Summary: The rogues have had it with Flash. Always getting in their way so they decide to try and take him down a notch and fail. But in this case failing is another chance to win.
Yeah cheesy I know but I find cheese to be yummy in the right quantities. Hopefully you all will enjoy this as much as I think I'll enjoy writing.
The Central City rogues weren't what most people would call fearsome criminals. They were the laughing stock of the villain world. They had the young villains and older ones who occasionally helped them. They weren't psychotic killers. That wasn't them. They just wanted a good life. And for them that meant stealing to have the nice things in life.
Captain Cold was there leader. It was argued but it was clear. He was the one with experience outside of Central. He was like the father to the two abandoned boys Hartley and James.
He planned on keeping things the way they were. But of course the universe just had to screw him over. Flash. Annoying as he was. Always getting in the way. Loved by everyone including other heroes and some villains. It was sick. He didn't seem real. He would do anything to
He never knew he would get that chance. Nor did he know it when it arrived. Or rather he.
Cold watched over two boys already who were enthusiastic about becoming criminals. They came on their own. But the kid he had now in his arms had to be taken away. He would be safer with the rogues. Away from Cadmus. He didn't know why Cadmus had him. Nor did he really care. He just knew that he needed to get away. So he did what any sensible villain would do. He kidnapped him.
The child didn't fight. His thin wiry body looked up at Cold. Hollow green eyes freckled with disbelief. His breathing soft but slightly labored. He clenched Cold's jacket and buried his face into it. Feeling the warmth coming from the con.
Seven years later…
Cold smirked thinking about the three boys readying an attack on Flash. Despite how the rogues usually worked alone, the three boys were almost inseparable whether it is in crime, pranks or eating breakfast. Hartley had become Piped Piper, a sort of ranged specialist. He played music that made Willis and James smile. Especially when he got people to dance for them. James had become Trickster, an up close and unpredictable harlequin. He played jokes making Willis and Hartley laugh when they were down in the dumps. And then there was Willis. Willis wasn't like them. He didn't fight. Cold had never seen the boy even throw a punch. He stood back with gauze, bandages, pain killers, some hard candy and medicine. Waiting for injuries and wounds, blood and bumps. He never asked but they'd always tell him what happened and he would listen calmly and stoically as he treated them. A small crooked smile planted on his face. Like a twisted minded child who knew that his sanity was only so-so. But more so than James at least.
He was the secret keeper. People went to him when they had to say something. And he would keep quiet about it. He seldom talked. He could be loud though. He had quite the pair of lungs. Sure he would laugh and cry with the rest of them but it seemed as though he needed other people's emotion to feel anything. The only time they could pull out another emotion was when they mentioned Cadmus. A flicker of fear would cross his face. He still hadn't told them why he was with Cadmus in the first place. It worried Cold to a certain extent. But as long as he remained healthy, didn't try to kill anyone, piss off the rogues or get noticed by the Scarlet Speedster then there was nothing to really worry about. He would be fine.
"Uncle Len?" said a voice. He turned to face Willis. He was scrawnier then both Trickster and Piped Piper. His hair short like Trickster's.
"You eating kid?" he asked. Willis had a habit of eating alone. Something he picked up from Cadmus no doubt. Yet some times he swore he wasn't eating with how thin he sometimes got. That gave the rogues a habit of kidnapping the boy and having him eat with them. Last time it was Captain Boomerang. Willis shook his head yes, telling Cold that he did in fact eat. The kid was not a liar.
"You're going out?" he asked, "James and Hartley are planning on going tomorrow. Or perhaps later tonight."
Translation, won't you wait for them? They want to go with you.
"Yeah. Robbing a bank. I'll be back."
"If Flash doesn't catch you," Willis somberly stated. As he usually did with his small smile on his face. Cold grunted.
"Yeah. If he doesn't. Take care of the others if I do get caught," he said. Willis nodded.
"Kay," he said. Cold gave him a rare smile before leaving. Willis sighed. It was better when no one was around. The rogues were nice. They got him away from Cadmus. But there were something's that not even they needed to know about. What he was. What Cadmus made him become. What they saved him from being.
He knew what was expected. He was going to work as security for Lex Luthor. As… an assassin for hire.
