one'. Have you met any others?"

"Robin."

Kid Flash rolled his eyes. The little elf shoed fascist.

Speedy laughed at the speedster's expression. "I totally agree. I was friendly toward him but he gave me all this batitude. Total wall of frost."

"Ahaha!" Kid Flash laughed out loud. Batitude. "How 'bout, um," Kid Flash started quietly leaning forward on the edge of his bed. "Wonder Girl and Bat Girl. Did you ever meet them?"

"You think they're hot?"

Kid Flash stood up now but only grinned in response.

"Well, why would they ever go out with you when they could go out with me or total pretty boys like Aqualad or Captain Marvel Junior."

"I-I don't know. Maybe they'd like me."

"First, you'd have to convince 'em that you're not gay which might be tough with that suit," Speedy chuckled. Kid Flash sighed. Made fun of even in a crowd where everyone's wearing spandex.

"I'm a Flash," he protested.

"Well, if you wear a suit that tight, long enough, it'll make you gay."

"Hey!"

"I mean, I felt a little embarrassed about my uniform," Speedy said, tapping at his utility belt. "I mean . . red spandex. But, haha, compared to you I'm understated and modest. That stuff, whatever it is, is like spandex squared. I didn't think anything could fit that tight."

"Flashes have to wear uniforms this tight. It's not something I just felt like wearing."

"Maybe so, but it's one thing for Flash to wear a suit like that. He's like six one and impressive. You must be the smallest hero in here, unless Robin or Atom's in the Watchtower, but that freaking suit is tighter than anyone else's."

Kid Flash fumed.

"What do you wear under a suit like that?" Speedy asked, pointing below Kid Flash's waist. "Oh shit, you're wearing a freaking dance belt aren't you?"

"Yeah," admitted Kid Flash guessing this might be the quickest way to get past this.

Speedy rocked back and forth laughing and finished this outburst with a clap of his hands. "Oh my god. A suit that tight and ballet underwear. How will you ever explain that to Wonder Girl or Batgirl?"

"Well I didn't figure on leading off with that. Hi, I'm Kid Flash and I wear a dance belt under this suit."

"It's a unitard, too, isn't it?"

Kid Flash shrugged. "Yeah. So?"

"Unitards are way more gay than two pieces," snickered Speedy.

"You seem to be some kind of authority on what's 'gay' and what's not. How did you come to be such an authority?"

"Ooooo! Little dude fires back," laughed Speedy standing up and then advancing to where Kid Flash stood and patting him on the shoulder. "Don't get your unitard all in a bunch. Anybody can see you're in impossibly good shape. I just don't think Wonder Girl or Batgirl would ever consider you if Aqualad or Captain Marvel Junior were around. They're the best looking dudes."

Kid Flash only shrugged. How would you determine such a thing? Maybe they were. Maybe they weren't. No matter what he still wanted to meet Wonder Girl and Batgirl.

"You have any idea whether Wonder Girl or Batgirl might come up to the Watchtower this weekend?"

"What am I, their secretary? I don't know. But I heard Batgirl was here last weekend so I doubt that she'll be up here again, so soon. She wouldn't want you, anyway. You're barely taller than Robin. Maybe you should try to hook up with a civilian or a villain girl," chuckled Speedy as he flopped back down on his bed and pulled a smart phone out of his utility belt.

"A villain girl?!" Kid Flash shook his head dismissively.

Speedy chuckled at him. "Like you should be turning away anyone who doesn't fall down laughing at that uniform."

Another awkward silence filled the room.

"Hey, you can get reception up here?" asked Kid Flash nodding toward Speedy and his smart phone then reaching for the remote control for the room's tv.

Speedy spoke with a shake of his head while looking down at his phone's screen. "What, you think they can teleport your ass up here but they can't bounce a few measly microwaves off to another satellite?"

Kid Flash only shrugged, just happy that open conflict had been avoided. He pressed the power button on the remote but nothing happened.

Huh?

He tried another hundred times. Still nothing.

Hmmph.

