Title: We Were Once Perfect (4/?)
Warnings: Potential spoilers for entire series and future episodes (yay head-canon ideas and guesswork!) Oh, and character death, both true and assumed.
WALLY IS BACK AND IT IS A GLORIOUS THING.
Note: HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY THAT I LOVE YOU? Because I do, whoever you are (reader, reviewer, list adder, etc). I get on the computer and find all of these reviews and hits and adds and I end up on the floor, a twitchy heap of love and amazement. You're all amazing and I write for you, so many words (in less than a week, this became my longest piece ever) And I never thought I'd have done so much in that one week. But you guys make me want to and again, I love you all! I've never gotten such a high amount of hits as the Sunday the last chapter came out. I want to cry because of all the love this is getting. I write it for you.
In response to anon reviews: ZS-I needed Wally because due to the comics changing, this show/universe is the only place he's at. And not this upcoming episode but the next is supposedly Flash centered, so I'm losing my mind! And Lian made my life! Feel free to keep ranting; chances are I'm just agreeing with you and shouting "Preach!" I'm glad you think Wally was spot on; and your suggestion was cute (I'm picturing it in my head right now). Wally won't get a chance to do that today, but if he ever does, I'll be giving you a shout-out. won't be the Victim: I'm glad you like the story and I hope you like this chapter as well.
Once again, this is based off the wonderful Ally Marton's prompt: Wally supposedly dies in a mission, but somehow he comes back to the team years later, as Wally, not some Cadmus clone or traitor. How does the team (both old and new) react? The things she definitely wanted were the team actually thinking Wally had been dead for years and them happily going mental getting him back. I took that basic prompt and further elaborated to make it a story of Wally (and technically us with this time skip) coming to terms with everything that changed. And everyone is going to appear sooner or later in this story.
And yet again, I hope I delivered, and I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did writing it.
Title taken from the Automatic Loveletter song, Hush. Further musical influence comes from Satellite Heart by Anya Marina.
Remembers, reviews are love. Check end of story for about a billion more notes.
Summary: 2016 spoilers. After two years, Wally faces a long road back home. Fortunately, the Team is there to get him up to speed. Or, where Wally corrupts new members, Nightwing snarks, the new generation stalks, and Batgirl's the biggest BAMF of all.
(May 10, 2016 6:45 AM)
Beast Boy hums 'Secret Agent Man' under his breath, "Is everyone in position?"
"Si amigo, currently on high cliff point, outside the upper exit."
"Ready and waiting, Beast Boy."
"This is hardly the time to do this. We should cancel, especially after last night."
"We're going to get caught and the ramifications of what is happening..."
"Dude, we're going to do this with or without you. Just tell them you went along to supervise."
Wonder Girl calls out, "Robin?"
"I'm in the rafters at rendezvous point."
"Alright group, time for Operation Jail Break!"
"That's the best you could come up with?" Wonder Girl asks.
"Not on me, Robin's call," is Beast Boy's quick reply.
"It was a working title. More importantly, you and Blue were the ones who wanted this, so don't bring me down with you."
"Wonder Girl. Beast Boy's thirteen, what's wrong with you?" Robin, unflappable, even berating Wonder Girl.
"Oh, and fifteen's much better, Robin?"
"Wonder Girl?" It is a sign at how badly the mission is going when the member hearing voices is the one on task.
"When did Batgirl get here?"
"That's it, we're done. Plan over."
"Robin, don't you dare. I worked way too hard to fake sick so Professor Carr wouldn't come on the day sis and Superboy had to see the League. We're liberating Wally, even with Batgirl here."
"Um, Beast Boy, it's Batgirl, how are we going to get past her?" Wonder Girl sounds as dismayed as he's ever heard her, which says little, actually (they nicknamed her Sunshine for a reason).
"We're not. Lagoon Boy is. Everyone stick to the plan, just delay it five minutes while I get to work," Beast Boy, despite being the youngest, is going to have to be the ringleader on this one, Robin the brain.