When he was seven he saw his parents for the last time. That's what he told himself. It helped to have an idea. Even if it was unclear and the memories blurry with age. It came to the point where he could only remember being taken. He couldn't remember his mom. Or his dad. Or anyone else. Sure there were blurs but that was not really what he remembered. He only remembered the horrors that were to come. He was at the park. He remembered that much. It was a humid and cloudy day. One that people just hated because it was hot and gross and there was no sign of sun with the menacing looking clouds looming overhead. He was playing with the tetherball that was there. Alone he remembered. He was playing alone. His mom and dad went to get something. He couldn't remember what though. It was then that a man walked up to him. He was large and menacing in comparison to his small stature. He wore a suit and dark glasses over his eyes. He seemed to look at him and asked him a simple question.
"Do you want to be strong? Stronger than you thought possible?" he asked smoothly. Wally's eyes widened. A smile came on his face. He was constantly picked on in school for being small, weak, having red hair and freckles, being good in science and other things.
He idiotically said yes not thinking of the consequences. A cruel smile appeared on the man's rugged face. He had the look of a killer. Not that Wally would know what that looked like until he was older. When he would be in too deep. He was grabbed and dragged into a van. It took a minute for him to realize that he was being kidnapped. He struggled and fought but to no avail. The man was stronger than a scrawny eight year old boy. They locked him away. It was a small grey room they kept him in. One that reminded him of a jail cell in the movies. The old bars that prevented his escape. The rugged bed that desperately needed replaced with many of its springs jarring out from the fabric.
Studied his body. Making him run and do strenuous exercises that made him ache all over. Cut him open. To see if there was any progress in the testing of powers. To see how long he would take to heal. Poured chemicals on him. Painful burning that made him cry like that was all he was born to do. Tears flowing down the red paths on his face. All that time one thought kept coming back. I need an angel.
Though they never intentionally did one thing. Something that would save him. Only if it was his ticket to another place. The one thing that gave him his gift.
It was a normal and painful day of trying to get powers in his young and now malnourished body. He had been in there for so long. He couldn't remember what the world looked like. He was trying to remember what the moon looked like. He missed the moon. It was always changing. Like a person. It would see him, leave and disappear. Like a returning friend. He didn't notice that the scientists told him to move away. He licked his chapped lips oblivious to the lab. Just trying to remember the moon. One of the machines was short-circuiting releasing wild sparks around the room. The short circuit that hit his neck. His arms flailed violently in pain. He hit an array of chemicals set out having them land on his bare skin. The pulsing electricity drew in the chemicals. He screeched loudly with fat tears rolling down his face. Pain like he had never experienced before coursed throughout his veins. He fell to the ground writhing in said pain.
They had succeeded. They created a Meta. One that was unexpected in his gift, but useful nonetheless. He was sent out to Luthor immediately. Caged like an animal in a van. He traveled for miles with hunger clawing the inside of his stomach. Barely feeding the "wretched monster". It wasn't until they stopped in Central City for gas that he saw an angel. The one that did not look like an angel, but he didn't care. His prayer was going to be answered after so long. An angel in a warm white and blue coat. He spirited him away. To his new family. A family of misfits and cons. Though he was not sure he intended to have a family like this. He had wanted to be a hero when he was little. But alas, a villain's life was the life for him now. Black like the ever disastrous night.. A shadow. How many others had fallen from the grace of heroism? Villains were more common. Heroes were more loved. He missed the more ignorant version of himself. But he had no life to go back to. Not without remembering who he was. Who he was supposed to be.
He couldn't even remember his name. He was stripped of that when Cadmus had broken him. They had called him The Will Project. It was named after one of the scientists that was killed for their research. In the dead man's honor, he was named Will Project to the sentimental workers. But to the rest of the scientists he was WR-23. He had taken to calling himself WRW. Because the twenty third letter was W. But he dropped it. He preferred being called Will Project. It sounded like a name. Almost made him feel normal again.
He told Cold his name was Willis. Because his will was dying. But now will is burning bright.
But if that were his name then he would rather have it changed. Who fears a guy named Willis? It's like fearing a guy named Keith, Donnie, Dick or Conner. It sounded ridiculous. Almost as bad as Bartholomew. God now that was a bad name. It sounded so stupid. So idiotic.