Then he noticed a small black glass square at the bottom of the control labeled "THUMB PRINT". Oh. He took off his right glove and placed his thumb on it. That same robotic woman's voice as at the door pronounced, "Kid . . Flash". Now, he pressed the power button and the tv turned on. But this wasn't just any tv. This tv seemed to have every channel on earth. There were more than a thousand with the stations from different nations all in bunches together. One through 500 were from the U.S. 501 through 550 were from Japan and so on. He picked a number at random. 537. The screen came alive with a newscast that the look of the news anchors, the caption text and the skyline in the background gave away as Tokyo. He tried another, 1241. Now, the screen showed a bullfight with sounds of a cheering crowd and a frantic spanish announcer's voice bellowing at a pace that would do an auctioneer proud in response to a matador waving a cape in front of a bull charging hopelessly.

Hmmph. Kid Flash remembered seeing a promo at Stevie's house about a notorious movie with all these naked girls about to premiere on one of the U.S. pay movie channels. Hmmm. He navigated down to the american tv offerings and found his way to that channel but, to his chagrin, the 70 inch screen first went blue then displayed a message in huge letters. "CHANNEL BLOCKED. NOT AGE APPROPRIATE FOR VIEWER - KID FLASH"

"Aw, come on!" he moaned.

"Yeah, I tried that, too, my first time," snickered Speedy from the bed behind him to one side before going back to his smart phone and flicking messages away rapid fire. "We'd have to get one of the over 21's or at least over 17's to thumb the control for us. Good luck with the crowd we've got here. Maybe Firestorm, Plastic Man or Wildcat would do it for us. None of the rest."

Speedy finished with his phone, stowing it in his utility belt as he stood up and gestured to Kid Flash to follow him out the door. "Come on, let's go to the holodeck."

Kid Flash wasn't sure what Speedy had in mind but he followed anyway. It turned out that the holodeck was an almost illogically large high ceilinged room that could be programmed to be any sort of setting, warehouse, an empty floor of an office building, a horse riding ring, a deserted city street etc. There were dozens more. Kid Flash saw Speedy flicking past them on the control screen by the door. Speedy clicked for "empty floor of an office building" on the one foot square little screen set waist on the wall. All of a sudden, everything around them was an office. Desks, chairs, cubicles, phones, keyboards, monitors, bulletin boards covered with postits. It was exact and the detail stunned Kid Flash. He stared open mouthed. He wandered over to Speedy at the control console.

"How's it do that?" he half gasped.

Speedy shrugged. "I don't know. Okay, let's pick a reason why we're fighting. Let's see what random comes up with," said the teen archer clicking for that choice on the touch screen.

"Huh?" asked the boy speedster only vaguely aware of what the teen archer had said. "How . . how does it do this? This-this is amazing! Do you understand how amazing this is?!" asked an excited Kid Flash pressing one red gloved hand to the office cubicle divider a foot away from him that hadn't been there 10 seconds ago and couldn't possibly be there now but somehow was. It had physical mass and shape. Kid Flash gawked at it.

He scanned the room in all directions looking for some sort of source of these effects but the room was just an absolutely run of the mill office.

"You have to explain the science of this to me!" he demanded.

"I don't know how the freaking molecules came together fer chrissakes. I just know that they do."

"How can you just accept this like nothing?" asked an incredulous Kid Flash gesturing with one arm at the office that was suddenly there.

"Easy. I'm not a super nerd Flash."

"What?"

"Everybody knows that's how your group is."

Kid Flash squinted quizzically. "My group?"

"Yeah," said Speedy matter of factly. "Your group, Flashes, are nerds. Supers are stiffs. Bats are psycho assholes. Arrows are cool. Aquas are sort of snobs. Marvels are dumb jocks. Lanterns are-"

"Wait. So . . . you've got everybody pegged and you just happen to have assigned to yourself that you're cool?"

Speedy smirked. "What'd you want me to do, lie? Besides, that's not just me. That's how everybody in the league thinks. Flash is like the biggest nerd in the universe and you're his nerd understudy."