"Alright everyone, maintain radio silence until Beast Boy comes back. Robin out"
Nearly ten minutes lapse before Beast Boy responds, "Finished. I'm almost to Wally's room. Let me know when Nightwing leaves."
Thirty seconds later, "He's headed to the zeta-beams as we speak," Blue Beetle confirms.
"Alright, great, on the signal, the plan is in motion."
"What signal?" Wonder Girl asks.
"Beast Boy..." Robin groans, already worried.
"It will be obvious, don't sweat it."
(May 10, 2016 7:05 AM)
Barbara Gordon, clad in jeans, large blue framed sunglasses, and a faded Gotham University t-shirt, ignores Dick as he heads to the zeta-beam behind her, focusing more on the crossword on her tablet. Tuesdays are her day off from her internship, and although she will never be able to begrudge Dick when it comes to Wally, the loss of her day off to be a glorified babysitter is not appealing.
She's not sure whether or be more frustrated at Dick for asking or at Wally for pulling the disappearing act of 2016 and forcing her into this. (The frantic phone calls and the panic even Bruce couldn't settle determine West's fate. Dick gets a free pass.)
Babs smiles toothily at her partner, salutes him as he sluggishly inputs the code to Gotham, and swears to prevent any team emergency from bothering him until at least four hours of sleep. (He's Bruce's boy, and Barbara knows better than to hope for seven.)
An error message over a wrongly placed code further highlights the night and day Dick had. She redos it for him, correctly, and grabs the human wreckage's arm before he can head off.
Nightwing looks back at her. "I can't tell you to keep him here against his will," (the If Only I Could goes implied silently), "but at least find out where he goes and who with. Call me if anything changes."
Batgirl nods firmly and shoos him off. Barbara avows to do no such thing. Nothing would happen with her on the job and them under her manicured thumb, not even warranting the use of a leash.
(It's a fantastic day to monitor the camera systems. Maybe a full scale upgrade.)
Before she can even head to the base's tech room, she hears a "Neptune's Beard!" blasting over the comm-link. (Lagoon Boy. Of course.)
She sighs and heads in the direction of his room, leaving the systems unattended for just a few minutes.
(May 10, 2016, 7:11 AM)
"You heard it, go, go go!"
Wally jolts awake (when did he even go to sleep? He hadn't even had a chance to change from yesterday) at Beast Boy's shout and is basically pulled out of bed with BB's arms and tail tugging at his arm.
"We have to go, now. Robin, is security down?"
Wally thinks he hears an "Affirmative!" coming from the comm in Beast Boy's left ear.
"Wonder Girl, you have the distraction set up?"
Wally doesn't hear the response, but Beast Boy's grin promises mischief.
"Blue?...Excellent, on the way. Let's go Wally!" Beast Boy calls back to him, tugging him through various hallways, only to be greeted by a piece of ventilation dropping to the ground to reveal Robin, wearing an outfit so similar to what Dick used to that Wally feels a faint ping of nostalgia. (This is going to make everything from last night ten times better.)
A few more hallways and a few flights of stairs leads them to an upper part of the Cave, where the cliffs are accessible.
"Wonder Girl, you're up."
Thirty seconds later, Wally finds himself being picked up by a blonde girl, in black yoga pants and black tank-top, and flown over the harbor, to a remote area of trees, beating a guy in bright blue flying Robin over and a bird version of Beast Boy by just a few moments.
Beast Boy morphs back to his regular appearance and lets out a joyful, "Yes! I can't believe it worked. And you doubted me!" He remembers, pointing an accusing finger at Robin, who looks back at the Cave and winces. "Now, we've got to head to the diner off North Street, the one that doesn't discriminate against, 'any type of color, especially one related to a Super Hero'.
Blonde ignores him and focuses bright blue eyes on Wally, "You're the Kid Flash! Can I just tell you how great it is to meet you, because all everyone has ever done is tell me these stories, and is it true that you once blew up every door in the training room?" She sounds so awed that Wally can't help but laugh, especially after Beast Boy throws an arm around her waist and pokes her in the side.