"Glad I'm no Bart," he muttered to himself. He felt a surge of energy pulse through his legs for a moment. It was a giddiness that he would be forced to live with forever. A spark that could possibly drive him to insanity. He stood still to fight the urge. His foot began to tap fast to try and release some of the pent up energy. No. He couldn't throw away his most guarded secret. The secret that not even Len or Hartley or James knew. The one thing that really kept him tied to Cadmus and Central City. His little gift. He was thankful for the distraction that was to come as it kept him distracted and under control.
"Will!" yelled a playful voice. Willis turned toward the beckoning voice and smiled. His foot stopped tapping as his attention was drawn off the energy and onto his harlequin brother.
"James. Hartley. Uncle Len just left," he said. James continued smiling as Hartley showed something of a mix between a pout and a frown. Hartley looked up to Len like a dad. Len had been a better parent than either of Hartley's anyway. He was hoping he would wait and let them come too.
"That's okay!" said James excitedly, "I have a new toy!"
Willis raised a brow and a sheepish smile came to Hartley's face. This was nothing new.
"An invention," he corrected. Willis looked at him curiously. James was a genius. But his sanity made it hard for him to focus on making things that people could use easily. He instead made dangerous gags and toys for combat. If children ever needed to go to war then James would have the perfect weapons for them.
"Okay, I'll bite. What is your new toy?" asked Willis. James triumphantly held out a yoyo.
Wally looked at it carefully. It just seemed like a normal plastic yoyo. A bright blue one with a spider web printed on the side of it.
"It's a yoyo," he said stoically. James's smile grew even more. He flicked it into the air. A net jumped out of it making Willis jump back. He silently thanked whatever god existed that they were used to him avoiding James's inventions with his "reflexes".
"Like it?" he asked. Willis nodded.
"Very creative," he said stepping back up, avoiding the net at his feet.
"Thought so!" he said.
"So we're watching Flash's city why?" asked Artemis rather annoyed. The Central City Rogues were the second rate villains that almost anyone could take down with little problem. This would be too easy.
"Flash has a League mission and needs someone to watch over Central while he's gone. Take this seriously," Batman said leaving the team.
"He's joking right?" Conner asked. Even he had heard of Central City as being a joke.
"Nope. Cadmus was robbed of something pretty valuable there. They had so many people there looking for it the League had to step in," Robin said. They never did find out what they were looking for. It was a mystery. But the rogues stayed out of the League's way that month. Thank goodness.
They had seemed preoccupied with something else.
Not that Robin really knew. He became Robin a month or two after that fiasco. He met many heroes. One that stood out amongst them was Central's own Flash. He had a smile on his face when he had met him. He was always good with kids.
"So Central is serious?" Artemis questioned.
"Batman would not send us there otherwise," said Kaldur, "Let's go."
"Don't hurt yourselves," Willis sighed as Hartley and James left to cause some mischief. He had a bad feeling deep I his gut. Something wasn't right. He wished he knew what though.
A small bird landed nearby. A robin. It sang it's well-rehearsed song. He looked at it carefully. He was a suspicious person. One thing that came with being a rogue. He watched the bird but did not dare tempt to fight the bird. For normally that would cause them to do the action that you did not want. Because if a robin flies into a room through a window, death will shortly follow.
But not always the case. Some lived after all. And all were doomed to die. Still, better to avoid it. But the Robin stuck in his head. Like an arrow in his back. Something was going to come. And it was going to be unexpected. But it was also the first day of spring. They say that the first Robin seen in spring will grant a wish if you make it before it flies away.
He prayed silently to whatever god was out there watching over the rogues that James and Hartley would be safe. Hopefully the Robin meant the latter. Though fate should not be tempted,
"Why do I have a bad feeling?" he asked the Robin. It tweeted back at him before flying off in another direction. It almost felt like something was coming back to haunt him. Cadmus.
As the team landed in Central Conner clenched his eyes as pain filled his head. He had experienced headaches before. But this was a bit stronger than normal. A migraine. Like when the G-gnomes had control of him. Something was here. He could feel it. An obsession with the town below. Robin had said that people from Cadmus were looking for something here. Was it possible that there were more clones like him? He knew about Match. But was it possible that there was one that was free?