"Oh really? . . . and, uh, . . does Superman know you think he's a stiff?"

Speedy chuckled. "Have you met him?

Kid Flash fumed silently for a moment.

Speedy continued. "That's why you have the villains you have. Everybody gets villains like themselves. You and Flash have all these villains, Captain Cold, Heatwave, Weather Wizard, Mirror Master who seem to have taken their junior high science projects and just kept upgrading 'em till they had something they can rob a bank with."

"Hey! We have tougher villains than anyone. Gorilla Grodd! . . . Abra Kadabra! That guy can do practically anything!

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. But all he wants is to be applauded. Then you have all those really powerful stiffs superman fights like Brainiac 5. And look at Batman's villains a psychotic bunch of assholes. Everybody gets villains like them. That's just how it goes. It's like a law of nature."

Kid Flash fumed some more. He didn't want to admit it but what Speedy was saying had a lot of truth to it. The Flash villains did tend strongly toward science nuts.

"You can see I'm right, can't you?" said Speedy seeing the change of expression away from indignation on the speedster's face. "Allright, enough about what a nerd you are. Let's do this. What do you say, ten minute time limit?"

Kid Flash shrugged. "What are we doing, anyway?"

"A fight, a practice fight."

"What?!" Kid Flash made a face. "I can't fight you. I have a power. I'd kick your ass."

"oooo pretty confident. Well, I wasn't intending for you to use your . . 'power' and," he set aside his bow and his quiver full of arrows. "I'm not going to use my weapons. Just you against me with no super speed and no arrows."

Kid Flash sighed in displeasure. "That's good for you. You're, what, five eight and change to my five four and something like a hundred thirty to my one oh two."

"Do you wanna get better at fighting or not?"

Kid Flash nodded.

"Then ya gotta fight and sometimes the other guy's bigger. Besides, I wouldn't have that much weight advantage on you if you had even a drop of fat. Christ, you're a little freak. No powers, promise?"

Kid Flash nodded. Speedy read off the justification from the screen that the computer had come up with. It was a misunderstanding said the computer. Each hero boy thought the other had been tricked by a crime kingpin to be after the wrong guy. The fight started with Speedy rushing at Kid Flash and half shoving, half throwing him over the top of some office cubicle dividers. For the first 30 seconds or so, Kid Flash was startled by the simple violence of it. He didn't fight like this. He was smaller than everyone. Zoom in and punch, run off. Zoom in and punch, run off. That was how he fought. This was like a barroom brawl.

He really tried to not use super speed but where was the dividing line? He didn't use super speed in swinging at Speedy or dodging him or moving. But if you get thrown over an office cubicle wall onto a desk, how do you not stick your hand out to push the monitor away so that the back of your neck doesn't come down on it?

After just a little bit of it, he found, to his surprise, that he was actually kind of enjoying all the chaotic destruction as he and Speedy went smashing into a water cooler, sent desks flying and flipped over large copying machines. He knew he was doing a better job of fighting by the end of the 10 minutes. At first, Speedy had simply overpowered him, throwing him and bull rushing him. But every time he adapted to Speedy, the teen archer seemed to come up with something new. He was impressed with the archer's skill.

At the 10 minute mark, a bell tone sounded in the room and suddenly all the office furnishings simply disappeared. Kid Flash wanted to take more note of this but Speedy had him from behind in a full nelson, his arms underneath Kid Flash's, to raise them and both his palms on the back of Kid Flash's head.

"Okay, what do you do now, speedster? How do you get out of this?"

Kid Flash grunted, struggling as much as he could without using his speed. "I don't know!"

Speedy's voice right behind him was contemptuous. "You mean you have a freaking super power and you're now sure how to get out of this hold?"

"What? I can use my speed? Okay."

Kid Flash vibrated his body so that the surface of his suit was red hot to the touch.