"I am, but call me Wally; thank you, and I will not confirm that, but please tell Nightwing to stop telling that story, um, what's your name?"
"Oh! I'm Cassie, or, ah, I'm also Wonder Girl to Wonder Woman, obviously, lasso and everything," she beams again, pride evident in her voice as she shows him part of the rope in her bag. Wally likes her already.
"Wonder Woman, wow. She had always been against sidekicks when we first started. You must be special," Wally smirks and winks over-dramatically.
Cassie gaps, "You really think? I mean, of course, no one better for the job." Yet another easy grin follows, but it is distracted by the boy in blue armor, arguing with himself.
Wally nudges Robin, "Dude, who's the guy in blue talking to himself?"
"That's Blue Beetle. You can meet him later."
"Is he still going to be talking to himself? Cause that introduction can be last."
"Sorry, sorry," Blue Beetle calls out, armor retracting to show tan skin, dark hair, and well worn green hoodie. "Call me Jaime."
"It's cool man. And not like I'm not thrilled you did this, because I am," Wally claps BB on the back, "but what are you doing?"
"We pulled a FLEE maneuver, like we used to do when I joined four years ago," Beast Boy tells him. Wally laughs, remembers how he, Superboy, and Rob, after a few weeks of shameless begging, snuck Beast Boy out from Miss M and Batman when he first joined so they could show him the town. Even now, Wally suspects Batman knew the entire time. More like deep rooted belief.
"Oh, that diner on North. Got it. Carry on," Wally thinks about trying to get them all back to the Cave, to apologize and be the mature one. He's not dealing with Dick or Superboy now, so screw it. (This is going to come back to haunt me. I really should go back. After breakfast.)
Robin frowns and mutters out of the corner of his mouth, "Even with me here, he's going to lose it. You realize that, right?"
"All too well Baby Bird."
All too well.
(May 10, 2016, 7:19 AM)
"Alright, there was a fire outside of your room and about fifty explosive smoke pellets went off through the Cave, and I don't even want to examine the damage for a few ill placed ones, much less all of them. Part of the core ventilation system got kicked out both literally and because of the smoke, and the upper door to the cliffs is dented to the point where it won't open. Kid Flash is also gone. Am I missing anything?"
"I'm going to go take over the security systems and cameras; we'll measure the extent of the damage after."
"Those went out?"
"La'gann, I've got it taken care of. Contact Superboy and Miss Martian."
"What about Nightwing?"
"I'll tell him later."
Much later. Never would have been an option if Wally had decided to be the mature one. (Fat chance after the past few days, Gordon.)
(May 10, 2016, 7:44 AM)
Robin looks faintly ill at the amount of sugary maple syrup Beast Boy pours onto his waffles, but, in a testament to both good manners and Bat-Family silence, he doesn't say anything.
Cassie, however, has no qualms sweetly asking if Beast Boy was looking forward to diabetes for years to come, forcing Jaime to snort into his coffee.
"Hey, be nice to the guy who had to get us out from both security and Batgirl." (Oh fuck. Wally should have stayed back at the Cave. Dick wouldn't physically harm him.)
"Did you see me being cruel to Robin?"
"Leave me out of this."
"Before you guys go on for half an hour, wanna show him," Jaime gestures to Wally, "our gift?"
Gift? Wally approves. Cassie nods and reaches into her bag, pulling out a thick book, bright orange with stickers of Justice League logos covering it.
"It's a scrapbook. When Nightwing wouldn't let us in to see you, we decided we could take over your catch-up of both Team and culture. Robin made sure to put important events in there too, for some reason."
"Not like we got over an alien invasion or the global politics and economies of the world changing within two years, or anything like that."
"Don't open it here, though." At Robin's suspicious look, detectable even with sunglasses, Jaime elaborates, "Just in case it falls apart."
"Not helping my case here Beast Boy."
Wally grabs the book and moves it away from Robin and his calculating eyes. He's touched, pure and simple, and can barely choke out a "Thank you." Judging from everyone's looks, they understand, even Robin, who relaxes slightly and no longer looks tempted to take it back.