"Getting ready to land. Is everyone ready?" asked M'gann sweetly. Everyone nodded. Conner just grunted. Something was here. He could feel it.
Willis began rubbing his now warm ears.
"Who is thinking about me?" he asked the air. The trill of the Robin sang in the air. He smiled.
The little Robin was thinking of him was he? In his mind he thought of the infamous Gotham dynamic duo Batman and Robin. The sun was setting. He glared into the multicolored sky. Something was amiss.
The team landed with the ship easily cloaked on one of the building roofs. The team stepped out one at a time in their stealth suits somewhat curious as to how things worked in this town. It wasn't like Gotham. No place was like Gotham. It wasn't like Star City or Metropolis. It wasn't like Atlantis o anywhere on Mars. And even the Boy Wonder was at a loss. Flash never was one to send people away. But he was also one not to ask for help. So other heroes did not visit the so called weak Central City.
But the team would learn fast what it was like to be working in Central soon enough. Blaring sirens filled the air.
"Let's go," said Robin zipping off between the buildings. The team made their way to one of the banks in the town. Ice was everywhere. But no one was in sight. The police were zipping by trying to search for someone who was obviously not there anymore. The criminal who set off the alarm most likely. And ice in Central meant Captain Cold.
"We missed Cold," Robin said as the team arrived on the roof he was on.
"That was quick," said Artemis sounding genuinely surprised.
"This is Flash's town. He's known for being late, but he's still fast. His villains would have to be fast in order to even have a chance at getting away."
"So they are fast. Not strong," said Superboy indifferently.
"Fast Supey. They probably have stamina too. So they can go at it for a while."
"One hit and their down though," said Artemis tightening her grip on her bow. Aqualad sent the team a look.
"These are not hard core criminals. Many are mentally unstable. But they are nothing like those in Gotham," he said.
"How would you know?" asked Robin.
"Flash required help after Black Manta started to attack a lab in Central. I met a few of his rogue gallery," he said simply.
"Really?" asked M'gann curiously. Aqualad merely nodded.
"Well let's find Cold. Don't need Bats getting mad on the first day," said Robin as he punched something into his gauntlet, "What? There's another robbery going on at a gag shop. And… I'm getting some weird readings."
"Superboy, Miss Martian, Rocket, head toward the… gag shop and apprehend the criminal. Robin, you and Zatanna hunt down Cold. Artemis, you and I will check out the readings. When you are done with you're part of the mission, help out another team. Go."
The team split into their respective groups.
Team Superboy Martian and Rocket
It didn't take them long to find the gag shop. Police were gathered around it already. But the surprising thing was the fact that there was a clown throwing yoyos at the police. Laughing cheerfully at the nets that popped out of the toys.
"Oh what fun it is to try and play with the cops tonight!" he sang. Another boy stood behind but close to the clown. He looked like he was wearing a pair of green pajamas. He held an instrument of sorts in his hands. A flute by the looks of it.
"This is going to be easy," said Superboy jumping down into the fray with the girls following to make sure he doesn't hurt or damage anything too badly.
Tag team Zatanna and Robin
"Have you located Cold?" Robin asked as he was going through his gauntlet looking for any clues as to where the icy criminal may be.
"I think I have. He's not too far," Zatanna said confidently.
Tag team Artemis and Aqualad.
"Well this is shaping out rather well," said a bored Artemis as they entered an old building. Probably some new nut job crook here anyway. The floor creaked and a light in another room flickered on. A soft yawn came from the room.
"Uncle Len? James? Hartley?" another yawn, "Who's there?"
The voice was soft and obviously tired. A silhouette of a young teen appeared in the door way. The hand flipped on the switch for the light in the room. Fiery red hair lay messily on the teen's head as he yawned again. Bleary green eyes looked at both of the young heroes. And he had what he considered a normal reaction. He screamed like a little girl.
"AAAHHHHH!" he cried jumping back. His body showed no signs of droziness now. He was fully awake and aware of the African teen with gills and killer Goldilocks.
"Listen," the girl began. His eyes widened. His body began to shake. Her eyes. Oh god her eyes. They steely silver. Just like the man who took him away. Cadmus.
Yeah well… review I guess.