"Yeow!" Speedy let go and jumped back. "Jesus, you freaking burned me." As he did he grabbed at the back of Kid Flash's uniform and not only the waist of the uniform but the back of his dance belt. As he fell backward and Kid Flash started to zip in the other direction, his Kid Flash suit and dance belt both stretched four feet resulting in Kid Flash feeling a sudden, tremendous squeeze at his crotch. He started falling to his knees in distress just as Speedy let go.

SNAP!

His own uniform snapped back and hit him in the backside, hard. "Oh, man!" the speedster bemoaned this double discomfort rubbing himself front and back as the now safely unburnt archer chuckled.

But, the archer seemed to show him some respect now. And for most of the rest of that night, things were pretty smooth between the two redheads. They went back to their room stopping at one of the observation decks along the way. There was a huge window and a series of telescopes just waiting for anyone who came along to use if he or she wanted. Kid Flash pointed out some constellations to Speedy who knew more than Kid Flash expected. From there, they sauntered back to their room.

Kid Flash zipped to the cafeteria to get something for Speedy and much more for himself. Inside the cafeteria, he came upon Mr. Terrific getting Hawkgirl's electronic signature on some ipad looking device he had in his hand. He was explaining to her what it was. As he approached, Kid Flash heard something about a waiver to allow Thanagar to permit the League to do something or other.

Just as he got there, Hawkgirl, who stood about five foot nine, turned to the five foot four inch tall boy speedster and held out her mace, a more than two foot long battle weapon with an 18 inch long handle topped by a ball of steel eight inches across and studded with pyramidal spikes.

"Hold this for me," she said and she was so casual about it, offering it with a relaxed, one handed gesture that Kid Flash thought nothing of it. She turned back to sign electronically and a loud CLANK! reverberated off the cafeteria walls.

Kid Flash had been shocked to find that the damn thing weighed a hundred pounds. Though he frantically got his other hand onto the handle before the mace smashed into the black marble floor, he'd been too casual and didn't get into a position to have enough leverage to catch it. He was acutely conscious that the whole room was now looking at him, the skinny speedster bent over picking up the illogically heavy mace but there was nothing he could do now. He gathered it up, ending up cradling it like a baby as he stood next to Hawkgirl and marveling at how she took it from him with the same ease that most women her size might pick up a tv remote control.

He quickly got Speedy's snack and drink and his three snacks and drinks and zipped back to their room. Speedy was watching tv. As Kid Flash entered the darkened room and handed Speedy his snack and drink he could see that he somehow had the tv showing the channel that had denied him any viewing earlier. And it was playing that same nudity filled movie again.

Kid Flash gawked at his fellow hero redhead. "How did you do it? It should be refusing you the same way it refused me. You're not old enough to see this movie either, are you?"

"Shhhh!" Speedy cautioned and without looking away from the screen added, "If I told ya, I'd have to kill ya."

Kid Flash just sighed with a roll of his eyes and sat down next to Speedy on the archer's bed.

"You mind? The view's better here."

"Nah."

The boys' timing was perfect. The sexual odyssey of a fashion model, as the cable systems had summarized the movie, ended just minutes before there was a knock on the door. It turned out to be Black Canary, Green Arrow and Flash. Speedy was in the bathroom washing up but Kid Flash had already washed and taken off his uniform before jumping under the covers of his bed.

By the time Speedy emerged from the bathroom, he saw Flash bend over and give Kid Flash a hug about the shoulders and then a kiss goodnight on the forehead and then Black Canary do likewise. He brushed off any similar gestures toward him.

The minute their mentors were out the door, Speedy was back to mocking him. Hahaha that uniform! Gay gay gay! Little baby! Nerd Flash! Hahaha!

Kid Flash was perplexed. He was just thinking that they were getting along pretty well. Speedy had showed him some respect after the practice fight on the holodeck and they'd both enjoyed the movie. Now it was like they were back to square one. He finally pretended to have already fallen asleep to get Speedy to stop. The intensity of his sudden feeling of disappointment kept him awake a while longer. But maybe tomorrow would turn out better. It would be his first full day in the Watchtower.