The moment, because it's Wally's life, is ruined by the scrape of a chair to join their booth, and a woman's bright smile.
"Grab your things and start heading back to the Cave. I'll settle the bill with the lovely owner of this diner, and so help you if I manage to get back before you." Batgirl's grin is feral, tone sweeter than Beast Boy's syrup.
Wally has never been more frightened in his life. Five on one were no odds for Barbara.
(May 10, 2016, 8:10 AM)
"Congratulations guys, this was really impressive. Besides causing possibly thousands of dollars in damages to the Cave, wasting my time, and breaking at least a dozen rules, you've managed to all be grounded from missions for a month." She lets the groans finish before continuing, "And why exactly are you guys out of school?"
Beast Boy, lacking any self-preservation, replies, "Because we faked being sick?" Wally hits him across the back of the head before either Bat can.
Batgirl, unflappable and calm toned even now, basically orders Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle home until they would be getting out of school, and sends Beast Boy to his room, halls away from a displeased La'gann. Wally hears Robin briefly mutter a prayer under his breath for that one.
No one bothers protesting. Cassie impulsively hugs him goodbye before she goes, mumbling about an autograph later in the day.
Batgirl waits until the three are gone before turning on Robin and Wally.
"We all expected better from you." Wally's not entirely sure if she's specifically talking to one or the other. "Especially after the night Dick had."
Oh, just him. Robin looks away too. (How does he survive the Bat-Glare if he does that?)
"Why?" Batgirl questions.
Robin responds before Wally can. "I felt it would be better if I went as well, that way you'd know where we were."
"And no part of you thought to tell us before hand?"
"Then they would have done a different plan without any possible supervision."
Batgirl sighs and turns to Wally, "And you?"
"And me what? I'm the kidnap victim." The other two give him identical, unimpressed looks he recognizes from years of identifying them through Dick's own sunglasses.
"You could have come back at any time and brought them with you. Instead I find a note on the bed saying, Back later. I'm fine."
"That was me," Robin admits.
"Not helping dude. At all."
"I tried, at least. It was for your sake."
"Great, taking another page from your brother."
"Hey! You didn't see him yesterday, so don't blame me for wanting to make it easier on him." For all his quiet, serious nature, Robin's voice is unwavering.
"Enough! Robin, back to Gotham. Wally, back to medical. Considering you missed one psych evaluation yesterday, we'd rather you not miss another today."
"You want to leave soon, right? Robin, that wasn't a suggestion," Batgirl calls out, noticing Robin having not moved an inch.
"You didn't call him yet, did you?"
Batgirl sighs, her grim look relenting slightly, and shakes her head.
For all Wally jokes, there is a strong, protective bond between Bats that has often enough been extended to him; he's never been reminded of that as strongly as the fierce look Robin gives him before leaving, analytical and unfriendly. (Someone's got a little brother who loves him. Wally ignores the part of his heart that approves of that.)
"Takes after his dad, huh?"
Batgirl doesn't bother responding, just shoves him towards the medical ward.
(May 10, 2016, 1:35 PM)
Wally finds himself, after three hours of psych evaluations with Black Canary, an hour of nap-brainwave monitoring, a call from Aunt Iris, and a huge lunch, sitting on the well worn green couch precious feet from the kitchen, desperately looking for anything other than soap operas. (I thought they all got canceled when I was alive!)
Wally shifts again, the bright orange book catching his eyes. He's been attempting to wait for at least Beast Boy to resurface, but desperate times. He sits up and opens the first page of the scrapbook, finding more logos and a few snap shots of Nightwing, Miss M, Superboy, and a blurry one of Artemis, bow poised to snap. The words "Welcome Home Wally" were written in the center in purple glitter pen.
The next page showed a picture of Wonder Girl and the message Hope this helps! :) in the same purple glitter pen.
Directly below it was a picture of Blue and Beast Boy together and the phrases Good Luck and Miss Me? in blue and green ink respectively
Finally came an even blurrier photo than Artemis's, one of short black hair and dark sunglasses (Don't believe a word they say. This is not necessarily a valid explanation of various events that took place in the world. Consult appropriate sources). His words were hard to distinguish, black ink covered or crossed out by purple, blue, and green and the various comments added, insulting the insult of their truth.
Wally smiles and reads on.
(Excepts from the Wally West 2016 Catch-Up Scrapbook) (Further note: Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, (Robin), Blue Beetle)
A picture of a green scaled man with red eyes is scribbled on, green pen making devil horns on him. He is described as (Lagoon Boy, born 1998 in Atlantis, mentor Aquaman, main power comes from Atlantian Sorcery, currently in a relationship with Miss Martian)
He's a jerk.
He's not too bad.
He's a little annoying.
(He's capable in a fight, but most likely to complain about his lack of involvement on a mission. Do not partner with Superboy.)
(You don't need to really care about him if you don't want to, but he's good to Miss M at least.)
Yeah, he is. I guess.
You just want your sister to dump him.
An image of a set of tiny, green aliens with an arrow pointing at them labeled Krolotean
Long story short, there was an alien invasion a little less than half a year before you came back.
(Remember when the Justice League went missing for 16 hours? They were placed on the other side of the galaxy on the planet called Rimbor) and went mental, (attacking the locals in an aggressive declaration of war. In response, the Kroloteans came to Earth, using stolen, advanced technology to take over identities in a long term divide and conquer strategy.)
It was amazing.
You could have phrased that better, ese.
(The Justice League went off planet to go to trail, explaining their circumstances. Due to the legal defense Icon gave them, and testimony from captured Kroloteans, the Justice League were tried technically guilty, but the Rimbor council agreed they were innocent in a bout of uncontrolled insanity. This allowed them to return to Earth with orders of any remaining Kroloteans to go back. Which they did.)
Eventually. We more or less got rid of all but a few of them by the time they returned.
The Justice League was hammered in the media over it, especially by that G. Gordon Godfrey, who is a total hypocrite and liar! Especially after he was revealed (scribbled out words)
(We're not allowed to talk about that, remember? League orders?)
It's in relation to Darkseid.
It's a Superman thing we weren't really involved in.
(Nightwing would like me to assure you that both Superboy and Superman get along extremely well now, more so than ever before.)
An image of a slice of pizza (and a pen drawn picture of Beast Boy drooling)
Freddy's burned down.
Hey, that's like a death in the family. We can't tell him like this.
(Again, Beast Boy, phrasing?)
Get off this page.
The title card of the television show Community.
It didn't last six seasons and a movie.
(Nightwing doesn't have the heart to tell you.)
Get off this page.
(May 10, 2016, 3:05 PM)
Wally smiles and puts the book down. He rolls stiff shoulders and doesn't bother turning around, "If you kill me, the new recruits will miss me. And so will Miss M."
"Don't be too sure of that; you did go along with Beast Boy's plan." Barbara takes her own portion of the couch, back on the seat and legs leaning over the top. "Dick would be the more obvious choice for vengeance, or your uncle. But that requires me leaving evidence behind."
"And you're too good for that."
"And I'm too good for that," she echoes. "Wanna tell me what happened yesterday? Or this morning?" (Do I have a choice?)
"I needed to run. You have no idea what it's like, everything hidden from you for 'your own good'."
"Daughter of a cop?"
"That's different. Look, I'm sorry everyone worried, but I'm not sorry I did it. It made me feel better, actually not being stuck in this Cave. If I need to again, I'll let someone know and tell them when I'll be back."
"I guess that's all we can ask for. And today, you honestly didn't know you were about to be taken?"
"No, that one I'm innocent of. I'd own up to it anyways; it was pretty creative."
"Can't imagine where they got the inspiration," Barbara's conspiratory smirk matches his.
"I like them, even Robin."
"I'm thrown off by the differences, let's just leave it at that."
Babs smiles, softer this time, thoughtful, "He's got so much potential; he might end up being your favorite over Dick once you get to know him."
"The way we're going, that might not be too far off."
"I know, I know. Talk to him, not you, because you're not picking sides, you never do. And if you did, that would automatically make that person right, so shut up or I'll pick him." (He can count on one hand the number of times that has occurred in a different way. As in zero.)
"I don't sound like that."
"Yeah you do." Wally leans into her now upright shoulder and sighs, deep and weary.
"You'll get through this Wally, I promise."
It's a comforting thought, a Barbara Gordon promise.
He hops off the couch and pretends she didn't let him get the drop on her as he presses a kiss into red hair in gratitude.
"I'm going to go destroy something else with Beast Boy now."
"Go ahead; I'm leaving soon and Mal's on duty. He never bothers to check the areas near the Bio-Ship due to lack of activity."
(May 10, 2016, 7:20 PM)
Artemis slips in through the open window of the well lit, well furnished living room, located near the outskirts of Atlanta. Jade and Roy have picked far worse before. She looks over the bassinet and coos gently at her niece, sleeping soundly.
"What are you doing here?"
"Oh, hey bro. How've you been? I was guessing dead from the lack of picking up your phone, or responding to messages. From anyone."
"That's not an answer. And don't call me that."
"Neither is yours. And it's still true, isn't it? Anyway, is Jade around?"
"No. She's working."
The majority of Artemis screams to question, to prevent the possible crime, but she had to give up saving either one of them years ago. Besides, Jade has been falling on and off the villain wagon for awhile. (No surprise there.)
"I'm here on unofficial business."
"Obviously." Roy doesn't bother looking at her, instead focusing on making sure Lian (sweet, sweet Lian, the only thing that has made Roy better, made her sister start toning down the latest bout of villainy to an extent) is alright.
Even at his best, Roy has at least kept his bullheadedness and need to get from A to B in the quickest time frame. In a way, Artemis can almost respect him for it. Almost. He's been on the mend, even got a job with the government recently, but he's still got a long way to go to be the man who cornered her in an alleyway and threatened her against harming his friends. Now him she respected, even liked.
"Wally was found alive."
She has his attention, fully. "What?"
"Mission ended with us with a previously unknown Cadmus lab. Pod had Wally in it. And yes, it's really him, doctors analyzing brainwaves, M'gann and her uncle agree, and Nightwing says it. Good enough for me." Artemis is very careful to avoid using the trigger word of clone. Even after accepting real Roy's death, and seeing it with his own eyes, the word is more or less a guarantee of Red Arrow going berserk. Putting it mildly.
"Have you seen him yet?" Roy's voice sounds rusty, disused as he gapes at her.
"Not yet. Been tracking you down and finishing finals. I'll be seeing him soon." (And that is a promise. The only reason she hasn't abandoned everything else to be at his bedside is the fact that Roy being there to relate to him could be a bigger help than both her and Dick's support combined. And it not like the former boy blunder (she calls him that fondly, she swears) hasn't been sending her twice daily updates, or at any time she asks.)
"Keep me updated." At the look his sister-in-law sends him, Roy relents. "I'll make sure to actually pick up."
"You're not going?" Artemis should be less surprised, she really should be.
"Not yet. I need more time. And I can't exactly abandon Lian in the middle of the night." Artemis concedes his point, but she knows a major issue is the fact he'd rather jump off a roof without a grappling arrow than go back to the Cave.
"I'll call you when he's out of Mount Justice." The relieved nod in return proves she hit the mark right on the bulls-eye. Like always. (I'll drag you to him when he's out.)
This is nice. No one has drawn an arrow on the other, and there have been no death threats. A welcome change from most other visits. She didn't even have to scream or throw a book at his head (although she stopped that one once she realized she had a niece who could be woken up. Actually, she's still really upset about finding out that way).
Artemis blows a kiss to the still sleeping Lian, and heads out the window yet again. Before she goes, she calls out, "We haven't told him anything but the basics. Those are on you if you want him to find out the right way."
Even with her back turned and arrow flying through the air, Artemis knows Roy is frowning, and planning.
Some things never change.
(May 10, 2016, 9:20 PM)
Wally finds himself being tugged around by Beast Boy for the countless time; they've been laying low since Superboy and Miss M had returned from the League, in mixed moods. (Miss M had been more grimly disappointed due to wanting them to behave and not terrorize her boyfriend. Wally suspects Superboy's disappointment had been centered around not being there for both an amazing breakfast and destructive break out. He could also still be awkwardly mad about last night. Wally's not about to poke the bear to find out.)
People die doing that.
Wally's looking forward to going home to Central City, but he's content enough, standing in front of Beast Boy's door and being told to close his eyes.
"This is going to be epic," Beast Boy whispers, shoving Wally into the room with the order to open.
A wall of items greets him, some familiar, like a faded red beret, a sippy cup, a piece of cape, and a hood-mask combination. Others are completely new, such as a boomerang, an actual snow globe, and sash-ish type of cloth. Wally swallows.
"Ta-da! Here is the updated wall of souvenirs. What do you think?"
"You kept all of them?" Wally knows there's a touch of wonderment in him, but he has every right to feel that way. Souvenirs had been something he and Beast Boy had joked about long before Garfield was an established member of the Team. He always claimed he would take over for Wally when he retired, but Wally never knew he had been serious.
"Well, kind of. Sis took the robot eye, Artemis took a bunch of things like a mask, I don't know what Superboy took, and Nightwing grabbed a backpack." Wally remembers every piece: the robot eye Miss M took because it was their first mission together, Artemis traces of both her family and the growth that led them to date for so long, Superboy most likely took the mirror from England, where he explained James Bond and they had a marathon of every single movie, and Dick, the backpack he found more meaningful than the sword, the reason so few people knew, much less understood.
His family and the memories he left behind.
Beast Boy's matured from the eleven year old he had been before, doesn't bother asking if he's okay, but fills the silence with chatter, stories of his own souvenirs (and as much as Wally adores his friends, both old and new, chatter from someone other than him is not a key component in their relationships. It's comforting, this type of silence being filled.)
Two batarangs: The scratched up one was my first mission with Robin. The Riddler had joined with some gang dude in California and was threatening to destroy this chain of buildings. It went soooo bad. Lagoon Boy was knocked out with Bumblebee, and I was so tired I wanted to fall asleep on the floor. Robin noticed, took down the remaining guards, threw the batarang at some dude with a gun pointed at me, and saved all of us. The second took out a Krolotean biting on my tail. He was leading the mission and giving orders when he threw it, not missing a beat. So cool.
A baseball: We ended up fighting with these robots in the park. Wonder Girl threw it so hard that it went through three robot heads.
A miniature train: Blue Beetle shot out every window of a train we were on when first figuring out his powers; I keep it there just to annoy him.
A set of fake blue flowers, woven into a crown: Tula's favorites. Reminded her of home cause of the color.
He wishes he had been there for it all, but this is nice, at least.
For a minute, he could pretend he had never been gone.
Or maybe a second.
(May 10, 2016, 11:30 PM)
Miss M waits for him outside his room in the medical ward. She tries to smile, but Wally can tell how fake it is, can see grimness tugging the corners down.
"Still not used to the hair, gorgeous." They have this familiar pattern, morphed from years ago, when he thought himself half in love with her, before Artemis, before Superboy. Even now, when he sees a sister looking at her, he automatically defaults to the compliments that amounted to nothing in the wake of the many ups and few lows of their respective relationships. (Or more lows for her considering she has a new boyfriend.)
He can tell she's trying to perk up for him, and he wants to tell her to stop.
"Good news! Between your aunt and how well the tests have been going, you're going home late tomorrow! They even got Batman to agree, as long as you keep coming back here for a few weeks. It's going to be different without you. I got so used to it again." Her mind is on something else, but M'gann is genuinely happy for him, even if she faces the same weakness of letting him out of sight.
(Superboy's claims of Wally doing the same thing in a reverse situation might have more credence than Wally wanted to accept at the time.)
Even with the somber air and the direct Batman commands, Wally is nearly weak-kneed with relief at the prospect of going home, something he's wished for but never expected to get so soon. (He knows who has interceded on his behalf. They're going to need to talk about this.)
He hugs Miss M and tells her that he loved her even before she was the barer of such good news, but this just makes it even better.
There is no longer any flush or confused look on her face, like 2010 or even 2014, just a steady, fond, unsurprised look.
There's something deeper that has changed, but Wally is unsure how to find it.
He'll figure it out eventually.
"I'm guessing my next job is to knock myself out and keep being a model patient?"
She laughs at him, truly and without irony. "When did you start?"
If nothing else comes out from her relationship with Superboy, she at least has a deadpan expression to counteract the "Hello, Megan!" moments she's kept despite the time skip.
Wally hugs her goodnight, firmly, because she may be different, but she's still his Megan, still the girl who stopped being fragile.
That was the best change he could have asked for her.
(May 10, 2016, 8:15 AM)
Dick Grayson finds himself leaving the Cave in the early morning, out of sight before Wally can fully awake and realize what he's been doing.
Holy crap, 7500 more words. I seem to be making a pattern of happy-serious with this story. Don't really know how to control that. While it may seem like filler now, the connections and developing friendships started in this chapter will have ramifications up until the end, so don't worry. This comes into play. The next chapter will be this gigantic resolution and get them out of the Cave. It will most likely be out Saturday or Sunday depending on how far I get before the episode gets released. There's a small chance this will be updated before then, but most likely not.
First off, I nearly had Jason Todd appear in this fic. Well, get mentioned at least. He would have popped up during Wally's conversation with Barbara as Robin being different from what he had been described as by Dick before Wally died and Barbara having to clue him in that Jason died and Tim was someone completely different. No disrespect to Jason Todd, I have an Under the Red Hood poster over my desk and part of me thinks it would be entriguing for him to somehow magically pop up on the show, but I'm not holding my breath. And he didn't really flow into this so well; his death would have had to have occurred the same time as Tula and Wally's, and even then, Tim might not necessarily be around yet to be in Young Justice if Jason had died much later, say around the year mark of Wally's death.
Second, these characters, oh my. I worry a lot about how this lot presented themselves, especially Robin. Tim Drake is my favorite comic book character of all time (Wally and Dick second and third respectively) and I literally have his Red Robin run less than two feet away from me on my bed. That being said, such as the case with Superboy, I can not necessarily give him his comic personality just because it might not fit in with the show so I struggled with what to do with him given the few minutes of screen time. Beast Boy and Blue Beetle I'm less worried for, and if the next episode shows Cassie and Barbara being as awesome as I think they are, then we're good. Miss M will be appearing in that episode as well, so I'll feel better for her once I get more examples. As for Artemis, when it comes to her future Wally-Team reactions, I'll be fine, so if she seems off now, I apologize, that's on me. I really just wanted to establish her and Roy in this. And damn did he change. But seriously, Tim Drake. So much love. You have no idea what my face was like when I found out it was him. Twitches on floor. And just so we're clear, Superboy has no idea who he is yet.
Third, I am scared for Bloodlines, the Young Justice episode after this upcoming one. It's Flash Family oriented (come on Impulse, already wrote a fic for you!) but the FLASH FAMILY part worries me, just in case something bad happens. Comic book readers, you know what I'm referring too. If my worst fears come true, I will end up raging and making the ramifications of that episode as part of my epilogue. If it ends up being lighthearted and sweet, I will never finish this story because I will have died in an explosion of happiness and relief. There's a reason we don't have a summary, and I don't think it's good.
And finally, seriously, you guys are amazing with everything you've said and done to encourage me; I literally have to stop myself from writing for you guys when I get super close to an episode just because I'll end up with like 20000 words. And even then stopping myself, I'll end up writing like 3000 words before just because I want there to be that much for you to all read. I wouldn't be doing this without you. The next chapter will most likely be 10000 words (again, I have plans that go farther and farther because you guys review and make me have feelings!) I never expected 4 chapters and 25000 words in about a week.
As always, have a lovely day.